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Collaborate with clients on designs

"What is the purpose of a design session, and how should it be run?"

"How is learning content typically sourced?"

"What instructional methods should designers recommend?"

"How should design decisions be documented?"

"What are best practices for collecting client feedback on designs?"

Working as coaches and consultants, designers facilitate working sessions with project teams to reach consensus around key design decisions. In these design sessions, they will identify how the content will be sources, discuss what instructional methods will be used, estimate the duration of the learning experience, and more. Then, designers record these decisions in their design documents which are presented to key project decision makers for review, feedback, and approval.

Through this lesson, you should be able to collaborate with clients to create designs.

What is the purpose of a design session, and how should it be run?

The purpose of a design session is to come to consensus among project team members (e.g. stakeholders, subject matter experts, developers, designers) on key decisions that drive the development of a learning product or program–such as the program structure, sources of content, instructional and assessment strategies, media treatments, technology requirements, and more.

Design sessions can be conducted in-person (using a whiteboard) or virtually (using a free tool like Miro). To run the session, designers should:

  • Explain the purpose of the session (e.g. “Today we’re going to reach consensus on key design decisions including XYZ.”)

  • Set expectations (e.g. “Everyone is expected to participate and share ideas. This is a chance to brainstorm openly and get all ideas on the table.”)

  • Present the medium for sharing and organizing ideas (e.g. whiteboard, Miro board)

  • Ask targeted questions and seek clarification, recognize and validate ideas, confirm assumptions, and identify risks

  • Steer the discussion towards consensus (reigning in discussions when they veer away from the goals of the session)

How is learning content typically sourced?

As part of design session discussions, it is important to identify where the course or program content is coming from. For instance, will it be provided by subject matter experts and, if so, how? Will the content come from public sources, proprietary documentation owned by the organization, or external resources that require copyright agreements?

What instructional methods should designers recommend?

When discussing instructional methods, keep in mind the Bloom's level of the learning objectives that have been defined. Below are a few examples of methods that align with specific Bloom’s levels–and by no means is this an exhaustive list. Learning is both an art and a science and designers are often challenged to lean into their creativity to create unique and meaningful methods for the learners they serve.

Scroll through the carousel to review sample instructional methods for each Bloom’s level:

How should design decisions be documented?

Design decisions are typically documented in Word and Google documents, although PowerPoint presentations may also suffice. As discussed in the Create a detailed design lesson, designs often include the purpose, instructional strategy, audience, duration, prerequisites, source content, media, deliverables, learning objectives, content outline, and assessment strategy.

Review the detailed design template below and modify it to meet the needs of your projects:

Detailed Design Template
Download DOCX • 21KB

What are best practices for collecting client feedback on designs?

There are multiple methods for collecting feedback on design documents from stakeholders, subject matter experts, and other designated reviewers (e.g. regulatory or legal teams), but the most common options include sharing documents so reviewers can conduct self-paced reviews (e.g. using Word/Google track changes) or scheduling meetings where reviewers provide audible feedback that is recorded by the design team.

Consider the following best practices for collecting client feedback:

Airport training: a learning project case study

Amir and Kristine have been designing an eLearning course to help airport staff recognize and report signs of human trafficking. After Amir conducted analysis, Kristine started working with the client on a detailed design. She wrote the learning audience description and objectives, as well as identified eLearning as the learning modality. Next, she led a design session with subject matter experts to sequence the content, select instructional methods, and estimate timing.

Take a look at her completed detailed design below:

Recognize and Report Human Trafficking Detailed Design
Download DOCX • 22KB

Summary and next steps

The design of learning experiences is a collaborative effort among all team members, and it is the designer’s responsibility to coach teams to reach consensus, make sound instructional decisions, and present those decisions via design documents to key decision makers.

Now that you are familiar with how to collaborate with clients to create designs, continue to the next lesson in LXD Factory’s Design series: Prototype, test and refine learning designs.


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