Strategies for Developing Instructional Materials for the Interpersonal Domain

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Introduction[edit]

In order to provide training that will teach people skills found in the interpersonal domain, you need the proper instructional materials or you may end up in a situation like this. Where do you start? Do you create your own instructional materials or do you use pre-existing materials? How do you decide what materials to select? There are a variety of instructional materials to choose from and many options to consider when developing your own. This lesson will provide you with some strategies to consider when selecting or creating instructional materials for teaching interpersonal domain skills.

This lesson consists of five sections:

  1. an overview of the strategies for developing instructional materials
  2. strategies for developing the instructional content
  3. strategies for media selection
  4. lesson summary
  5. practice session
  6. assessment

Learning Objective[edit]

Upon completion of this lesson:

  • Given the task of developing a course designed to teach interpersonal skills, the learner will be able to list the strategies for developing instructional materials that target the interpersonal domain. This will be measured by the completion of the assessment at the end of the lesson.

In addition, the learner will also be able to:

  • List strategies for developing instructional content
  • Name considerations when selecting instructional materials

Overview[edit]

Since the interpersonal domain has to do with the relationships between people, the instructional materials should allow for interaction. The key to success is practice, practice, practice! Be sure to build in plenty of opportunities for the learner to apply the concepts you are presenting.

The content should include assessment activities to measure learning, along with identifying tasks, sequencing, and practice skills. One method of development is to build the instructional materials with the end results in mind, also known as "Backward Design" (See Understanding by Design by Wiggins & McTighe). What knowledge or understanding do you want the learner to develop? How will learning be evidenced? The materials should identify the learning performance standards as these performances guide the design of the activities.

These are just some of the issues that you will face when developing instructional materials for the interpersonal domain. For a look at the development phase from a broader perspective, see Development Phase - Chapter IV

We are now going to look at different choices to be made when developing the content for instructional materials for the interpersonal domain and some strategies that you may use in the media selection process.

Strategies for Developing Content[edit]

When developing content, provide contextualizing elements (collaboration, role play, case studies) that permit for multiple and varied perspectives. Contextualizing also helps link ideas to prior knowledge. Learners bring experience that is unique to their cultural and ethnic backgrounds. In addition, motivation and decision making should be built in to the materials being developed. Develop the materials so that the instructor is not built into the process. This permits the greatest flexibility and encourages the development of materials that are focused on learner needs.

When developing or modifying instructional materials for the interpersonal domain, the instructor should ask these questions:

  1. What is my instructional strategy? This would include learner analysis, identification of goals & objectives, sequencing of events, delivery modes (i.e., self-paced, instructor-led, etc.) and assessment tools.
  2. What budget do I have available? This would include not only the cost of developing or adapting existing materials, but the cost of maintaining the instructional materials over time.
  3. What resources will I have on hand? Keep in mind both your resources and ability to create the instructional materials as well as the resources and ability of the instructor and learner to use these materials. Is the technology accessible, flexible, or difficult to learn?

Instructional Elements[edit]

Once you have a general plan in mind, you can begin developing and gathering the materials for your instruction. Since you are developing instructional materials for the interpersonal domain, you should look for materials that engage the learner in interpersonal activities. Instructional and assessment activities should draw upon the following elements, depending upon the goals and objectives of the course:

  • peer-sharing
  • group activities
  • interpersonal interactions
  • team games
  • questionnaires, surveys, and activities which require gathering input from others
  • cooperative learning
  • leadership activities
  • peer activities such as counseling and tutoring

When selecting or creating instructional materials assess whether or not the content provides for such elements. If not, the material may not be appropriate for developing interpersonal skills.

Identifying Skills to Develop[edit]

When developing the content you should assess the skills that are likely to be developed by using the instructional materials that you have created or selected. The material should be designed to develop these skills, depending upon the goals and objectives:

  • listening skills
  • person-to-person communication
  • giving and receiving feedback
  • leadership
  • teamwork and cooperation
  • conflict resolution


Now that you have learned some strategies for developing the content, we are going to look at some strategies for media selection.

Strategies for Media Selection[edit]

When developing your instructional materials you will need to consider your media options. This section will provide you with some strategies to help you make the right choice for your needs.


