Portfolio Project

EDUC 765: Trends and Issues in Instructional Design

By: Kelly McIntyre

October 14, 2016
PROJECT PROPOSAL – MODULE 2
Project Title
Life Insurance Sales Process

Sponsoring Organization
Allstate Insurance Company – West Central Region

Allstate Insurance is an 80+ year old company that is in the business of helping customers realize their hopes
and dreams by providing the best products and services to protect them from life's uncertainties and prepare
them for the future.

Project Description
Allstate has been in the Property & Casualty business for over 80 years and has very strong brand recognition in
both auto and home insurance. However, the company has also been focused on Life Insurance since the 1950s
but has yet to develop the same brand strength and market penetration as on the P&C side of the business.
Currently, only about 4% of our current customers have a life insurance policy with us; a major competitor has
around 20% of their customers with a life insurance policy. With contract/compensation changes that will
impact both our agents and financial specialists in 2017, there will be a need for both agents and their staff to be
more knowledgeable with our life insurance products, have the ability to pivot from a P&C transaction or
conversation to life insurance, as well as know how to complete and manage the life insurance application
process.

Aim
To improve customer retention and satisfaction by enabling our sales force to meet all the insurance needs of
their clients.

Target Audience
 Licensed Sales Professionals – individuals employed by an agency owner, generally high turnover,
compensation varies by agency, all have received appropriate insurance licensing by the state (Property
& Casualty and/or Life & Health), role structure varies by agency (some are sales-only while others are
sales + customer service/retention), goals vary by agency
 Agency Owners – primary focus would be on new agents as well as those that do not partner with a
Financial Specialist, there are many variables (tenure, prior experience, agency size), all would have
both their P&C and L&H license, compensation is commission-based but with some variability
depending on agency type, all have goals tied to life insurance sales

Delivery Options
Blended – primary delivery would be face-to-face but because of geographical constraints we would also need
some instruction delivered virtually.
FRONT-END ANALYSIS: INSTRUCTIONAL NEED – MODULE 3
Instructional Need
The instructional need is two-fold: an existing performance problem and employee
growth. When it comes to Life & Retirement products, our organization has two key
measures that we track: policies sold and production credit. At this point in the year, we
are only at 83% and 84% to plan respectively, and only 29% of our agencies are on pace
to hit their Life & Retirement bonus. As I look further at the data and see that only about
6% of our households have a Life & Retirement product, this means that our agencies
(made up of both agents and their staff) are not consistently offering or writing Life &
Retirement products.

One of the underlying causes of this lack of production is the fact that a majority of our
agents and staff do not have solid foundational knowledge of key life & retirement
products, which makes them hesitant to discuss (or even bring this need up) with the
client. Second, agents and staff also are not comfortable with conducting a client needs
analysis and using the available illustration platform to propose solutions for the client.
Third, unlike quoting Property & Casualty products, agents and staff are also not
comfortable with the process for quoting a life application. Lastly, agencies do not have
consistent processes established in their agencies to generate life/retirement leads.

By addressing these gaps, we would not only be correcting an existing performance
problem but we would also be aiming to enable agent and staff development so that
they can continue to positively impact the growth of the region and company as a whole.
The challenge lies in the fact that our agents are not employees but independent
contractors and their staff have no direct tie to the company, since they are employed
directly by the agent.
FRONT-END ANALYSIS: LEARNER CHARACTERISTICS – MODULE 3
Learner Analysis

Primary Audience
 L&H Licensed Sales Professional (agency staff)
 Agency Owner

Secondary Audience
 Unlicensed Sales Professional (agency staff)

