Thursday, October 27, 2011

Instructional Design in Business & Industry

Business and industry has been using Instructional Designers (IDs) for years now to develop and design training for employees and customers, but I think that this has grown even more so, in the area of online training courses. Online training/learning is more cost effective than face-to-face (f2f) training/learning for the most part, particularly if it is designed well.

Last week we learned about Human Performance Improvement (HPI), also known as Human Performance Technology (HPT), which is becoming very prominent in the business and industry arenas. Although HPI involves many different team members from within an organization, instructional designers are obviously key to many of the solutions and interventions implemented to close the gaps in performance. 

According to Reiser and Dempsey in Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology, "instructional design today encompasses much more than simply producing instruction. The field is now associated with analyzing human performance problems, identifying root causes of those problems, considering a variety of solutions to address the root causes, and determining and implementing the appropriate solutions." (Reiser and Dempsey, 2002, 2007, 2012).

For this week's reflection assignment, we were to respond to the following:
  • What are, in your mind, two unique or interesting or different or noteworthy ways instructional design/technology has been used in business and industry that you believe could be usefully applied to your own professional work? Explain.
It doesn't seem unique, different, or particularly noteworthy to me, but maybe it's interesting in that I'm an instructional designer for a food protection training organization. We provide standardized training to food protection professionals. Currently, almost all of our training is done f2f, but are planning on offering one or more courses online very soon. With the technology we have available to us today, almost everything can be taught online. Obviously, there are some things that will always be better taught f2f, but even many of those courses will have an online component. This is probably the most interesting aspect of instructional design to me. I find it fascinating and exciting to seek out ways to transfer f2f learning to online; to take a f2f activity and figure out a way to make the same activity happen online. As a designer, my goal is to develop/design learning activities that will bring about deep learning and collaboration opportunities, will decrease the gap in performance, and develop effective food protection leaders for tomorrow.

Google Maps
The other part of our assignment for this week was to create a map using Google Maps and choose one of the following options:
  1. Come up with an idea for a lesson that would incorporate the use of a map that you would create and have your students use, or
  2. Come up with an idea for a lesson in which your students would create their own maps.
As a deliverable, we are to describe in a few paragraphs the lesson we have in mind and we are to create a map. If we chose Option 1 above, it will be a version of the map you would give your students; If we chose Option 2, it will be an example of the kind of map you'd expect your students to create.

The Lesson (Option 2)
One of the modules of one of our courses for food protection professionals is on foodborne illnesses. According to the CDC website, there have been thirteen outbreaks so far in 2011. (CDC, 2011). There are listings of outbreaks for 2006-2011 on the CDC's website and according to Wikipedia (2011), the CDC has been tracking outbreaks since the 1970s. As part of the assignment, I thought it would be great to have each student choose one of the foodborne illness breakouts listed on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): and create a map tracking the source and also the breakout. 

To get started, I decided to create a map of the Turkish Pine Nuts salmonella breakout that just happened this month: As I began to create my Google Map, I found that it was fairly easy to mark the Wegmans Food Market stores where the breakout was traced back to and stores implemented a recall, but it was more difficult to mark the places where the breakouts or illnesses happened, as the CDC only lists the incidences by state, not by city. I tried to figure out how to mark a state on Google Maps, but I couldn't figure it out and I don't even know if it's possible to mark a state vs. marking a city or specific location. Everything I read on the incidents just reported how many by state, not by specific locations. Therefore, I ended up just noting which store locations had a recall on the turkish pine nuts. Wegmans has 4 stores in Maryland, 7 in New Jersey, 24 in New York (I thought their website said 47, but when I printed the list, there were only 24 listed), 14 in Pennsylvania, and 6 in Virginia. Wegmans also has a new store in Massachusetts, but that store did not do a recall on the product, so I don't know if they don't sell it there at that store or if it was proven that none of the salmonella originated from that store. 

Another problem I ran into in creating the map is that even though I looked up the various locations, when I saved the store location to the map I was creating, it didn't save any of the location information. On a few of them the title says the location, but most of them just say Wegmans. Well, when viewing the map, it's not very helpful to just see, "Wegmans," "Wegmans," "Wegmans," etc., so in the future, I would definitely work on editing the marker at the same time I save it to the map, rather than saving them all and then trying to identify and edit them. 

There are a few other kinks in the whole process that I would need to work through prior to using it for a lesson plan such as this, but I still think the idea, overall, is great. Here's the link to the map I created of all of the Wegmans Food Markets that were part of the Turkish Pine Nut salmonella breakout and recall: Map of Wegmans Food Market Turkish Pine Nut Salmonella Breakout and Recall

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2011). Multistate Foodborne Outbreaks. Retrieved October 27, 2011, from:

Reiser, R. A. and Dempsey, J. V. (2002, 2007, 2012). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology. (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Wegmans Food Market, Inc. (2011). Wegmans store locations. Retrieved October 27, 2011, from: (Note: This link is now temporarily unavailable. Not sure what happened. Maybe they didn't like me mapping all of their locations, although I've made the map private to only those who read this posting and click on the link above.) (2011). List of foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States. Retrieved October 27, 2011, from: 

1 comment:

  1. Other outsourcing professional services also use instructional designs and businesses in their market and they really gain something from it.