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Action mapping overview

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Training design checklist: Evaluate your instructional design. Do you want a checklist you can use to evaluate your learning design? Here’s my contribution (PDF). I’m calling it a checklist because several people have asked for one, but it’s not really a checklist. Instead of checking a box to say, “Yup, got that covered!” You choose a spot on a spectrum between “action-oriented materials” and “information dump.” There are 14 items to evaluate. This range-finding approach acknowledges that we’re all facing forces that push us toward information dumps. The tool can also be used to clarify what I intend to be the end result of action mapping. Action mapping: A visual approach to training design. Action mapping is a streamlined process to design training in the business world. Its goal is to help designers: Commit to measurably improving the performance of the businessIdentify the best solution to the performance problemWhen training is necessary, create challenging simulations, not information presentations I created the process in May 2008, when I was designing custom elearning for corporate clients (here’s the first blog post about it).

The following slideshow gives a simplified, very high-level overview. It uses lighthearted stock photos from 2008 of a guy dressed in a ninja outfit. No political statement is intended. Because I was designing elearning at the time, I presented action mapping as an elearning design model, but it works for all types of business training, as I show in my workshops. The addition of a flowchart In May 2013, I deepened step 2 to include the use of a flowchart that helps identify lean, in-the-workflow solutions, such as job aids or process improvements. Action mapping conference handout. Here’s a summary of what I presented at the 2014 Online Learning Conference by Training magazine, along with links to lots more detail. My point We face a cultural challenge: many people — clients, employers, colleagues — see us as information designers.

As a result, we obediently design presentations with quizzes, creating content that often has nothing to do with the urgent needs of the organization. Instead, we should see ourselves as analyzing problems and designing experiences that solve those problems. The experiences are realistic activities through which people make decisions and learn from the results of those decisions. Our projects should be tightly focused on improving a performance measure that the organization cares about.

Action mapping is my visual approach to instructional design. Do this with your client and SME Do at least the first two steps of action mapping with your client and subject matter expert(s). 1. 2. Don’t skip the flowchart. 3. 4. Conclusion. The big mistake in elearning. Here’s a short presentation that includes: The one powerful change that will make our elearning a lot more effectiveA quick demo of action mappingA fun example of the type of information that should go in job aidsHow to get people to stop telling you, “Turn this information into a course” To see a bigger version on YouTube, click the movie when it’s playing.

Can’t access YouTube? Here’s a Vimeo version. To practice steering your client away from an information dump, you might try this challenge. I gave this presentation a couple of weeks ago at the “Fresh Look at Instructional Design” session with Patrick Dunn and Clive Shepherd, sponsored by the Elearning Network and ALT. You can see Patrick’s presentation in his blog, and you can see the whole Elluminate recording, including a lively chat and lots of questions, here. Field guide to action-mapped materials. What does an action mapped course look like? Action mapping has grown in recent years to apply to all types of training design and performance support, not just elearning. It’s a process, rather than a style of product. It should rarely result in just slide-based elearning, because the method focuses on solving performance problems, and one lonely online course rarely solves any problem.

With that huge caveat, I’m sometimes asked what an action mapped course looks like. It might look like this: It was created to help you develop skills that you actually need on your job.The course is part of a larger solution to a real performance problem. This checklist can help you evaluate the action-mappiness of training materials. Book excerpt: Compare the traditional approach with action mapping To see how action mapping changes our approach to design and creates a different type of activity, you might read this PDF excerpt from my upcoming book. But I want to see examples!