Refocusing an Instructional Design Team


The instructional design staff of a training group was charged with creating user manuals and online help files for new Windows-based business systems. The user manuals were used in training sessions but seldom after initial training. The help systems only documented screen field content and did not provide help for workflow process or system issues. The group primarily used a traditional ADDIE methodology that did not work well with the systems development methodology, rapid prototyping. The group was perceived as producing material that was of no value to training and on-going support and an impediment to system development.

Action Plan:

The instruction design group was reorganized to focus on three areas:

performance support
  • Design and development of performance support materials and training aids including quick reference cards, on-screen tool tips, and online materials including getting started guides and business process documentation.
  • Create targeting e-learning content focusing on critical procedures with high support requirements and/or significant business criticality.
  • Develop e-learning courses to support ongoing new hire training if warranted.

The group’s approach to analysis and evaluation was expanded to encompass a broader range of issues including:

  • Identification of system deployment training needs, potential on-going support issues, and long-term training volume requirements and aligning those with business goals.
  • Understanding business processes and workflows from subject matter experts and business analysts. Heavy emphasis was placed on defining and addressing changes.
  • Identification of help desk / support issues associated with existing systems that could be addressed with training / performance support content.
  • Expanded use of storyboarding and usage scenarios to capture courseware/training flow and content rather than focusing on individual system screens and windows.

Priorities were realigned to focus on first on performance support materials and training aids during deployments. E-learning content to support critical procedures and new hire training was developed subsequently with stable systems to reduce the number of courseware iterations.


Useful, high-quality performance support and training materials were created that enhanced the group’s reputation and image. Systems executives and project managers began actively soliciting their products. Direct production costs were reduced through the more focused approach. On-going costs for updates were also reduced through the use of online content. The group was able to begin developing a wider range training and performance support tools using animations, video, and other interactive tools.