• Tammy Layman-Hall

5 Instructional Designer Tips for DIY Course Designers

You have an idea. Use effective course design to share your wisdom.


As a writer, I meet a lot of very creative, interesting people who do amazing things. They create beautiful products. They are masters of their craft. They are willing to share what they have learned. They enjoy sharing with others.


Yet, when they deliver workshops, their mastery is lost in poor course design. They fall victim to elementary instructional design fundamental no-nos. True to sound ID principles, these violations of basic learning principles take them down.


Know Me, Your Audience

Understand who will be in your audience. Assess how much experience they bring to the room. Gear content towards novices, experts, technical or hobbyists.


Remember, Everyone Learns Different

Design your learning program for different styles of learners. Remember, not everyone learns like you do. Some are visual learners. Others auditory learners. Some are reflective learners. Others need to participate. In your workshop, include activities designed for the different types of learners.


Be Prepared

Run copies ahead of time. Create an agenda. Run through your presentation so you know how long each slide, story and activity will take.


Respect Time and Bodies

Use a timer. If you are presenting, be sure to time your presentation prior to your delivery. Plan for questions. Prepare the audience on how you're going to take questions. Be mindful of the audiences time, be sure to start and stop on time. Take those breaks. After all, my brain can only handle as much as my bottom can take in the chair.


Be Confident - Don't Apologize

I paid to see you. I want you to succeed. As an adult learner, I am there to build my knowledge, craft my skill and to meet others who share my same interest. Please do not apologize.


In sum, effective course design is all about your audience. Remember, your audience paid to be in your course (or will soon be paying!) they want you to succeed. Still, bodies can only take so much time in a chair. Remember to give breaks. Busy lives needs an instructor who takes the time to prepare before the start of the session. Everyone appreciates the instructor who pays attention to the clock. Beginning and ending classes on time shows respect to those taking time to come to your class.


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