Good instructional design, like all good relationship activities, starts with listening.

Too often, instructional designers begin conversations with faculty by itemizing things that must be done, or more “helpfully” by ticking off things instructional design can do for them.

But both of these approaches are problematic.  No matter how helpful I am to you, if I start the conversation with my own perspective, I frame it.  Design, like any kind of leadership activity, is best when it’s rooted in the needs of the person we are working for, not in our own needs.

Love Sign by David Robert Bliwas on Flickr.
Love Sign by David Robert Bliwas on Flickr.
It is tempting to jump right in with an offering: “Here are the great tools my office has for you!” but the tools are only “great” if they fill a need.

How do we know what the needs are?  We listen.

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