Looking for Training Suggestions

Hello community!

I am hoping you can help me out.

I have scoured the internet for a face-to-face a training course on "writing for instructional designers" and have not been able to find anything.  Does anyone have a suggestion?

I hoping this course would cover:

- how to write learning objectives

- how to write exam questions

- how to write scripts

Thanks so much in advance.

7 Replies
Bruce Graham

Hi Brianne.

MASSIVE subject...! 


1> First of all have a look at Cathy Moore's site here...

Objectives should be written to encompass the CHANGE that you want people to do in terms of behaviour.

They should be written in SMART format, they need to be SPECIFIC (to the role), MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RELEVANT and also TIMEBOUND.

2> Exam questions. VAST topic. Tell me more about the type of exam please.

3> Scripts - scripts for what exactly? Scripts for slides? May I suggest (humbly) you might find something of use at http://brucemgraham.wordpress.com/

Perhaps Daniel Brigham can chime in here - he's started a thread about eLearning scripts on this forum.


Brianne Bangma

thanks, for your help.

1. i actually just reached out to Cathy Moore, she suggested this course: http://www.langevin.com/workshops/view/writing-skills-for-trainers

2. Regarding exams, it would be specifically final assessments for courses.  Multiple choice and multiple response questions

3. Script writing meaning writing scripts for characters in your course which are engaging and creative and also clearly cover the content of the course. I will check our your website.

James Brown

Not to discourage you, but how much technical training do you have? Do you have an experience with multimedia? Have you taken any technical writing courses? Langevin is showing $599 for a one day course and I'm here to tell you, one day is not going to do the trick. It may get your mind whirling, but  It's taken me many years to develop my e-learning skills and It wasn't until after taking graduate level college Education Technology courses did I truly understand e-learning materials and how to properly design them. 

My honest suggestion is to look at your local community college and see if they do not offer multimedia courses.You could also look for Education Technology courses or Instructional Design course being offered. These courses will give you the skills you will need to succeed.

Regarding evaluation; in my scholarly opinion, and the opinions of other scholars, a lickert exam really is not a true test of a persons level of understanding. Think about it; they have a 25% chance of guessing the correct answer. The true method to gauge a person's knowledge of a subject matter is to have them write about a subject. However since most of the e-learning materials I have seen being created are based on psychomotor skills, I guess a lickert exam may suffice assuming that the questions being asked do a good job covering all the materials presented.

Good Luck and I hope that helps,


Steve Flowers

The Langevin courses have a good reputation. The writing course above can't hurt but I wouldn't stop there. As an apprentice in that part of the discipline, finding a master to provide challenge and feedback will help you avoid settling into the all too common rut of mediocrity. 

In my experience, writing skills tend to be the weakest skillset for most practicing folks in the field. Take whatever exposure and practice you can get.  You'll learn more about writing objectives and assessment items for the real world by participating in the real world -- provided you seek and receive feedback to encourage the growth of those skills.

There's a lot to engineering effective solutions. These outputs are the culmination of multiple problem solving disciplines (Instruction, Visual / Communication, Technical). It's not all about process. Insight (the ability to see what's there and ask the right questions) plays a very large part. So does style. 

It sounds like you have some passion for this work, Brianne. Stick with it. Build things and seek out feedback. Resist the pull of technology. Design is more about science and soul than it is about 1's and 0's.

--- start rant ---

I'll respectfully disagree with James about the grad courses and formal education giving you *all of the skills you need to succeed*. Worked with way too many educated folks with trans-novice capability to lock onto that notion  I've also taken many of these courses and I can say even the grad level programs are simply not enough. Most of the development specific courses you'll get in formal education programs are beginner level and pull focus from the core of the craft. Those that hang their hat on the courses in a grad program and refuse to further their own skill development will be stuck with mediocre technical skills. Non-technical portions seem to reinforce a narrow process approach (building instruction) with pedantic (ironic, huh) and irrelevant filler. Like the technical skills portion of these programs, folks that stop with the program and don't reach beyond after they leave will be stuck with a short-sighted view of the way things work. Writing assignments tend to stick to expectations and formats customary to undergrad programs, concerned more with APA format than a message with concise meaning. That's just not aligned with the way things should work.

Most programs don't assess problem solving capacity, critical thinking, or balancing creative and critical thinking prior to the program (if any at all do) and neglect to develop these skills  over the course of the program. Very few folks I've interviewed and curricula I've reviewed offer any sense of the business side of a consultation relationship. This relationship management is quite a bit of what an experienced ID will tackle on a day to day basis.  

Education is great. It's a force multiplier for someone that's got the affinity and passion for the work. But it's not everything and it's not the key indicator of success. My formula for skill products is (affinity+passion)*education. Someone with zero affinity for the work and no passion to pursue growth isn't going to get jack from an education (and, yes, an education can happen on the job). There are great folks in this field but in my experience (17 years or so) sharp professionals aren't that common. My 2c.

--- end rant ---

Leisa  Bulow

Hi Steve,

I thoroughly agree with your rant.

Sorry James, but I do not hold a multitude of university qualifications, but I am very good at this work (or at least, so I've been told). Why is it that experience is so undervalued? Sure, I've created online couseware that I'm not particularly proud of, looking back, but I have created some really interesting and well-used materials too. I am self-taught as far as both instructional design and using online development tools, but my passion, imagination, business sense, common sense and training and coaching experience all helped to shape the intuitive eLearning professional that I am.

Sorry Brianne, for getting sidetracked from your original topic.

I think that scripting for your characters will always depend on the business environment you are writing for. Take your cues from how people in the organisation hold conversations, especially with clients. Try to mimic that style, without selecting a single person as your muse. Case studies are a great way to approach these scenarios also. Perhaps you could use branching scenarios, where the conversation continues in a certain vein, depending on the answer selected by the user. Make sure the scenarios are specific to the business.

As for quizzes, try to mix them up a little if possible, or have a selection of random answers (if your software allows for that). The content of the quizzes should not directly reflect the wording from the course. A simple memory test is not very conducive to the learning process at this point. Try to make the learners consider the consequences of an action, and base your question and answers around that. The most effective questions will make the learner apply the course content to a work-related concept, and make a decision or understand how it applies. Not always an easy task...

Good luck!


James Brown

The main hindrance I have seen from lack of education is that you are not exposed to learning theories and principals behind the course design. Point in case, Art, specifically painting. There are many people out there who can draw and they think that their talents make them good. It's not until they sit down in an art class do they discover all the principals behind painting such as symmetry, aspect ratios, line of sight, vanishing points, etc. One art professor once said that "anyone can draw  but I can make you a good painter in four years." He also said the people who made the worst artists were those who thought they could draw but did not understand everything that goes into it.  Prior to my grad courses I would have said I was a pretty good e-learning designer. However after taking grad courses I quickly realized there were a lot of little things I simply did not understand and this education actually has made me a lot better of an instructional designer.

Granted there are those who may disagree with this, and I say great. It's your opinion, and you have a right to that. I'm just saying that, yes without education you may be able to create an ok e-learning course but to create an effective course takes both time and education which may be self taught or informal education.Education simply means to acquire knowledge and some may read a book and be able to accomplish a task while others may have to take some courses. 

Good luck with your endeavor.


Colin Eagles

Loved the debate - agree with points from both sides!

Brianne, I think that the Langevin course sounds like a good fit.  I'm more of a "learn from my failures" kind of guy; but, sometimes it takes a course or two to get you on the right track too.  Good luck with the course (and applying it afterwards).