Q&A: What if I have no control over design?

In a recent webinar, Judy Z asked, “What about those of us who have no control in the design of the class?”

Judy, unfortunately there are always limits imposed in most organizations…and you have to pick your battles.

It’s a bit simplistic, but I suggest drawing a line down the middle of a piece of paper, labeling one column “some will” and the other “some won’t.”

Sometimes others in the organization are open to evidence about how design can positively (or negatively) affect attention, cognition, and retention of learners.

And sometimes they don’t want to know, don’t want to change, or don’t care enough to want to know or change.

It’s a “company politics” thought, but you might benefit from identifying peers in the “some will” category and begin sharing with them the evidence and examples that support the case for design as a key component in how your learners learn.

One or two things will happen.

First, at very least you will get clearer and stronger in your own conviction.  You may not affect the change you want entirely, but you will find ways to apply what you’ve learned.

Two, you may succeed, even slowly, in improving what comes from the instructional designers or whomever is giving you the material.  And everybody wins!

1 Comment

  1. Laura Foley

    Any time you’re trying to convince somebody to make a design change you believe will benefit them, you need to let them know in terms they understand why such a change is important. It’s like writing ad copy. You don’t win customers by telling them that the product is better, cheaper, or more valuable than the competitions’, you tell them how it will solve their problems.

    So to help the higher-ups to understand how good design will ultimately help them, you might approach it from a cost/benefit standpoint. If they allow you redesign the slides (they don’t have to hire a designer = cost savings) to make their messages more clear (people in the audience don’t have to decipher busy slides and understand key points more quickly = time savings), then they could be influencing more people with their presentations (= making more money).

    Be a problem solver and show everyone how good design will make stronger presentations!

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