Type Benefits Considerations Examples
Simulations permits independence in learning process
contextualizes content
can provide multiple perspectives
develops critical thinking skills
can be expensive
feedback important to success
Training
Games
highly motivational
encourages teamwork
uses problem solving skills
develops communication skills
may require extensive preparation
flexibility important
Role
Playing
introduces real world situations
promotes understanding of other positions
emphasizes working together
provides opportunities to give & receive feedback
difficult with large groups
can require extensive guidance to be effective
Interactive
Games
highly motivational
engages learner
develops strategical thinking skills
best with individuals or small groups
may require support materials to ensure learning
Video great for large groups
provides for safe observation
can include real life situations
can develop critical thinking
technology requirements
difficult to adapt
need discussion & practice opportunities
Web
Sites
many available resources
multiple perspectives represented
can provide for silent reflection
technology requirements
quality varies greatly
requires self-motivation
need to provide interaction opportunities
Job
Aids
provides for rapid instruction
inexpensive
can use with any size group
provides opportunities for self-assessment
good as a support tool
need practice opportunities to ensure transfer



Summary[edit]

When developing instructional materials designed to target the interpersonal domain, one must take into account several considerations. The instructor should begin by analyzing what the learner should know at the end of the course and how that learning will be demonstrated. In addition, the instructor should also consider:

  • the instructional strategy
  • the costs involved in development and maintenance of the instructional materials
  • the skills the instructor and learner possess
  • the resources available

Since the materials are being developed for skills within the interpersonal domain, the materials should permit for peer-sharing, group activities, and interpersonal interactions. The materials should target communication skills, leadership, and cooperation.

The selection of media is another important component to address when developing instructional materials for the interpersonal domain. Certain media permit for different learning opportunities. For example, role playing encourages working together and provides the learners with an opportunity to give and receive feedback. However, like any media you may select, there are considerations you need to keep in mind. While role playing does have benefits, it can be difficult to implement in large classroom situations. The chart within this lesson was designed to assist the instructor with the process of selecting the appropriate media for his/her particular needs.


Practice[edit]

This lesson addressed strategies for developing instructional materials for the interpersonal domain. Now you will have a chance to apply what you have learned! Below is a fictional case study. Read the case study and then answer the questions that follow it.

Case Study – Developing a Training Session for Interpersonal Skills

Joyce has been given the task of developing a training session that will improve communication skills among employees at a business providing financial services. After consulting with John, the manager, this is what Joyce has learned:

  • John stated the training was needed for the fifteen employees of the research division. He identified the employees as all very competent and highly committed but said that repeated conflicts among some members of the division are starting to impact morale and production. He is looking for someone to come in and "help everyone to get along". The budget is a big concern as is time – he wants the training session to be inexpensive and quick, but of course, he wants positive results.
  • John says they can provide you with a large conference room that can fit all the employees. It also has multimedia capabilities as well. The equipment includes DVD, CD, and VHS players, an overhead projector, and a computer for the instructor. The room contains several long tables which can be rearranged if necessary.
  • After conducting an analysis, Joyce has learned that most of the employees in this division have been there for five years or longer, but that in the past year there have been three new hires. She is unclear whether the conflict is related to the people recently hired. When talking with the employees, she received a mixed response to the upcoming training session with some expressing support of the session while others felt it was a “waste of time”.


Using the details found in this case study, write down on a sheet of paper the answers to the following questions:


1. When developing the instructional content for this training session, what are five things that Joyce should consider?


2. What are three interpersonal skills that the training session should target?


3. When selecting the media for the training program, what would you recommend Joyce choose and why?


Once you have finished answering the questions, proceed to the Strategies for Developing Instructional Materials Assessment page to see how you did.

References[edit]

Dick, W., Carey, L., & Carey, J. O. (2001). The Systematic Design of Instruction (5th ed.). New York: Addison Wesley Longman.

Gagne, R. M., Briggs, L. J., & Wager, W. W. (1992). Principles of Instructional Design (4th ed.). New York: Harcourt Brace.

Gagne, R.M. & Reiser, R.A. (1983). Selecting Media for Instruction. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Educational Technology.

Heinich, R., Molenda, M., & Russell, J. D. (1993) Instructional Media and the New Technologies of Instruction (4rd ed.) New York: Macmillan.

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J.(1998). Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.




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