I was very fortunate to be a part of a three day instructional design course on developing instructional objectives, test questions, and lesson plans. The course delved into the Systematic Approach to Training (SAT), and it really drove home the need to create bombshell instructional objectives, followed by test questions (two for each objective for us!) – before any content is ever developed. It was great to hear this best practice reaffirmed.
One thing that had me worried was that my web based training modules were not for credit, and the ID course was geared towards credit-based instructor led training (ILT). My courses are required but not for-credit. Although I do need to update the ILT version of my web based training modules in addition to revising my videos, the scope of the course I took was definitely different than my current role.
It turns out it was super helpful to me! Objectives are the base of a course. They should be completed in the design phase, along with test questions. Using specific verbs and having a complete objectives (with a condition, a performance, and a standard) help participants understand what they are getting into, but it also outline what the instructor is getting into!
No matter what, instructional objectives and test questions have to have a direct relationship and be consistent with one another. For example, if you have an instructional objective that says when you are done you should have memorized a list, the test question must make them write the list – matching or multiple choice won’t do. If you have an instructional objective that says when you are done you should recognize a list, then you can use multiple choice, matching, etc for test questions.
The most important thing impressed on us with the lesson plan was organization. I really think a lesson plan could or should also be the common denominator between an ILT, a web conference, and a web based training module. The lesson plan provides scope. Although it sounds a little difficult, it was recommended that courses without lesson plans be retrofitted with one. That could take a little work, but I see why!
After taking the class, I found out that one of my web modules was going to be offered for credit! What a great surprise!