Favorite Consulting Models In Instructional Design

Nicole Boswell
May 13, 2020

When we consult with clients, we often need to have a “hard conversation” about their training design and goals. It is important to map out what it is the organization is trying to achieve. Sometimes the training plan that the organization is using will simply not achieve the goals they have stated. What do we do at that point? We look to different models of mapping to discuss with our clients and explain what we recommend they do in order to have the most successful training. Ultimately, these models help achieve one key objective: to create the most effective training for a specific goal.

Let’s look at some of our favorite models.

Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping

Action Mapping Summary

The problem with designing a training course for a company can be that information is put together, but it does not really address the actual needs of the company. This model of action mapping says we should analyze, and then if appropriate, design experiences to help solve those problems. These realistic activities help guide people how to make decisions and to learn from those. If the organization has a particular performance objective they would like to achieve, then the training should focus on improving that objective. This model is a visual approach to instructional design.

Cathy Moore's Action Mapping Model

There are four steps in this model, and it is recommended that you do at least the first two with your client. If you also receive respect from the client and increased participation, that is a bonus.

  • Step 1 - What is the current problem, how are we measuring it, and how can we use it to create a project goal? Ask the client to tell you something they are currently measuring and how you can tailor their training to meet a particular need based on that. An example may be: Is our productivity based on our attendance? Is the overall output dependent on full participation? How could you use this information in the training component.
  • Step 2 - What tangible behaviors can employees perform that will help the organization to reach the goal? This step confirms that the training actually solves the problem. Creating a condensed flowchart is helpful in this step. For the example above, perhaps incentivizing attendance in order to increase overall productivity. When more people are present and working, morale is higher and people work harder.
  • Step 3 – How can you get people or employees to practice what they need to do to achieve the goal? This part of the training would include examples of characters in particular situations – what do they need to do? The feedback would show the person what the consequences of their choices would be. If your teammate is absent, do you slow down because you are angry, disheartened, overworked? How can that aspect be overcome?
  • Step 4 – Determine what information the people must have to complete the training and where can it be found.  Once the training is written, ensure all employees know when and how to take the training. Set a time limit on all employees completing the training.

The goal in this model is to analyze performance issues and design learning experiences to help an organization achieve their goals.

Our Use of This Model

We use Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping process as a go-to guide in situations where the content being presented is too much and won’t actually lead to behavioral change or business results. Sticking to the goals is key.

The Influencer Model

This model addresses how to change behaviors to achieve measurable results. The focus here is on changing motivation and ability in order to change behavior. This model looks at instances where change often seems impossible.

This model says to look at the six sources of influence which are:

  • Personal motivation – does the person want to do the behavior?
  • Personal ability – does the person have the necessary skills to perform the behavior?
  • Social motivation – is the person receiving enough encouragement and little discouragement?
  • Social ability – are others helping the person at any time when needed?
  • Structural motivation – are there sufficient incentives such as pay or promotions to encourage the desired behavior?|
  • Structural ability – is the work environment one that is conducive to the correct behaviors?

Vital Smart's Influencer Model

Looking at these six sources of influence can help to find the true cause of behaviors and how to change them.  Remember that there is not always one simple solution to a problem. There is also not one reason why people act a certain way. You can better influence resistant behaviors if you know what is behind them and looking to the six sources helps to achieve that.

Our Use of This Model

We use the Influencer model to explore why training might not be fixing a problem. This model explores why people are or are not doing a specific and desirable behavior. Often businesses say that incorrect behavior is a result of inadequate training, but training only affects the personal ability to do the correct behavior. To change behavior, the social and structural aspects need to change as well.

Blooms Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a classification of different objectives and skills that educators have for their students. They are sometimes called learning objectives. It was created by Benjamin Bloom in 1956 and has been recently updated. The taxonomy includes three overall areas of learning: cognitive, effective, and psycho-motor. Those areas are broken down into six levels of learning:

  • Remembering – recalling information from one’s long-term memory
  • Understanding – deriving meaning from words through summarizing, inferring, comparing, etc.
  • Applying – using a procedure to carry out or implement something
  • Analyzing – organizing and breaking information down to determine how the parts relate to one another
  • Evaluating – critiquing or making judgments based on certain criteria
  • Creating – coherently putting information and elements together to form a whole

The idea behind Bloom’s Taxonomy is that learning is hierarchical. Learning at higher levels is dependent on achieving learning at the lower levels first. Therefore, you could not apply or understand something unless you could remember it. This model helps you understand the cognitive processes involved in learning and is sometimes demonstrated using a pyramid.

When designing a course of any kind, Bloom’s Taxonomy can help develop learning objectives. It is important to start with identifying the level of students who will be taking your course. Your course would be different if it were all first-year students as opposed to graduate level students. The idea behind it is that in order to understand something, you must remember it. In order to apply something, you must understand it. In order to evaluate something, you must be able to evaluate it. And in order to draw a conclusion about something, you must be able to evaluate it.

Our Use of This Model

We use Blooms Taxonomy to define or develop what the objective is for the particular course.  Who is the audience for the course, what level of learning, and what are the goals, are all things that must be considered. The higher up the hierarchy you get, the more complex, time consuming, and expensive the training will be to develop. It’s often used as a bit of a reality check. Sometimes all organizations need is a basic training, and sometimes they need a much more complex one. This model can help to identify what level.

About the Author

Nicole Boswell

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