Project Management of Instructional Design Projects

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The International Board of Standards for Training, Performance, and Instruction (IBSTPI) has created sets of competencies and standards for training managers, instructional designers, instructors, online learners, and evaluators. This article is one in a planned series of articles introducing the competencies and standards for instructional design (we encourage you to buy your own copy from IBSTPI, and we’re happy to report they’re quite inexpensive).

What is instructional design? According to Mastering the Instructional Design Process: A Systematic Approach by Rothwell, Benscoter, King & King:

Instructional design means more than literally creating instruction. It is associated with the broader concept of analyzing human performance problems systematically, identifying the root causes of those problems, considering various solutions to address the root causes, leveraging organizational and individual strengths, and implementing the interventions in ways designed to minimize the unintended consequences of action. Instructional design encompasses the preparation of work-related instruction and other strategies intended to improve worker performance. It does not mean throwing training at all problems or mindlessly plugging content into virtual templates.

Amongst other things, creating training materials using instructional design processes (such as ADDIE) means engaging in a project that is a team effort with deadlines, resources, and all the things that the words project management bring to mind for you. In this blog article, we’ll give you a quick overview of the ID standards related to project management of instructional design projects.

A quick note before we begin: yes, we offer online project management training, have a recorded webinar you can listen to about PMI project management certifications, and even have a What Is Agile? infographic for you (“Agile” is one form of project management, in case you didn’t know). 


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Tissue Manufacturing Online Training Guide

Thinking of implementing online training for your tissue manufacturing workforce? But not sure how to select & use online training?

If so, we’ve got the guide for you at the bottom of this article.

Before you go, download the free guide and be sure to check out our stunning, 3-D animated tissue manufacturing online training courses, learning management system (LMS) specially made for your industry, and other workplace performance improvement tools.

And please let us know if you’ve got any questions or would like to set up a preview or demo.

Enjoy the guide to online training for tissue manufacturing and we wish you luck in your search! 

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Guide to Tissue Manufacturing Online Training

Download this free guide to learn how to select and use online training in the tissue manufacturing industry. Includes tips on general training, blended learning, online courses and learning management systems, and more.

Download Free  Guide

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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) and Safety Management Systems: A Talk with Kahlilah Guyah

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Our society and workplaces have become increasingly aware of the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion this year (2020) and that will continue to be true in the future as well.

In this recorded discussion, we talk with Kahlilah Guyah about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and get her takes on thinking of DEI in a systemic manner and through the perspective of a safety management system. Kahlilah is a member of the ASSP’s Diversity & Inclusion Task Force.

Along the way, we discuss the using the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle and the Hierarchy of Controls in these efforts.

And–bonus–Kahlilah is also a member of the committee working on revising the ANSI/ASSP Z490.1 EHS Training standard along with Jeff Dalto of Vector Solutions, so we included a few words about that and Kahlilah’s desire to bring these diversity, equity, and inclusion learnings into EHS training and the standard.

NOTE: Jeff’s voice is soft here–I should have worn my ear buds, sorry!–but Kahlilah’s is loud and clear and she’s the one with the important stuff to say 🙂 

Please note that Vector Solutions has a Professional Developing Training Library that includes online training courses on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We’ve got a bunch of links for you below, too.


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Tips for Closing Skill Gaps at Your Workplace

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Companies have been dealing with a skill gap for many years–this is well known. And the COVID-19 pandemic only increased that skill gap. That’s because some old jobs were lost, at least temporarily, other new jobs were created, and people where changing their jobs either within the same organization or from one organization to another. And a host of digital and online skills became even more important than they were before COVID.

So that skill gap problem we’ve been talking about for a long time became even more pressing.

In this article, we thought we’d take a look at the skills gap problem, including how to address it, from the perspective of human performance improvement, or HPI. HPI is a performance-improvement methodology that includes but is not limited to training for potential solutions.

We hope you find the article helpful. Please share your own experiences and tips at the bottom in the comments section.


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Tips for Diversity Training at Work: What Works and What Doesn’t

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A lot of companies are rightly concerned about acquiring a more diverse workforce. I’d say that’s just the right thing to do from a societal perspective, but beyond that there’s a lot of research showing that diverse organizations are more innovative and generally perform better.

And likewise, a lot of organizations are working to create a more welcome, accepting, and inclusive environment for their workers. Makes sense, right? And that includes spending a lot of time creating, delivering, and consuming (as learners) well-intended diversity training activities and programs. Also makes sense, right?

The problem is that studies show a lot of this training is ineffective. Which isn’t so good.

But the Learning Guild, and Dr. Jane Bozarth, have come to the rescue with a meaty, 33-page, research-based report titled What Works–and What Doesn’t–in Diversity Training (download a copy for yourself here).

If you’re not familiar with the Learning Guild, their Research Library, or learning researcher Jane Bozarth, put them all on your list of things to learn more about, right there alongside “how to make my diversity training more effective.”

We encourage you to read the entire report, and we’ll summarize a few of the key findings for you below.


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Virtual Classrooms Today: A Report from an Expert

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You don’t need us to tell you that when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, work changed for a lot of us. And workplace training changed a lot because of COVID-19, too.

We’ve been writing about this recurrently over time as the COVID pandemic stretches on. We started with articles on quickly developing elearning courses and quickly creating live online learning, and then we summarized much of that with a webinar on getting training online quickly. After that, we discussed “live online learning,” including webinars and virtual classrooms, with expert Shannon Tipton. More recently we’ve been including some of the tips we’ve learned in our webinars on using online manufacturing training & online maintenance training (and we’ll be doing that again in a December webinar on online safety training).