General Learner Characteristics
 Age range: 18-65
o Age trend for agents: mid-30’s and above
o Age trend for staff: 18-50s
 Gender: Male and Female (I don’t have actual statistics)
 Insurance License:
o Agents: 100% have P&C and L&H licensed
o Staff: 37% have L&H license
 Ethnicity: Primarily Caucasian, African-American, Asian-American (Korean,
Chinese and Japanese, Indian), and Hispanic
 Work Experience varies: A few weeks – 25+ years
o Little-to-no insurance industry experience
o Prior sales experience but not in insurance
o Prior insurance experience but with other companies or non-sales role
o Prior business ownership
 Education varies
o Agents – majority have post-secondary education, up through a Master’s
o Staff – high school only or maybe Associates/Bachelor’s
o Small percentage of agents/staff have English as a Second Language
 Familiarity with technology also varies – novice to expert

Entry Characteristics
 Personal attitude/value regarding life insurance as a product
 Level of familiarity with Life Sales Central and App Online (case illustration and
quoting platform respectively)
 Level of comfort using life insurance conversation starters (transitioning from
Property & Casualty) and overcoming client objections

Contextual Analysis

Orienting Context
 What goals do the learners have for taking or attending this course or instruction?
o Agents view this as a way to impact their bottom line: help them achieve
their bonus which in turn increases their cash flow, as well as impacting their
overall customer retention. In addition, by being able to more consistently
write this business, it allows them live into being a Trusted Advisor for their
clients and avoid “what if” conversations down the road if they didn’t offer
this product to a client
o From a staff’s perspective: contribute to overall agency success by helping
the agency hit their goals, make more money/commission, build stronger
relationships with clients
 What is the learners’ perceived utility of the instruction?
o Valuable if the training is hands-on and not just a download of information.
They are looking for realistic scenarios and actual putting into practice what
is taught.
 What is the learners’ perception of accountability?
o Needs to be a post-training goal / promotion tied to the desired behavior
change
 What are the learners’ potential misconceptions towards the subject of the
instruction?
o Training will be repetition of content they’ve already learned/been exposed to

Instructional Context
 Scheduling considerations: large geography that covers 9 states, with winter being
a challenge in all of them; we would be taking both agents and staff away from the
agency during business hours which will impact production numbers;
classroom/meeting space is limited at our two regional offices (one in KS and one
in CO) so we would need to be able to book space off-site or conduct all or part of
the training virtually for remote markets
 Lighting considerations: if training is conducted at regional offices, we can control
the lighting in the classroom environment, but if we held training off-site it would
depend on the selected location
 Noise considerations: the noise level inside our regional offices isn’t a concern, but
the occasional maintenance work that goes on inside/outside the buildings can be
distracting and isn’t something we can control
 Temperature considerations: temperature cannot be controlled from within the
classrooms, maintenance must adjust
 Seating considerations: we have various classroom/meeting setups that can be
adjusted according to need at our regional offices; a little less flexibility if held off-
site
 Accommodations: we have discounted rates with a local hotel chain at both
regional locations and both locations have a large lunch room where learners could
eat lunch on-site. Both locations also have an abundance of local area restaurant
and activities.
 Equipment: both regional locations have computer labs and ceiling-mounted
projectors; if held off-site, it would be necessary for learners to bring their own
laptops (not all agents/staff use laptops) as we would only be able to provide a few
loaners as long as no other training was occurring at the same time
 Transportation – both regional locations are easily accessible but both have
security checkpoints that agents/staff must have guest badges to pass;
transportation to and from the facility would fall on the learner
Technology Inventory
 What technologies do your learners have access to?
o Desktops
o Laptops
o Tablets
o Phones
o WebEx
o Internet and Company Intranet Sites

