Training Coordinators and Instructional Designers are Different

Over the course of my career, I have met a lot of frustrated training coordinators. They love training. They like coordinating for guest trainers. They enjoy getting the best information out to their staff or volunteers, and seeing their programs improve as a result.

So why are they frustrated? Somewhere along the line, some people started to think that a training coordinator and an instructional designer were the same thing.

People who went into training to run trainings and facilitate learning are being asked to create those trainings first. This is a totally separate skill set. It requires, among other things:

instructional design skills

This is frustrating at several levels. First, they struggle through a sea of information to create a training, usually with little to no help (or help with the subject matter, but no help with creating the training itself). Creating a new training takes a lot of work, and it takes ten times longer if you don’t know what you are doing.

Second, the training they created is difficult to run, because they don’t have the background they need to create real information flow with activities at the appropriate intervals. This makes the training less engaging for learners, and less fulfilling for the trainer.

Finally, the training doesn’t create any real change in the way services are provided (because it wasn’t designed to take advantage of the learning cycle and maximize transfer). This last point is the worst, because it means that all of that struggling was for nothing. Worse still, every time this cycle happens, it reinforces the idea that training is a waste of time in the minds of your staff or volunteers.

In the end, these trainings rarely do what they are supposed to do. This process repeats itself every time a new training coordinator is hired and asked to remake the same courses. A significant amount of time, money, and effort is wasted, and very little is gained.

So what can an agency do? The most obvious solution is to hire a training coordinator to coordinate and/or give trainings, and an instructional designer to create trainings. However, instructional designers are expensive to have on staff, and most agencies don’t need a full or even part time instructional designer. They just need a few new trainings a year.

If you only need a few new trainings a year, but you want them to make a real difference in the outcomes your program produces, you can contract someone to make those trainings for you as you need them. I am an instructional design expert who has year of experience working with non-profits and social service agencies. I would love to talk to you about what I could do for your program.


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