Instructional Design for Managers

This course provides a foundation in workplace learning & development (L&D) for managers. The goal of this course is to introduce learners to concepts and organization practices associated with designing, implementing, and evaluating different types of employee training and development programs.

Multiple approaches to learning & development in the workplace will be covered. Course topics include adult learning & development, learning strategies, team learning & development, strategic learning & development, instructional design, and the technological tools to facilitate workplace learning.


Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
At the completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Summarize how learning can help companies gain a strategic advantage.
  2. Conduct a needs assessment to determine whether learning is necessary and the appropriate solution for a business problem.
  3. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of traditional and 21st Century L&D methods.
  4. Design an effective training plan.
  5. Implement appropriate outcomes and evaluation design to measure learning effectiveness.
  6. Outline the employee development process.

I taught Instructional Design for Managers using a theme-based approach. This video introduces the concept to the learners.


The World of L&D interactive lesson created using Rise 360.

Learning & Development at Dow

Development of Dow’s diverse workforce is a key pillar of the company’s People Vision of having the world’s best people, working together to make a difference. Dow’s employee development model reflects a cycle of continuous learning embedded in everyday work, workplace relationships and structured learning.

Dow invests in employees to keep them at the forefront of their respective fields. Opportunities range from daily on-the-job learning, participation in global cross-functional project teams, mentoring, classroom training, cultural training, online learning, and participation in employee networks.

Dow’s global scale and breadth offer the flexibility to seek multiple careers within one company. The employees experience career growth through development moves, stretch goals, special projects, cross-functional projects or expanded responsibilities. Opportunities are provided to move within and across functions and businesses as part of Dow’s employee development process. Employees are encouraged to use our internal job application system to search and apply for jobs of interest.

Dow’s Leadership in Action initiative is an example of developing future leaders through a unique skills-based learning experience. Watch the video to learn more about this innovative L&D approach.

Leadership In Action (2 min. 47 sec.) 

Video Source: Dow Chemical



  1. Read the case study on pages 115 & 116 in your textbook then answer the reflection questions. 
  2. Post your reflection in the space provided or upload a Word document with your answers.


Reflection Questions

1. What competitive challenges motivated Dow Chemical to develop Leadership in Action?

2. Do you think Leadership in Action contributes to Dow Chemical’s business strategy and goals? Explain.

3. How would you determine if the Leadership in Action program was effective? What metrics or outcomes would you collect? Why?

4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the Leadership in Action program, compared to more traditional ways of training leaders such as formal courses (e.g., an MBA program) or giving them more increased job responsibility?

Over the past two weeks, you’ve learned a lot about course design and adult learning theory. In this activity, you’ll put everything you’ve learned into practice as you evaluate an e-learning training module. 


  1. Select one or two of the courses below.
  2. Work through the course as if you were a training participant.
  3. Notate your initial feelings about the course.
  4. Work through the course a second time from an evaluation perspective. Use the attached document to guide your evaluation.
  5. Submit your evaluation using the submit link below.



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Training Project Instructions

Over the course of the semester, you will work in teams to complete a Training Project proposal. Each week we will learn about the steps in designing training , and you will complete a segment of your final project based on that knowledge. Your final submission will be a proposal document and a multimedia presentation.

Your teams will work together using methods that are typically used with virtual teams. You will find detailed information, tutorials, and examples of each on the Resources page.

  1. Office 365
  2. SLACK 
  3. Various multimedia resources Resources (Adobe Spark, Rise 360, iMovie, etc.)
  4. Video Conferencing
  5. Canvas Group discussions

Your project will consist of an Instructional Design Document and a Proposal Presentation.

The instructional design document provides more than just a simple course outline; it provides a high-level overview of the entire training solution.
Your instructional design document provides detailed instructions on how to build the course, but it doesn’t contain any actual course content; it’s similar to an architect’s blueprint or a software engineer’s design document.

Generally, an instructional design document will perform the following tasks:

 Describe the overall learning approach
 Identify instructional media choices
 Cluster and sequence objectives
 Describe course exercises, activities, and assessments

Together these elements create the overall instructional strategy for the course. A short course might have a very simple design document, but complex and lengthy courses can have very detailed design documents. The instructional design serves as a major quality assurance checkpoint. You and your team discuss and agree to the design before development begins. It’s a lot easier to adjust the design than redevelop materials later in the

Project Instructions

The purpose of the training team project is for you to hone your skills in designing training. Students will be assigned to teams. Each team will provide a paper and give a presentation to the class. Teams are responsible for choosing a behavior/skill/topic/competency to focus on. Examples of potential topics include safety training, sexual harassment training, how to give feedback, how to coach an employee etc.

Please identify your topic and get my approval and suggestions before you start on the project. Also, it is important to provide a context (company, job/position) for the training. Ideally, the organization and job/position should be based on one of the team member’s practicum experience, a current job a team member or family member or friend holds, or team members’ knowledge of a job/position where they work. The point is for each team to focus on an actual job/position within a company. The length of the training is up to you. Your training should focus on a module or course not a training curriculum.

What should the content of the paper focus on?

First, the paper should describe the company and the job/position that will receive the training. Next, the paper should discuss the process you would use for designing the training (the instructional design process). Specifically, the paper should address how the needs assessment would be conducted, your recommendations for insuring readiness for training, the choice and rationale for the training method (or combination of methods) recommended (how and why it will facilitate learning), steps you will take to insure transfer of training, and how the proposed training should be evaluated. The recommendations provided for each phase of the instructional design process should be realistic, i.e., they could actually be implemented for the job and company, and a supporting rationale provided. Also, each team should provide examples of any materials you would use for training and in support of the training program. This may include, but not be limited to, websites, videos, checklists, action plans, instructor and/or participant manuals etc. There is no length requirement for the paper.


During the presentation each team will have 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the number of teams, to share with the class an overview of the training they developed, and an executive summary of the recommended steps to insure employees’ readiness for training and transfer of training.

Team Member Evaluations

At the conclusion of the team project, you will review the participation and performance of each team member using a provided rubric.