Transfer Context
 Training will include a number of real-life situations/examples that agents/staff
encounter daily so that they are able to apply the skills and knowledge in a
safe/controlled environment, which will enable them to transfer what they acquired
in training back in the real world.
 Support will be needed from sales leaders, market educators and agents (for their
staff that attend training) to reinforce what was learned in training. Ideally, we
would also create individual cohorts that meet regularly virtually to discuss
ongoing challenges and commend both individual and group successes.
INSTRUCTIONAL IMPACT BASED UPON LEARNER CHARACTERISTICS
Application of Learning Theories
 Set the stage for the learners by tying the content and reason for the course to
agency and/or staff goals, as well as how this course can strengthen customer
relationships. I would also make this course eligible for continuing education
credit.
 Incorporate role playing activities so that participants get comfortable having the
life insurance conversation (how to transition, the type language to use, etc.). I
would conduct this activity in a group setting to allow for peer feedback, and make
sure that the group consists of experts and novices. I would also build on the role
playing and as them to practice with 3-5 customers back in the office as homework
and submit a self-evaluation as to how the conversations went.
 Build real-life case studies for the participants to conduct a life insurance needs
analysis and propose possible solutions. I would have enough case studies to allow
participants to start by working on one or two as group and then do one or two on
their own, followed by a group de-brief session. To build on this in-class activity, I
would ask that they conduct a needs analysis and proposal on themselves and 3 of
the customers that they have had an introductory conversation with about life
insurance. They would need to bring these to class for group discussion.
 Using the case studies, I would also have them complete the life insurance
application process in the actual website’s learning environment. Following
completion of the actual course, I would require that they complete one life
application minimum and submit to lead instructor in order to receive the
continuing education credit.

Application of Motivational Theories
Participants will be adults that have diverse backgrounds and experiences. In designing
the course, I would want to
 Leverage those learners who are already interested in the topic and want to
master the content/process (“deep learners” as identified by Vanderbilt's Center for
Teaching). Some of these individuals may already by “experts” in this process and I would want to use
their expertise in the classroom.
 Build an assessment around life insurance products that test students’ mastery of
the content to avoid participants simply memorizing to pass a quiz (“strategic
learners” as identified by Vanderbilt's Center for Teaching). Also by building content that is
situational in nature, they will need to further demonstrate their mastery of content in the role plays,
case studies and group presentations.
 Scaffold the course material and break it down into smaller segments to help those
who are novices or simply afraid of the subject (“surface learners” as identified by
Vanderbilt's Center for Teaching). Instead of an all-day course, I would try and break it out over 2-3
weeks so that students have the opportunity to practice the skills/knowledge in the real world and come
back to class with questions while also gaining experience. The content would be designed and taught
in a way so that each activity builds off the previous one and it would mirror the life insurance sales
process.
 Level-set expectations at the beginning of the course
o What are the students hoping to get out of it?
o Why is this course important (to them, their agency, Allstate, the customer)?
Impact of a Diverse Audience on Instruction
 We do have a diverse agent and staff population, therefore language for some
could be a potential barrier, particularly when it comes to understanding the life
insurance products. We would need to make sure the learners have a solid
understanding of the key product content before proceeding to other material.
 We also have cultural/ethnic ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) that could be
leveraged to identify unique cultural characteristics of a particular group, as well
as how the culture views life insurance (which could be incorporated into the
content when agents and staff are working with culturally and ethnically diverse
clients (real-world connection).
TASK/GOAL/PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS – MODULE 5
Task Analysis Method
The task analysis method that I have chosen to use is the Critical Incident Method. My reason for selecting this
method is because this project is focused on the life insurance sales process, and as the textbook indicates,
success or mastery of this type of process is often tied the breadth of skills and techniques employed. There are
so many variables that exist in a sales process that I would want to account for multiple points of view – it’s not
a one-size fits all process. However, I believe that I would also need to incorporate Procedural Analysis in some
aspects of the process, because there are elements within the life insurance sales process that are very
linear/structured tasks that need to be accomplished.

