Instructional design/Strong Learning Checklist/RevSLD

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The Checklist for Strong Learning Design (SLD)


Avoid Boring Training Ask Your Learners To Do Something

Review Your Training Use the Strong Learning Design Checklist

Assess Your Skills

Go Forth! Create Great Training

The SLD Checklist Structure[edit | edit source]

The Checklist for Strong Learning Design allows you to assess 14 elements of your training materials. For purposes of clarity and organization, we have classified the 14 elements of the SLD Checklist into 4 major categories:

  • Objectives - what the learner is expected to achieve when completing your training
  • Materials - the content provided to the learner
  • Activities - the exercises the learner is asked to complete
  • Tone and Esthetics - the look and feel of the overall lesson

How the SLD Checklist is Used[edit | edit source]

For each element in the SLD Checklist, the instructional designer is asked to rate where your materials fall on a spectrum between being "action-oriented" or an "information dump" by placing an "X" along a continuum. When you have finished, the completed checklist provides you with a picture of the areas of your training that are in most need of improvement in order to make them more powerful for the user.

The SLD Checklist By Category[edit | edit source]

You'll find the 14 elements of the SLD Checklist here, chunked into these four categories:

Objectives[edit | edit source]

Action-oriented Spectrum Information dump
The goal of the project is to change performance in a visible, measurable way. ------------- The goal of the project is to transfer information into learners' brains.
Objectives describe visible, on-the-job behaviors that are necessary to reach the project goal ("sell," "lead," "schedule," "encrypt," "design"). ------------- Objectives describe knowledge ("understand"). If behaviors are described, they are behaviors that happen during a test ("identify," "explain," "define").

Materials[edit | edit source]

Action-oriented Spectrum Information dump
The format of the materials (webinar, PDF, etc.) is determined by the type of activities and users' needs. ------------- The format of the materials is determined by tradition, the LMS, or what's most convenient for the client.
The materials feel like one immersive, challenging activity or a series of activities with little interruption. ------------- The materials feel like a presentation that's occasionally interrupted by a quiz.
Reference information is supplied outside the activity in job aids; people practice using the job aids in activities. ------------- Reference information is delivered through the course or training; people are expected to memorize it or come back to the course for review.
In eLearning, audio narration is used only for (1) dramatic realism, (2) explanations of complex or rapidly-changing graphics, (3) motivational messages and explanations from people who really exist (e.g. CEO, SME). ------------- Audio narration is used to (1) deliver information while displaying simple, static screens, (2) redundantly read text on the screen, (3) lecture people about what they should or shouldn't do.

Activities[edit | edit source]

Action-oriented Spectrum Information dump
Activities make people practice making decisions like the ones they make on the job. ------------- Activities are quizzes, trivia games, or other knowledge checks that don't happen on the job.
Activity feedback shows people what happens as a result of their choice; they draw conclusions from the result. ------------- Activity feedback explicitly tells people "correct" or "incorrect"; they aren't allowed to draw conclusions.
People can prove that they already know material and skip it. ------------- Everyone is required to view every bit of information regardless of their existing knowledge or performance on activities.

Tone and Esthetics[edit | edit source]

Action-oriented Spectrum Information dump
The authors appear to respect the learners' intelligence and previous experience. ------------- The authors appear to doubt the learners' ability to draw conclusions and assume they have no experience.
Characters are believable; they face complex, realistic challenges with emotionally compelling consequences. ------------- Characters seem fake (e.g. preachy or clueless); their challenges are minor and are presented as intellectual exercises.
Visuals are used to convey meaning. ------------- Visuals are used as "spice."
Photos of people show humans with realistic expressions. Illustrations appear intended for grownups. ------------- Visuals of people are stock photo models who are over-acting or childish cartoons.
The writing is concise, uses contractions, and sounds like a magazine (Flesch Reading Ease score of 50 or higher in Word). ------------- The writing is wordy and stiff; it sounds like a textbook or insurance policy (Flesch Reading Ease score of 49 or lower in Word).

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