At DSA, we don’t just teach the processes of innovative instructional design,
we actually do it, day in and day out.

Tips Newsletter – November, 2011

Creating Great Learning Experiences: Where to Start

Creating Great Learning Experiences: Using Engaging, Involving and Authentic Activities

This is a one day workshop co-sponsored by the Charlotte Area Chapter of ASTD coming in February. Do you want details on this interactive workshop? will be happy to send you a detailed description and how you can bring this workshop to your company or organization.

Join us in Atlanta – Darryl Sink Presents 3 Sessions at Training Magazine’s 34th Annual Conference February 13-14-15

  • Too Many Ideas? Selecting Conference Ideas Worth Pursuing
  • Get Strategic: Match Training to Business Needs and Key Strategic Initiatives
  • Implementing Levels of Evaluation: Learning From An Experiment

Full conference and registration information and details at:

Travel budget tight?

Take a look at DSA’s Certificate Program with Training Magazine’s Live+Online! November sessions are underway but there are more sessions coming in March.

Instructional Design: Performance-Based and Results-Focused – Register today!

Or Look at DSA’s  Course Developer Workshop Online. In this online workshop, you will learn a proven  instructional development process with expert feedback on your own project. – Click here for full details

Would a DSA Workshop benefit your company or organization? YES!

Call or to help you decide which workshops are right for your group. –  Click here for details

Darryl Sink

Most of us can agree that many training and educational programs need more (sometimes much more) participant involvement and engagement. Why? Because we care about transfer of training to the workplace. Using engaging, involving and authentic activities can harness the motivation of the learners, provide appropriate PRACTICE with FEEDBACK, and make the training relevant and job related.

Where to start? Here are two strategies:

  1. Take a course that already exists and that has great content (relevant to the job and business). Select and create dynamic learning activities and practice focused on what the participants are to do with the content back on the job. If it is problem solving or troubleshooting, then consider authentic scenarios and case studies and hands-on troubleshooting with simulated problems. If the content is more for interpersonal skills, as in communicating with others they work with or manage, consider a series of role-plays to build fluency in the interpersonal aspects of the learning. For an example of using this strategy on a set of existing courses, take a look at our white paper here.
  2. For a new course or lesson, start with the business need (the problem or opportunity) the training program is to help resolve. Write the training goals and objectives to reflect the job related tasks participants will need to perform. Next, select and design creative learning activities (e.g., case studies, role plays, and simulations) that provide authentic practice matched to what the participants will need to do back on the job.

The key to both strategies above is to select and create activities directly related to the job performance.

In addition to designing activities related related directly to job performance, look at activities for reinforcement and for gaining and maintaining the participant’s attention. For example, if you are wanting the participants to learn to seek and appreciate multiple perspectives from their team members and others in the organization, you might use an instructional game or other activity where participants are given different scenarios and are asked to put themselves in the shoes of someone else.

This combination of strategies that emphasize authentic activities related to the learner’s job as well as activities for reinforcement and maintaining attention makes for a dynamic great learning experience.

One last note has to do with our own professional development. If we want to be designers of great learning experiences, we need to be continually reviewing different types of activities for ideas we might use on current and future projects.

For more related tips on this subject check out the DSA Tips Archives under Instructional Strategies/Techniques

Good luck as you develop Great Learning Experiences.

Until next time,