5 Myths About Instructional Design

In the last post, you learned what Instructional Design is and how it can change your course and your business. 

Now it’s time to talk about the myths (aka alternative facts--whatever floats your boat).

  • These myths keep you from changing lives.

  • They keep you from maximizing your profit.

  • They keep you stuck in worker bee mode when you should be doing CEO thangs.

So allow me to be your mythbuster...

Myth 1 - Instructional Design is only theory; it doesn’t apply to the real world

Instructional Design began during World War II when a bunch of psychologists and educators got together to create effective training materials. 

The approach was so successful that organizations outside of the military began to use the methods in their training.

In the 1970's, colleges, universities, and corporations applied Instructional Design methods to improve student performance.

Today, many corporations still use Instructional Design to improve their external and internal training.

Don't believe me? Here's 6 real-world companies that use Instructional Design: 

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Source: https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/instructional-designer-salary-SRCH_KO0,22.htm

Source: https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/instructional-designer-salary-SRCH_KO0,22.htm

Myth 2 - If your course is selling, you don’t need Instructional Design

A couple years back I bought a $1500 course from a well-known online entrepreneur.

It was a pre-sell and he ended up having a six-figure launch, so I figured the course MUST be good if everyone was buying it. 

Until I logged in... 

My first thought was, “Is this it?” Turns out I wasn’t the only one.

During a few private chats, several students shared that the course content wasn’t helpful. They admitted they were mainly there for the community and access to the course creator.

That’s when I realized that sales were not an indicator of quality or results.

Why is this a problem?

Because most course creators assume that sales indicate quality. Hogwash! Sometimes sales are the result of other factors, like marketing and authority.

And students are starting to get hip.

Students are starting to seek out alternatives to self-paced courses because they're tired of getting burned.

Which means you'll see a wave of course creators creating new programs or shutting down their courses because they don't want to fix the learning gaps. 

Focus on results and build your course right the first time, my friend. 

Myth 3 - No one knows your course content better than you

Instructional Designers are trained to work on a variety of topics.

It's kinda our superpower.

Because it’s not the topic that we focus on, it’s the goal, the learner, and the learning gap(s).

You wouldn’t expect a web designer to know everything about your business to design your site, would you? 

A good web designer focuses on your goals and develops a strategic design to get you there.

It's the same deal with Instructional Designers.

Myth 4 - Anyone who has created a course for other people is an Instructional Designer

One of my former clients fell into this trap. 

He desperately needed to unload his course creation responsibilities so he could focus on running his business. So he hired someone who had taught online courses before to join his team.

Six months later he was stressed and looking to replace his new team member.

Turns out the person he'd hired wasn't formally trained. In fact, he didn't know how to identify learning gaps or what to do about them. 

(He also didn't know how to connect Instructional Design to marketing, but that's another story...)

Don't take shortcuts. Hiring sucks. Why put yourself through it more than you have to?

Myth 5 - It’s cheaper to teach yourself Instructional Design

Okay. Theoretically, yes, you could learn ID on your own and save money up-front.

Except Instructional Design is a field, like Civil Engineering. It takes years of academic study, followed by years of real-world projects to get good at it. Here's what it will cost you to keep ID in house.

  • Keeping course creation in-house means you have to train yourself or a team member (time cost).

  • It also means that team member is pulled away from what they were originally hired for (resource cost).

  • Then there’s the opportunity cost. How much money does stepping away from sales and marketing cost your business?

Sounds like that short-term savings is pretty costly, eh? 

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