As Instructional Designers, our job is to design an eLearning such that learners get the information they need to meet the performance goal. It means that we need to include what they need and leave out what they don’t need. It’s our responsibility that we don’t waste their time with an information overload. But how do we handle stakeholders, who give us all the information they have and who think that all of it is “need-to-know”?
We need to make the stakeholders understand that the information that improves learners’ performance is the ‘need-to-know’ information, and that ‘nice-to-know’ information is not critical to their job performance. Also, we need to tell them that for adult learners, the information should not just INFORM them but it should allow them to PERFORM.
Most of the times, stakeholders don’t think in terms of how leaners apply this information in their jobs. One best practice of dealing with such people is to ask right questions to sort through the information. So, ask questions (adapted from Diane Elkin’s blog post Negotiating Out “Nice-to-Know” Information) that focus the their attention on on-the-job performance such as:
- Can you give me an example of when this would come up on the job?
- What would be a situation in which this would help them
- What would happen if someone DIDN’T learn this information?
Asking these questions will shift the stakeholders’ focus from information to performance and will eliminate the information which the learners don’t need, and make it more clear as to why they need it.
If you have any other ideas or techniques to convince the stakeholders, do share your thoughts.