Q&A: What to do when asked to put your head down and just build out this Elearning…

The following question came to me after I posted this short video:

T&D: Reduce your Instructional Content to the absolute minimum necessary – eliminating extraneous, Seductive Details to Reduce or Eliminate Cognitive Load or overload. Less is actually more in Instruction. And Performance Analysis will help you eliminate unnecessary content.

Q to Guy:

I’m a believer Guy W Wallace.

What do you recommend a starving Instructional Designer do when confronted with the Leadership saying, “we aren’t going to do a ‘formal’ analysis, just put your head down and build this out in a one hour Storyline course…”

I know my answer but I am dying to hear your treatment on this…

Please forgive me if I missed this answer in other channels, and please forgive if this is too cliché–the answer I have, gives me heartburn on a professional level that keeps me up at night. Not kidding.

In other words, I am left clueless as to how to proceed *without* some sort of formal analysis having been done..? I can do the analysis myself and have done formal course analysis for the military so I am open to a range of task/performance analyses, but it seems like most corporate Instructional Design defaults to a one hour Articulate Storyline presentation these days; and it sucks. I can’t stand it.

Is it me..?

Am I alone on this one?

I am all about being concise: eLearning sucks because a lack of analysis plus shoe-horning everything into cognitive objectives in the shortest time possible.

There is a better way OR I refuse to be a part of it going forward.

–Analytically Yours


A from Guy:

To borrow a phrase from Devo: “Same as it ever was.” And: “As always – it depends.” It depends on the learning/communication goal(s): is it to create awareness via communications; knowledge via education; or skills via training – or simply to enable performance in the process/workflow and given the performers’ prior knowledge/skill a Job Aid would be sufficient.

And then there’s: “he who pays the piper calls the tune” – and it may not be worth it to overly challenge the requestor. You can ask questions and make suggestions, but it’s their investment and their returns (with a positive, nil, or negative ROI). So if you are starving – and are given an assignment – focus on doing the best you can given the circumstances and constraints. And then look for opportunities to help educate the clients/requestors on better ways – when those opportunities present themselves. “Timing is everything.”

I hate to see people beat themselves up for being less than SuperPeople and able to turn unfortunate situations around and right-side-up. You cannot. I cannot. But if you win trust and respect over time – you may find your voice listened to in the next/future opportunity to do better – and you may become a valued resource.

Reminds me of this song from the late John Prine… Note – Maybe NSFW…

Sometimes you just need to be thankful you’ve got a job.


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