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We’re sharing some of our favorite instructional design techniques here in this toolkit to support new instructional designers or “old” ones who want to sharpen their saw (pun completely intended).

Why a toolkit? Just like a carpenter’s toolbox, you probably won’t use all of these techniques on every project, but these are tried-and-true favorites you’ll want within easy reach. After a few uses, you’ll be comfortable grabbing for them, you probably will have made your own modifications, and they’ll be a regular part of your work. There’s nothing like the right tool for the job.


Shape scope and design with learner personas

Learner personas help you appreciate the needs and motivations of the people you’re trying to reach, and the primary learner persona really helps you design and define scope.

Download a Learner Persona poster

Design for 9 moments of learning need

Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher provided us with a really useful framework for performance support in their 5 Moments of Learning Need. We usually don’t use all of them on every project, but we’ve identified 9 moments to consider when designing.

Download the 9 Moments poster

Develop & release in iterations

Rather than following a mostly linear ADDIE path through a project, we use Agile project management and an iterative approach. This gives you early insight to the effectiveness of the instructional design and provides a regular process for incorporating change into the project.

Download an Iterations Planning poster

Evaluate program & learner success

Many instructional designers are familiar with Kirkpatrick’s Levels of Evaluation and that’s a great start. Will Thalheimer offers some great insights for getting more out of your Level 1 evaluations. In our work, we’ve identified at least 4 other opportunities for a well-rounded program evaluation.

Download the 8 Ls of Evaluation poster