Task Analysis
I would start by identifying SMEs amongst our Financial Specialists, Agency Owners and Licensed Sales
Professionals that I could interview to help inform my analysis. I would start by using the two questions
suggested by Primhoff (1973), and incorporate additional questions to identify key topics/tasks the learner will
need to master:
 Identify three instances when the SME was successful in completing the life insurance sales process (i.e.
a life insurance policy was purchased, issued and delivered to the customer)
 Identify three instances when the SME wasn’t successful in completing the life insurance sales process
(i.e. the sale wasn’t closed, or the policy got held up in underwriting and wasn’t actually issued)
 Additional questions to ask if they don’t come up during the interview:
o Conditions?
1. Where did you meet the client?
2. How was the appointment set?
3. Who was involved?
4. What tools/resources did you use to conduct the life insurance needs analysis with the
client? Propose solutions?
5. What, if any, preparation did you do ahead of the client meeting?
6. How much time was required?
o What did you do?
1. What did you say to the client?
2. How did you start the appointment?
3. What were you thinking?
4. What did you do following the appointment?
5. What type of expectations did you set with the client (for follow-up, next steps)?
o How did this incident help you reach or prevent you from accomplishing your goal?

Goal Analysis Tool & Template

INSTRUCTIONAL NEED/AIM
The instructional need is two-fold: an existing performance problem and employee
growth. When it comes to Life & Retirement products, our organization has two key
measures that we track: policies sold and production credit. At this point in the year, we
are only at 83% and 84% to plan respectively, and only 29% of our agencies are on pace
to hit their Life & Retirement bonus. As I look further at the data and see that only about
6% of our households have a Life & Retirement product, this means that our agencies
(made up of both agents and their staff) are not consistently offering or writing Life &
Retirement products.
One of the underlying causes of this lack of production is the fact that a majority of our
agents and staff do not have solid foundational knowledge of key life & retirement
products, which makes them hesitant to discuss (or even bring this need up) with the
client. Second, agents and staff also are not comfortable with conducting a client needs
analysis and using the available illustration platform to propose solutions for the client.
Third, unlike quoting Property & Casualty products, agents and staff are also not
comfortable with the process for quoting a life application. Lastly, agencies do not have
consistent processes established in their agencies to generate life/retirement leads.
By addressing these gaps, we would not only be correcting an existing performance
problem but we would also be aiming to enable agent and staff development so that
they can continue to positively impact the growth of the region and company as a whole.
The challenge lies in the fact that our agents are not employees but independent
contractors and their staff have no direct tie to the company, since they are employed
directly by the agent.

GOAL ANALYSIS
Step 1 - Write down the goals.
Original goals:
Learners are able to conduct a thorough life insurance needs analysis, develop a
solutions-based proposal, complete the online life insurance application and monitor the
application through the underwriting process.
Step 2 - Write down everything a learner would have to say or do for you to
agree that the learner has achieved the goal. This is not a list of what you will
need to do as the instructional designer or teacher.
After taking this course, I feel more confident in talking with clients about life insurance.
The material covered was relevant to my job.
The instructor was engaging and made the content easy to understand.
I now have a better understanding of how to conduct a life insurance needs analysis.
I feel better educated on the different types of life insurance options.
I feel better prepared to propose solutions with clients.
I am confident in my ability to complete the life insurance application online.
I better understand the life insurance underwriting process.
I now have a strategy on how to incorporate life insurance into my everyday
conversations with customers.
The pace of the course was sufficient.
I will be able to apply what I learned in the course to my actual job.
I know where to find additional resources/tools to assist me when I’m back in the agency.
The instructor was knowledgeable about the material.
The instructor used real-world examples to make the material come to life.
The delivery method was appropriate for the material.
I feel empowered after this course.
The amount of material covered was just right.
The amount of learner participation through discussion and sharing helped me better
retain the key concepts.
I feel I am better able to hit my goals.
I know how to overcome common objections from customers.
I am comfortable with transitioning from an auto or home sale to the life insurance
conversation.
Feedback: I am not familiar with the insurance sales process, but should there be
sections about how agents introduce the life insurance topic with clients and then handle
any objections or questions when trying to close the sale? The rest of these look great.

