Remodeling 101: An Instructional Designer’s point of view

June 26, 2012 by Katie O'Zey in IT Courseware, Technical Documentation

Tape MeasureMy husband and I are currently remodeling our master bedroom. As part of the project, we are building a new master bathroom from the floor up. The catch? We started the project over a year ago.

Once you factor in our busy work schedules and various other obligations, it’s not too hard to see why it’s taken so long. But despite it being a very part-time project, it’s become a running joke around the office that this particular content project has derailed in scope, deadline, and resources. Har har, guys.

Planning for success

A lot of things in life are like a content development project. There are resources to allocate, deadlines to map out, and risks to be assessed. My husband is a competent man who learned all he knows about construction from his father’s contracting business. But he was never a licensed contractor himself. There are going to be questions that arise. Should we wire the electricity before bringing in the plumbing? Where should we pull that electricity from? What are the exact mathematical measurements for proper drainage? In this case, we need the expertise of a subject matter expert (SME) to map out our plans successfully.

This cycle isn’t so different from the instructional design process. I’ve never been an IT guru, so that skill-set is beyond me. But I can design a course based on technical principles once I have the proper resources at hand. For example, I am tasked with creating a lesson on Lync Server 2010 functionality, so where do I find the information needed to create that lesson? Internal SMEs, Microsoft TechNet, or some good old-fashioned research are the first resources I turn to, just like my husband turns to his father, or researches methods online. The point is, in both instances, exploring resources is vital to getting the project finished.

Something else a content development project has in common with a bathroom remodel? Talking about having them finished is a lot easier than actually finishing!