Scoping a Learning Solution – Art or Science? Part 2

Part 2 – Instructional Strategy

This is the second part of our blog, Scoping a Learning Solution – Art or Science?. If you have not read “Part 1 – Estimating Duration” yet, please do so before reading this blog. Part 1 provides an overview of the entire scoping process.

Choose Instructional Strategies

The second step in scoping the learning solution is to choose the instructional strategy/ies you want to use. If you want to develop self-directed e-learning it is going to take more time and effort than it would to develop a traditional instructor-led program. One of the challenges we found with this step was people did not use the same names for the different strategies and did not define the strategies in the same way. This led us to come up with our Instructional Strategy Framework which provides structure and easily understood labels to the process of selecting the best strategy for your situation.
The framework has four pairs of parameters that can be combined to give clarity to the instructional strategy.

1. Target LearnersIndividual
2. Instructional SupportFacilitated
3. Delivery LocationLocal
4. Delivery TimingSynchronous

1. Target Learners

The first decision when selecting a strategy is to consider the target learners. Is the learning solution to support individual learners or groups of learners? The main consequence of this decision is defining what instructional activities are possible. If the program is for groups of leaners, then it can include such activities as discussions, small-group exercises and peer reviews.

2. Instructional Support

The second decision considers whether the design will include the use of a facilitator or not. The decision to not use a facilitator will require more development effort to produce materials that provide all the directions, guidance and feedback the learners will require given no facilitator is available to them.

3. Delivery Location

The third decision is the anticipated location of the learners. Will all the learners be in the same location as the other learners and the facilitator? If the learners are remote from each other and the facilitator, and you want the program to include some group activities, then you will need to use a suitable technology to deliver the program to remote locations in such a way as to allow for these group activities.

4. Delivery Timing

The final decision is the timing of the delivery of the program. Will the learners interact with the learning content at the same time (synchronously) or can individuals access the learning at any time (asynchronously)? This decision has impact on the scope because it will require the development of different resources to support asynchronous versus synchronous delivery.

Strategy Choices

Armed with a set of decisions for the four parameters it is easier to select the instructional strategies that are best for the learning need. FKA has defined six basic instructional strategies.

  • Leader-Led
  • Self-Directed Learning (paper-based)
  • E-Learning
  • One-the-Job Training
  • Self Instruction
  • Stand Alone Job Aids

Below are the four most common instructional strategies with the parameters they align with. Your organization may use different names but the four parameters let you confirm precisely how the content will be delivered.


Leader-Led (LL) (also referred to as ‘Instructor-Led Training’ or ‘ILT’) is the instructional strategy with which we are most familiar. The majority of our formal education, and many adult learning programs we have attended have been face-to-face leader-led. The degree of interactivity can vary widely. In classic university lectures, communication is virtually all one-way, with no time for application or feedback – just lots of presentation. However, leader-led can be designed with two-way communication and a variety of opportunities to apply the new skills and knowledge and receive feedback.


e-Learning (also referred to as ‘Online Learning’) uses Internet and intranet technologies to create, deliver and distribute a broad array of learning solutions (information, instruction and tools) to enhance knowledge and performance.




These are sometimes called CBT or WBT.


This takes place in virtual classroom.


On-the-Job Training (OJT) occurs wholly or partly at the actual job site. A supervisor or coach delivers and monitors the learning – demonstrating new skills, observing performance and giving feedback as required. True on-the-job training (unlike the casual arrangement, where one employee “shows the new guy the ropes”) is highly structured and comes complete with supervisor and learner guides, and a series of planned practice/application sessions ending in a formal performance test.



Stand alone Job Aids replace the need for formal presentation in which case they can be considered an instructional strategy. Job Aids are easily read and understood tools that guide performance of an ability.


Part 3 of this series will present some design and development ratios that you can use once you have selected your instructional strategy/ies.

Jim Sweezie
VP Research and Product Development