Step 3 - Sort the items Listed in step 2.
Content
The material covered was relevant to my job.
I now have a better understanding of how to conduct a life insurance needs analysis.
I feel better educated on the different types of life insurance options.
I feel better prepared to propose solutions with clients.
I am confident in my ability to complete the life insurance application online.
I better understand the life insurance underwriting process.
The amount of material covered was just right.
I know where to find additional resources/tools to assist me when I’m back in the agency.
After taking this course, I feel more confident in talking with clients about life insurance.
I feel empowered after this course.
I know how to overcome common objections from customers.
I am comfortable with transitioning from an auto or home sale to the life insurance
conversation.

Delivery
The delivery method was appropriate for the material.
The pace of the course was sufficient.
The instructor was engaging and made the content easy to understand.
The instructor was knowledgeable about the material.
The instructor used real-world examples to make the material come to life.
The amount of learner participation through discussion and sharing helped me better
retain the key concepts.

Relevancy
I will be able to apply what I learned in the course to my actual job.
I feel I am better able to hit my goals.
I will be able to apply what I learned in the course to my actual job.
I now have a strategy on how to incorporate life insurance into my everyday
conversations with customers.

Feedback: I think the delivery section is really well laid out. The examples and
participation are great for the transfer of learning.

Step 4 - Write a complete sentence to describe each of the items on your final
list.
Content: Participants will gain a solid understanding of the entire life
insurance sales process, starting with how to effectively conduct a needs
analysis, propose solutions, complete the application and how to monitor the
application through the underwriting process.
The material covered was relevant to my job.
I now have a better understanding of how to conduct a life insurance needs analysis.
I feel better educated on the different types of life insurance options.
I feel better prepared to propose solutions with clients.
I am confident in my ability to complete the life insurance application online.
I better understand the life insurance underwriting process.
The amount of material covered was just right.
I know where to find additional resources/tools to assist me when I’m back in the agency.
After taking this course, I feel more confident in talking with clients about life insurance.
I feel empowered after this course.
I know how to overcome common objections from customers.
I am comfortable with transitioning from an auto or home sale to the life insurance
conversation.

Delivery: Participants will gain a better grasp of the material through the use
of real-world examples and case studies, as well as engaging discussions/role-
plays and individual assignments.
The delivery method was appropriate for the material.
The pace of the course was sufficient.
The instructor was engaging and made the content easy to understand.
The instructor was knowledgeable about the material.
The instructor used real-world examples to make the material come to life.
The amount of learner participation through discussion and sharing helped me better
retain the key concepts.

Relevancy: Upon returning to the agency, participants will be able to apply
the key concepts to real-world conversations with clients to help them meet
individual and agency goals.
I will be able to apply what I learned in the course to my actual job.
I feel I am better able to hit my goals.
I will be able to apply what I learned in the course to my actual job.
I now have a strategy on how to incorporate life insurance into my everyday
conversations with customers.

Feedback: In your instructional need at the top, you mention that staff members are
employed by the independent agents. Should training include some component for
transferring some of this information to staff members, perhaps to garner interest in
having an agent contact them for a needs analysis? Is the training conducted in a
classroom? The learners will include both staff & agents. Training is conducted in a
classroom setting.

GOAL
The goal of this course is for learners to conduct an effective and thorough life insurance
needs analysis with a client so that they can propose appropriate solutions, which will
allow greater opportunity to close the sale and get the policy issued and have a positive
impact on their individual and agency goals.

Feedback: I think that your goal lays out the appropriate steps, but I was confused about
the term “meaningful” in relation to proposing solutions.

OBJECTIVES DS ON HOW BIG YOUR GOAL IS.
Terminal Objective: By the end of the course, the learner will be able to conduct an
effective life insurance needs analysis.

