Intentional Instructional Design Drives Productivity

Effective learning occurs when training focuses on what the learner needs to know about a topic to perform the job or task well; not what the instructor wants to tell. In today’s fast-paced business world where training time comes at a cost of missed productivity, it is critical to spend time only on what the learner needs to know, no more no less.
Sounds simple, right? It is not quite as simple as it sounds. Building an effective program requires an upfront job-focused analysis and well-thought out content design focused on the work performed. If done right, your work force will perform better, think critically when it matters, and enable the success of the larger business goals as the result of effective training design. We call this Intentional Instructional Design. And we believe it is the key to effective and efficient adult learning.

Effectively teaching adults requires the following concepts to be applied during training:

Zelus integrates adult focused instructional methods to engage the learner and promote critical thinking. Immersive learning is at the core of our designs and includes role plays, simulations, practical exercises and assessments using real-life scenarios. With effective actual practice, your staff can hit the ground running.

Let’s talk about training focused on learning an application. There is an additional layer of complexity with application oriented technical training. Investigative skills are necessary to listen to the problem, translate how to find the answer in the system, and then navigate that system in the most efficient way. And if you are communicating with a customer in real time, you will need to learn to accomplish this while communicating in a friendly and empathetic manner. This is not an easy task. And it requires the ability to multi-task.

With technical, transaction-oriented training, it is imperative that the learner walk away from the session able to perform the work. It is not enough to just understand what was taught. To be productive, leaners must be able to use the system and follow the business processes to complete the work. Designing content to explain complex topics in an easy-to-absorb manner coupled with a combination of demonstration, explanation, and extensive hands on practice of real-life scenarios, role plays and games is the key to giving the operation floor-ready staff at the conclusion of training.

How do we do this?

The instructional design industry has successfully moved away from the historical pedagogical approach which was a polished brain dump of information. Current industry standards are focused on long term success by using a more learner focused approach. However, this shift has not allowed for overall improvements in the design timeline, which the customer is always looking for. In today’s rapidly changing business environment, speed is paramount. Zelus has created a proprietary methodology to respond with speed, without compromising content quality.

Our approach is unique from the very first step – Aim. We spend additional up front time gathering data to really understand the training goals and the audience. Is the goal to save money, or improve efficiency? Is the audience new employees or veterans? Do all audiences need the same training? What is the new learning and how does it change the current business processes? The time spent upfront allows us to fast-track the delivery of the remaining steps resulting in a faster speed to market of highly effective content.

We then Frame the training to meet the needs and skills levels of the learners. This will be very specific to the audience and will address how to train the concepts and how to reinforce the learning through hands-on application.

Next, we Design the content and how the content should be delivered. Engaging the learners is top of mind as we build training and determine what delivery mechanisms to employ with each topic. We use a variety of approaches including eLearning, facilitation sessions, workshops, and gaming to ensure understanding, retention, and application of the topic at hand.
And then we are ready to Deliver. Delivery at Zelus is all about engagement, and adoption. We choose delivery methods aligned to the training goals. Delivery of awareness or conceptual training is focused on retention of complex ideas and how the ideas relate to each other. Training on how to perform a task requires practice. The more complex the task, the more rigorous the hands-on practice.

Every Zelus resource is schooled in instructional design, operations, and business process reengineering. This triple threat experience coupled with our iterative and flexible approach allows us to deliver high quality content twice as fast as the industry standard. We roll up our sleeves and learn your processes, your workflows and your systems to provide training that will make your business teams shine.

Beyond process, Zelus delivers results. Zelus helps clients build a strong operational platform through process, training, and implementation expertise. For more information, contact us at or (781) 738-3145.


  1. Mary Anne Polson said:

    Well said. This is important information!

    July 6, 2017
    • Githa said:

      Keep it coming, writers, this is good stuff.

      July 22, 2017
  2. Kaylyn said:

    I really wish there were more aritcles like this on the web.

    July 22, 2017

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *