As many of you know, I have a passion for lifelong learning and the field of education. Reflecting upon 3 years of business, I continue to notice the parallels between marketing strategy and the instructional design process.
In blog I discuss the first two steps in the instructional design and it’s similarity to marketing strategy.
Step 1: Needs Assessment
According to the instructional design process, the first step with any new project is the completion of a needs assessment, which answers the question: “Why is instruction required?” Very loosely, this question begins to formulate the groundwork for developing learning goals for the project or organization. A needs assessment is used to identify gaps between actual and ideal performance and knowledge. There are, typically, four steps to the needs assessment process, including planning, data collection and analysis, and final report with recommendations.
Step 1: Needs Assessment
Before a business can move forward, it is important to understand the business’ current situation. Who are the current customers? What marketing tactics are currently implemented? How well is the current strategy working? What do you want to achieve in the coming week, month, year? Compiling this information into a document, will provide great insight into what has worked (and not worked) for this business. The next step is to research strategies and tactics for the specific company. At this point, a report is developed and presented to the client.
Step 2: Learner and Contextual Analysis
In the second step, the instructional designer begins to understand his or her learners, including learning styles, general characteristics (e.g. age), and entry characteristics (e.g. educational background). During this phase the designer gains a complete picture of the learners, and what learning environment works best for them. Understanding this information allows the designer to create curriculum that is relevant to the learner, as well as present it in a way such that it is applicable and memorable.
Step 2: Target Audience
Who is your customer? Who is your ideal customer? Answering these questions will provide great insight into a business’ customer. In addition, truthful answers to these questions will reveal the optimum marketing strategies. Not everyone consumes information and marketing in the same manner (i.e. young people use their mobile devices, while older people read newspapers). A business wants to use strategies that will work for their customers; understanding the target audience will help answer that question.
As you can see, the first two steps have similar steps. We’ll see what the next few steps have in store!
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