Enabling Objectives:
1. The learner will be able to identify key life insurance transition
opportunities/triggers (cognitive)
2. The learner will be able to name the various needs analysis methods and articulate
the differences/similarities (cognitive)
3. The learner will be able to enter the client-generated information into their
preferred needs analysis tool and calculate the amount of life insurance need
(psychomotor)
4. The learner will be able to list the key questions they need to ask in order to
complete the needs analysis (cognitive)
5. By using a case study, the learner will be able to complete a needs analysis and
compare their result with a group of 3 other students to gain a consensus on the
need.

Feedback: This is definitely on the right track. Will the other terminal objectives
involve proposing solutions and closing the sale? In #3, is part of this generating the
value of the insurance for the client as part of the need (could also be part of
proposing solutions)? Are there criteria for measuring if the needs analysis is
effective?

Terminal Objective: Provided a case study, the learner will select a life insurance
solution to meet the needs of the customer and present their decision and reason for
their proposed solution to the class.

Terminal Objective: Without references, the learner will be able to recall (write) how
they will handle 5 different customer objections.

Terminal Objective: By role playing with the instructor, the leaner will verbally explain
the difference between three key life insurance products (universal, term and whole).

Terminal Objective: Without references, the learner will be able to recall (list) the
sequential steps in the life underwriting process.
INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVES – MODULE 5
[Goals, Terminal Objectives, and Enabling Objectives – Check Rubric & Don’t forget to
map the domains and level of Bloom’s Taxonomy with the objectives]

Project (Instructional) Goal
The goal of this course is for learners to conduct an effective and thorough life insurance
needs analysis with a client so that they can propose appropriate solutions, which will
allow greater opportunity to close the sale and get the policy issued and have a positive
impact on their individual and agency goals.

Terminal Objectives and Enabling Objectives

 By the end of the course, the learner will be able to conduct an effective life
insurance needs analysis. – Cognitive/Psychomotor
o The learner will be able to identify key life insurance transition
opportunities/triggers
o The learner will be able to name the various needs analysis methods and
articulate the differences/similarities
o The learner will be able to enter the client-generated information into their
preferred needs analysis tool and calculate the amount of life insurance need
o The learner will be able to list the key questions they need to ask in order to
complete the needs analysis
o By using a case study, the learner will be able to complete a needs analysis
and compare their result with a group of 3 other students to gain a
consensus on the amount of life insurance needed.

 Provided a case study, the learner will select a life insurance solution to meet the
needs of the customer and present their decision and reason for their proposed
solution to the class. – Cognitive/affective?
o The learner will analyze the case study and use the information to complete
a needs analysis
o Using the “Know Your Product” tool, the learner will input the client data for
product recommendations based on what the client wants life insurance for
o The learner will select the best product mix and complete a life insurance
illustration using Life Sales Central

 Without references, the learner will be able to recall (write) how they will handle 5
different customer objections and use them during role play validation. - Cognitive

 Through role playing with the instructor, the leaner will verbally explain the
difference between three key life insurance products (universal, term and whole). –
Cognitive

 Without references, the learner will be able to recall (list) the sequential steps in
the life underwriting process. - Cognitive

ENABLING OBJECTIVES MATRIX & SUPPORTING CONTENT – MODULE 6
Module 6, Activity 2
1. Select one terminal objective to develop.
2. List your enabling objectives in sequential order.
3. Select a pre-instructional strategy for the unit/module.
4. Complete the row for each enabling objective.

Title of the unit/module: Conducting an Effective Life Insurance Needs Analysis

Brief description of target audience: The target audience will consist of both Agency
Owners and Licensed Sales Professionals that already have their L&H license and binding
authority with Allstate.

List Terminal Objective Here: By the end of the course, the learner will be able to
conduct an effective life insurance needs analysis.

