From order taker to problem solver

I am developing a training program for new instructional designers and consultants, and one of the topics we will be working on is moving from order taker to problem solver.  I am looking for existing articles, blog posts, etc. on this topic.  I see some articles on this, but not L&D focused.  Have you run across any?  

7 Replies
Trina Rimmer

Hi Kate. What a brilliant idea for a training program! 

We do have quite a bit of L&D-focused material on this topic here on E-Learning Heroes. Here are a few articles that might be of help.

5 Habits of Effective Instructional Designers

Measure Training Success by Demonstrating Value

10 Communication Tips for Handling Tough Conversations

2 Ways You Can Boost Your Instructional Design Cred

Is Training the Right Solution?

Hope these are helpful! I'm sure others will have their own essential reading to add.

Kate Hoelscher

Thank you!  We often have new trainers who come in as SMEs, and a natural career path from trainer is to ID or consultant, so I have been working on building an onboarding and continuing education program for these career paths.  I really appreciate these articles and any others people have for this topic!

Dave Ferguson

For a long time I've recommended Robert F. Mager's What Every Manager Should Know about Training. It won't magically turn someone into an instructional designer, but it'll help people think about solving business problems for clients rather than just churning out training.

Here's a short excerpt (remember, this is advice for the client who thinks she has a training problem):

Instead of asking, “How long will it take to develop my course?” you might consider asking:

What can you do for me with the lead time I’ve got?…

For example, if [the training department has] only two days for training development, the most useful thing they can do is to verify whether training is a valid solution, and to verify which solutions will have the greatest impact on the problem.

If the trainers have time to do one more thing, a task analysis would be the most useful action. These analyses can be turned into checklists in a matter of minutes, and the checklists can be given immediately to the instructors…and to the trainees, to show…what competent performers can do….

If there is time to do one more thing, trainers can derive the objectives of the instruction and then draft skill checks by which instructional success can be measured…


Christy Tucker

I was going to recommend Cathy Moore and Bob Mager, as those were the first two names that popped into my head, but Dave beat me to the punch. :)

In your searching, you might try using "performance consultant" as a search term rather than "problem solving."

Learning Solutions Magazine has some articles relevant to this topic.

Jane Bozarth's Opportunity Knocks is about solving problems without always using instruction.

Staying Out of the Knowledge Dump is more about using performance-based objectives to improve training, but this might be part of your solution (after you determine that training even is the right solution).