Getting the Most Bang for Your Instructional Design Buck

If you need some high quality instructional design, but you’re on a budget, how can you get the most bang for your buck?

One strategy I suggest is to give extra attention to review and feedback cycles that occur early in the project.  Usually, it is much easier and faster for instructional designers to build a product that meets your specifications when we know what your goals are at the beginning than it is to go back and make seemingly simple changes.

A good example of this happened during a project where I created a software training manual in Articulate Rise.  In most ways, this was the model of a smoothly-functioning project… but, during the final review cycle, the client requested a change to the theme color.  Conceptually, this was a small change!  But practically, it meant that I needed to recreate all of the images… and there were close to 50 of them.   Making this change in the final review instead of the first review increased the cost in a way that was frustrating for me, and expensive for the client.

I now include specific questions about color and branding in the initial review checklist to reduce the chance that this will happen in the future.  I also recommend that clients spend some time reflecting on what a successful finished product must have early in the process.  Clear communication, especially early on, will help you find the right instructional designer and get the learning solution that you want and need with a minimum of detours along the way.