List Pre-instructional Strategy: Behavioral Objectives

Enabling Objective Level on Learner Activity (What Delivery Method
Bloom’s would learners do to (Group
Taxonomy master this objective?) presentation/lecture,
self-paced, or small
group)
The learner will be Comprehensio Brainstorm ideas in Small group sharing
able to identify key n/ small groups, role play with presentation to
life insurance Understandin conversations larger group, small
transition g group role play
opportunities/ (customer, agent and
triggers during a P&C observer)
conversation
The learner will be Knowledge/ Research/read up on the Individual activity
able to name the Remembering various methods
various needs available using
analysis methods and resources provided in
articulate the class
differences and
similarities
The leaner will be Comprehensio Role play activity with Small group activity
able to list the key n/ partner to practice
questions they need Understandin gathering the
to ask in order to g information needed
complete the needs
analysis
The learner will be Manipulation Enter information and Mini-lecture (instructor
able to enter the calculate life insurance demonstrates),
client generated need on self, followed by Individual activity, small
information into their same activity but based group activity
preferred needs- on role play activity with
analysis tool and partner
calculate the amount
of life insurance
needed
Enabling Objective Level on Learner Activity (What Delivery Method
Bloom’s would learners do to (Group
Taxonomy master this objective?) presentation/lecture,
self-paced, or small
group)
By using a case Applying Read through case study Individual activity, small
study, the learner will and determine life group sharing
be able to complete a insurance need, share
needs analysis and with small group
compare their result
with a group of 3
other students to
gain a consensus on
the amount of life
insurance needed
REFERENCES
FINAL PROJECT RUBRIC
The portfolio project was an eye-opening experience for me because of the limited
exposure that I’ve had to instructional design concepts. I’m glad that I actually tackled a
real-world situation that might actually be useful to my organization, however, I’m still
uncertain if the scope of the project was too broad. However, if the content is broken
down into smaller, more manageable modules, then I think it would work for the
organization.

When I reflect back on the beginning of the project and revisit the front-end analysis, I
would actually like more time to address the instructional need and conduct a more
thorough learner analysis. This was one area that challenged me because in my current
organization our education/training is often approached from a top-down perspective
where a need gets identified by senior leadership and our team is then told to develop
the content to address the need. I honestly don’t think the question of whether it’s an
actual training need is ever addressed, at least in many instances. One of the drawbacks
I’ve realized along the way is that this project really just reflects my voice and I think one
of the biggest opportunities to make this a strong project proposal for my organization
would be to work with a few other key individuals and SMEs. Understanding learner
characteristics plays such a critical role in the overall design of any project and I know
that previously I have had a tendency to not always keep the end user top of mind. This
project has really taught me that you need always be thinking about learner
characteristics and how much they impact the design, especially with the diversity of the
audience this project is intending to address (both in terms of age, experience, and
knowledge).

Up to this point in my role, my responsibilities have revolved around content
development and facilitation. An “ah-hah” moment occurred during the learning theory
phase of the project as a lot of the material that I’ve worked on has inherently
incorporated adult learning principles without me realizing it. I recognize the fact that I
need to gain a better understanding of adult learning theories as well as some of the
other learning theories identified during the teach-back activity in order to make sure
that the workshops and material that I have a hand in creating actually live into those
principles. At first I was a little overwhelmed by the number of theories, but I strongly
subscribe to the key principles proposed by:
 Adult Learning Theory (P. Cross)
 Andragogy (Malcom Knowles)
 Experiential Learning (C. Rogers)
 Social Learning Theory (Albert Bandura)

Adults present unique learning and motivational challenges and I’ve witnessed these
challenges over and over again in my current role while facilitating new agent education.
I have strived to modify course content and training materials to better enable learning
for the training I’m currently responsible, but this project has made me realize how
critical it is to understand and incorporate various learning theories from the beginning
of the design process. My reasons for subscribing to these learning theories are varied
but I have seen first-hand how critical it is to leverage the experience of adult learners
throughout training to maintain their engagement. I have also seen the glazed over
looks of students when it’s they’re subjected to rote-memorization/a download of
information versus activities that have been constructed in the context of real world
situations to make the material easier to grasp. I’m optimistic that by increasing my
awareness of these learning theories, I will be better able to design courses that enable
our students to be successful, thus achieving the objectives set forth.

