Content without design is just stuff!

stuff-need-moreWhat an amazing reminder from Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute that content without strategy is just stuff! Here today I would like to posit that this is the same is the same for instructional design. Content without design is just stuff! He is coming at this from a marketing perspective and the changing landscape since the 90’s and companies having a presence on The Internet. What a massive place for a company to connect with their customers but also share about their company. Although, Joe shares that,

“But we quickly realized that our stuff isn’t that interesting to customers, and most of the time customers didn’t want our stuff and didn’t feel like sharing our stuff with others who actually may want to buy our stuff.”

This necessitates the need for “strategy” from a marketing perspective. But what about instructional design? As Joe tells us to answer the following question, “why are we creating the content stuff?” we may ask, what is the need for the instruction? Or in some cases is there even a need? When it comes to instruction, always err on less because the age old adage is true—less is more. Anything extra could be distracting from the learner and prevent them from accomplishing the goals and objectives. Missing these means you have missed the boat which is the form of travel to get from one end of the gap to another.

As Joe puts it, “the intersection of what you know as a brand and what your customers’ needs are becomes the central point of all the content stuff you create.” The same is true for our instruction which is why we have the “A” in ADDIE and a feedback loop to make sure that the “A” influences all aspects of the design. Without this type of influence we would just be designing stuff.

Stuff doesn’t change people. Instruction changes people. Change is the purpose of the event. Everything else is just a waste of time.

What do you think? Is instructional content without design just stuff?

About DaveHallmon

With experience in web, graphic, and instructional design, Dave maintains a balance between what is efficient and effective in every message. He always focuses on the why and how rather than "just doing it" to get the job done. By day he works at a leading university designing online courses that support 9,000 students in 64 countries. He works directly with faculty to brainstorm, design, and develop their online instruction utilizing the Adobe suite. He also teaches for the university as an adjunct faculty member in the area of web design. By night he is a devoted husband, father, freelancer, and adventurer of the outdoors. His other interests include LifeHacker, Science Fiction and Hayao Miyazaki movies, Settlers of Catan, and coffee with friends. He currently lives in St. Louis and has an M.S. in Instructional Design and aspires to pursue a professional degree in content marketing and strategy. Visit the links below for more information about his interests and design work.
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