In addition, we also talked with Dr. Stella Lee about how COVID-19 presented both a need and an opportunity for L&D to “up their game” to help people upskill and reskill for the pandemic economy, and recently we profiled 3 online learning tools and skills made more essential by COVID-19.

We’ve also been doing everything we can to learn more and sharpen our own skills, in particular skills for designing, developing & leading virtual classrooms. In doing so, we’ve identified Cindy Huggett as a leading expert in the field and have read two of her books, both of which we recommend to you: Virtual Training Basics and Virtual Training Tools and Templates. And we’ve been learning from the resources, blog articles, and other materials at her website as well.

All of which brings us to the fact that Cindy Huggett has recently conducted surveys and published the results (an her thoughts) in an article titled The State of Virtual Training 2020. We encourage you to check out the entire article (there’s also an infographic she created that you can download), but we’ll summarize some of the key points here.


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3 Online Learning Tools (and Skills) Made More Essential by COVID-19

Workplace learning has made increasing use of technology for not only years, but for decades now.

And then the COVID-19 pandemic came, making face-to-face, instructor-led training dangerous, potentially fatal, impractical, and less desirable and making various forms of online, remote, or technology-assisted training even more desirable.

We’ve done our best to keep writing about how to deliver training more effectively and safely as a result of COVID-19, We wrote an article about quickly transitioning to elearning and another on quickly taking up live online learning and followed those up with a webinar on the same topics. Then we had a recorded discussion with Shannon Tipton about live online learning, including the use of webinars and virtual classrooms. We’ve talked about it elsewhere, most notably in some webinars on online manufacturing training and online maintenance training. And we’ll be writing about it again in an article with some tips on virtual classrooms via guru Cindy Huggett.

In this article, we’re going to quickly introduce three online learning technologies to consider as your company continues to adapt your own training programs because of COVID. As always, let us know if you’ve got any questions!


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How Lean Manufacturing is Part of the HPI Toolkit for Improving Performance at Work

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It can be easy to unnecessarily “silo” different sets of ideas and not immediately recognize that they’re related. We all probably do it at times, which is too bad, because we can often create better outcomes by making connections between those silos and creating a convergence of ideas.

One easy example of this is the not-necessarily-obvious connection between lean manufacturing and human performance improvement (HPI).

We’re going to explain that connection to you in the article below. It’s worth noting this idea certainly isn’t new, and it may seem blindingly obvious to some while perhaps others haven’t thought of it. The idea came to mind for me most recently during the pre-recorded chit-chat immediately before a recorded discussion I recently had with Guy Wallace describing the origins of HPI, so hat-tip to Guy for instigating this article.


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Using Mental Models in Learning & at Work: Talking with Arun Pradhan

Developing helpful mental models is critical for learning and performing effectively at work.

We decided to talk with learning strategist Arun Pradhan to learn more about it and to learn more about his new website,

The video’s immediately below–enjoy it. And we’ve provided links to some helpful resources below the video as well.

As always, thank to Arun.

Remember we’ve got links to more resources below.


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A Brief History of Human Performance Improvement (HPI): Talking with Guy Wallace

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Human Performance Improvement, or HPI, is a method of improving performance and outcomes at organizations that can include workplace training but considers  reasons for problems beyond just knowledge and skill gaps and interventions other than just training.

It’s also sometimes called Human Performance Technology, or HPT.

In this interview, HPI practitioner Guy Wallace gives us an overview of HPI/HPT, tells us about a few of the key ideas and originators (some of whom Guy worked with or new), gives us a few best practices, and talks about two HPI-related projects of his: a series of recorded video discussions with other HPI practitioners and a website collecting HPI resources for people to check out and learn from.

Check out the recorded discussion below and then check below the video for some links to things Guy and I talked about.

We’ve got resources for you below, plus a free downloadable Mager/Pipe Problem-Solving Flowchart, so check that all out.


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Supporting Behavior Change at Work: An Interview with Julie Dirksen

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Not so long ago, we had a discussion with Julie Dirksen about how to help people learn at work, with Julie mixing in stuff from her classic book Design for How People Learn along with additional helpful tips.

In that discussion, there were some times we talked about desired behavior changes and how some times, learning along won’t contribute to that behavior change. That’s usually because the “problem” isn’t an issue of a knowledge or skills gap, but other factors are driving the behavior or lack thereof.

This is something Julie covers in some detail in her book, and it’s also something she’s planning on covering in a lot more detail in an upcoming book (stay tuned for that one). But she was nice enough to join us and talk about it here, and in particular to talk about the COM-B behavior change model, which is also sometimes called the Behavior Change Wheel.

Check out the recorded discussion below, and then scroll down to see a series of related links and resources.

Of course, we appreciate everything Julie’s doing–the great books, the discussions, the sharing of information, etc.–and we thank her. Be sure to buy her Design for How People Learn book and keep an eye out for the upcoming book on supporting behavior change.

Links and resources below!


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How the COVID Pandemic Has Broadened The Skills Gap and Increased the Need for Skills Development Training (And What To Do About It)

Back in the years and even decades before the COVID-19 pandemic dominated much of what we talk and think about, employers and learning & development experts used to talk a lot about the skills gap and how to create and provide training to help employees develop those needed skills.

And to be honest, that skill gap didn’t go away with COVID, and in fact in several ways, COVID brought with it an ever greater need to help people develop new job skills.

We talked about this a little bit in a recorded discussion with learning professional Dr. Stella Lee, COVID-19 Presents Challenge to L&D to “Step Up,” not so long ago. Go check out that discussion, because as usual, Dr. Lee’s on point and provides some great tips about all this.

In this article, we’re going to list a few ways COVID-19 has made this skills gap issue more problematic and give you some tips for creating performance interventions and training solutions to help workers develop those skills quickly, efficiently, and reliably.


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