Closely linked to learning theories is motivation and I was a little less familiar with the
various motivational theories. However, after reading through the available readings, I
was most drawn to Keller’s ARCS theory of Attention, Relevance, Confidence and
Satisfaction because I feel that it addresses all the necessary components of getting
people to do what you want them to do. When it came to designing the materials and
activities for this project, I really tried to keep Keller’s theory top of mind to make sure
that the material would arouse learner interest, be relevant and applicable to the
learners’ situation but also structured in such a way that we build upon the small
successes to build learner confidence. One area of concern I have is making sure that
the level of difficulty is appropriate because I have seen classes where you go “as slow
as the slowest learner” and all of the more experienced and/or knowledge students
disengage from class because it’s too remedial. Finding the right balance of difficulty is
essential, which is why the technique of scaffolding is an element that I would want to
further incorporate as I build out more of the content. I’ve had a hard time visualizing
the project as a whole since we’ve tackled smaller segments, but I think story-boarding
or outlining the entire project once all the objectives have been built out would be very
helpful.

I’m so grateful that I’ve been given the opportunity to pursue this Instructional Design
certificate as it has made me aware of how critical the instructional design process can
be to success or failure of training. I have had little exposure to this field and everything
that I’ve done up to this point has basically been self-taught or learned through trial and
error. What’s ironic is that the timing of this course aligns with an organization initiative;
our corporate office has launched an online employee community (basically an internal
Facebook) centered on Training Design & Facilitation. Not only has this course introduced
me to a wealth of information, resources and contacts but I now also have the same type
of support within my organization. I’ll be interested to peruse the information and
material that they’ve posted on this community to see how it aligns with the overall
instructional design process; at first glance, it appears to align very well even if they are
using the most generic of instructional design models - ADDIE.

For me, the most interesting aspects of this particular course was learning about the
various learning and motivational theories. I feel that I’ve just scratched the surface and
I want to spend time learning more about these theories so that I have a solid
understanding about their key principles and how to best incorporate them into the
design process. I would also love to adopt the activity we did around researching two
theories with my co-workers so that as a team, we understand which theories each of us
subscribe to. The most critical learnings from this course, for me, were around the areas
which I don’t have a lot of experience with and ones that are either currently not done or
are done as an afterthought when we create our own regional education:
 Needs Analysis
 Task Analysis
 Creating Learning Objectives and breaking them down into enabling objectives
These are the areas that I hope to take back to my team and impart how crucial they are
when designing training. Most of the time we are tasked with creating a training
program “just in time” and we never really go through the appropriate design steps. It
will be a challenge because even with my team’s willingness to adopt an instructional
design process, it will also require a culture shift on the part of our regional leadership,
which may prove challenging. I hope to be given an opportunity to work on some special
training projects that will give me the chance to put into practice what I’ve learned so
far; once this ePortfolio project is complete I do plan on sharing it with my supervisors to
show them what this process looks like from start to finish.

While I’ve learned a lot so far, I’m still a little overwhelmed with how much there is yet to
learn as well as how to incorporate this into my daily work life, especially since I have
facilitation responsibilities that take up a lot of my time. I’d still like to learn more about
how to structure objectives appropriately because that was a very challenging module
for me. In addition, I want to learn more about the evaluation process as well as
content/material design elements.

Because we’ve covered so much content, I’ve created a notebook where I’ve saved a lot
of the online readings that were used throughout this course so that I can easily access
the information in the future. I also plan on creating an ID library, starting with the
textbooks that I’ve purchased but adding to it as I come across other useful books,
articles, etc. Another tool in my toolbox is the UWStout LinkedIn group as well as a few
other ID-focused online forums, newsletters and groups so that I can stay current on
what’s happening in the instructional design field. I’m genuinely excited about what
future opportunities lie ahead once I’ve completed this certificate program.