Photo by: Green Chameleon on Unsplash
One of the most frequently asked questions during our instructional design workshops is, “How do I pare down the content when there’s a lack of available time?” This can be a challenge, especially if you feel everything is important.
Prioritizing can be an effective way to help navigate this issue and end up with valuable data to back up your decisions.
Let’s start with the question, “What priority does each task have in the content of the course?”
Begin by listing all the tasks that fit within the scope of the training session. Then, use a 2-step Prioritize Tasks process to determine the “need to know” content for your target audience.
Rate each of the tasks head-to-head for each of the four categories listed below, then score them using the corresponding values.
How frequently is the task performed on the job?
H+ = Extremely Frequent M = Moderately Frequent
H = Frequent L = Infrequent
How difficult is it to learn to perform each task?
H+ = Extremely Difficult M = Moderately Difficult
H = Difficult L = Easy
How important is each task to overall job effectiveness?
H+ = Extremely Important M = Moderately Important
H = Important L = Low Importance
What level of job experience do learners have with each task?
H+ = Extremely High M = Moderate
H = High L = Low
H+ = 3
H = 2
M = 1
L = 0
If you’re not sure how to rate one of the tasks, find someone who can answer your questions, such as a subject-matter expert in the field, someone who does the job, or someone who supervises the tasks.
Use the prioritization formula below to calculate the level of priority each task holds.
Frequency + Learning Difficulty + Importance – (Job Experience x 3) = Priority
Once you have taken each task through the formula, order the tasks to reveal your top priorities.
From this step, design your training sessions by focusing on the top priorities according to the prioritization formula. The higher priority tasks earn more time in training, an interactive presentation, practice, and feedback for the learner.
Instructional designers have options when determining the best way to address the lower priority tasks. Designers might decide to handle them with:
- a post-course job aid for reference. This is an excellent strategy for those skills that are simple and done infrequently.
- other resources such as videos or how-to guides participants can access to confirm information and skills on their own.
The prioritization formula allows you to stay focused on the “need to know” content and keep your course lean.
Now you have a valuable tool to help sort through material, prioritize it, and fit it into your training time allotment.
For step-by-step instructions, along with hands-on practice on this process, examples, and a template, enroll in Langevin’s 3-day Instructional Design for New Designers workshop! You’ll be happy you made it one of your priorities!