Strategic Thinking – Short Course

I was working as an instructional designer at a large training firm, when they decided to partner with a high-profile local women’s leadership organization to promote our training and help the group expand their membership. I had about three hours to develop a 6-month proposed curriculum of 12 substantive topics, condensed from our traditional full-day courses into 75-minute facilitated luncheon sessions. The list with descriptions was sent to the client for immediate approval.

The information I’d been provided was pretty vague, except that the training be short, “facilitated” (not trained), and that the workbook should “fit in a purse.” Additionally, nothing that appeared in the workbook should appear in the facilitator’s Power Point deck, or vice versa.

After several internal meetings with a lot of generalized creative input from production, creative services and sales, I worked on building the first course which would be the prototype. When the client asked for marketing copy for courses I hadn’t designed yet, I sent basic copy to a marketing colleague who put a final “spin” on it (which, truthfully, was not very close to the original topics — but I fit the courses to match her sales copy.)

The Power Point decks began a primary tool for designing the course. Creative Services wanted a very minimal style, but I had to supply the content — so I would send them a “blueprint” indicating exactly what I wanted to appear on each slide, including the layout, icons, etc. to use. I followed a standardized three-part course and presentation, and then I designed one activity for each section and its key concept that would appear in the workbook for each luncheon table to work on as a group.

Then I was told additional materials had to be added to the workbook to promote our regular training to these potential customers. So, I redesigned the workbook to fit those–plus more last-minute additions. The end result was a very small, lightweight “keeper” workbook with participants’ own notes, phone numbers fellow learners to follow up with, and intriguing links to additional online resources. I also created a one-page briefing handout for participants who missed the last meeting catch up on the basics on key topics.

Selected Slides from “Building Your Strategic Thinking”

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