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Design Documents

Planning out and designing training for your learners is an exciting process. Instructional designers (ID) get to paint a beautiful masterpiece with their training that molds their learners and changes their behavior in a desired direction. It’s a truly beautiful thing to be a part of. A part of this process is creating design documents that outline everything from the course topic to guidance techniques used.

User stories in eLearning?

Yes, “user stories” are an important part of design documenting and are often a forgotten piece. Once an ID has a course topic, they will then analyze their learner audience, knowledge, and skill types and form it into the following documentation.

Here comes our strategy!

Once the ID understand who they’re building for, they will then need to decide various domains, assessment methods, and trigger events. Let’s look at the following example:

- Domains

Choosing a correct domain is important. For this example, we know that our learner will have to participate in problem diagnosis and equipment repair so we will choose the diagnosis and repair domain. This will allow our learner to be presented with the proper troubleshooting issues to prepare them to operate as desired.

- Assessment Methods

Assessment methods are a crucial piece to the puzzle. This allows the ID to know if knowledge has been transferred and whether they are ready for the situations. This example prompts more directive-based learning and the assessments are correct choices.

- Trigger events

The trigger event is “how the scenario kicks off”. (Clark, 2013) Here, our trigger event is executing a new recipe entering the system. This signals to the learner that they will have to go through the steps provided in the guided learning.

Getting Personal.

Every learner has a different method and path for learning that will be successful for them. An ID needs to use their tool box and prepare various guidance techniques and advisors if the situation calls for it. A guidance technique could be educational videos or a simulated eLearning instructor that takes them on their path.


Clark, R. (2013). Scenario-Based e-Learning. John Wiley & Sons

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