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Training that Delivers Results: Instructional Design that Aligns with Business Goals

Dick Handshaw’s new book is available for Amazon pre-order now.


Posted: July 2

Instructional Design at ATD Charlotte

Within five minutes from the time I finished renewing my membership to ATD Charlotte, where I volunteered to present at a meeting, I received a phone call from Susan Byerly, their VP of Programs. The most recent membership survey showed a high degree of interest in a program on instructional design. I will be delivering the workshop I recently presented at the ASTD International Conference and Expo in May and prior to that, at the ISPI International Conference in April, entitled “Training That Delivers Results.” This is also the title of my new book which carries the sub-title, “Instructional Design that Aligns with Business Goals.” The meeting will be held on July 17th at CMC Mercy and the event begins at 5:00 PM.

You can read the session description, find directions and register for the event on the ATD Charlotte website at www.astdcharlotte.org. I want to talk about the topic of instructional design itself and the fact that it has been requested by members of ATD Charlotte makes this a timely discussion. Ever since I first heard the term Instructional Systems Design (ISD) in graduate school at Indiana University in 1978, it has been a controversial subject. The practice has always had its champions and its critics. In response to receiving a copy of my book, my Instructional Design professor, Dr. Michael Molenda commented, “I hope it (my book) gets major distribution … and plays a part in blunting the current attack on ISD.”

Shortly before I released my book, Michael Allen of Allen Interactions!, released a book called “Leaving ADDIE for SAM.” What Michael is referring to is a suggested move away from the traditional approach to instructional design as described in a number of ID models that are categorized as Analysis, Design, Develop and Evaluate type models. Let me be clear that there is no one ADDIE model, rather it is a classification describing a number of models including those developed by the US Air Force, by Professors Walter Dick and Lou Carey, and the Handshaw Model, described in my book. As with these models, Dr. Allen’s SAM model is also a systematic approach to the development of instruction.

Having practiced instructional design for over 35 years, I have concluded that any problems with instructional systems design are not caused by which model someone might choose or any of the pros or cons of one model over another, but the way in which people apply the systematic approach to the design of instruction. Any evidence-based, proven instructional design model can yield observable, measurable  and repeatable results if use properly. A model is not a recipe approach that is simply followed the same way again and again. It is a set of operating rules that must match a set of existing circumstances.

In my book, I introduce the “Cost vs. Risk” rule which helps you decide how to apply an instructional design model to different projects under different circumstances. For more information on this rule, scroll down to my blog posted June 11th, which is an actual excerpt from my new book. I hope it will make you want to come to the ATD meeting on the 17th of July in Charlotte and perhaps entice you to buy the book! 

Dick Handshaw’s new book, Training that Delivers Results: Instructional Design that Aligns with Business Goals is available now on Amazon.com.  Get your copy today!

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Posted: June 26

Workshop Overview:

This five-day workshop builds skills in the ROI Methodology developed by industry leader Jack Phillips. Participants experience application of the ROI Process model. This includes developing application and impact objectives, collecting various types of hard and soft data, isolating the effects of HR Programs, converting data to monetary values, tabulating appropriate program costs and calculating the ROI. Participants quickly see the advantage of the process as six types of data are collected and analyzed. This data represents both qualitative and quantitative data, developed from a variety of sources.

Workshop Attendees Learn How To:

• Present a briefing on the ROI Methodology

• Link HR program objectives to business results

• Describe at least three ways to collect data, isolate the effects of a

program, and convert data to monetary values

• Identify all costs of an HR program

• Calculate ROI, given benefits and costs of the program

• Identify intangible measures

• Explain the 12 guiding principles for ROI use

• Conduct and complete an ROI study for their organization

• Articulate the value of using ROI Materials 


Attendees will receive a variety of books, as well as a detailed participant workbook complete with exercises and exhibits. They will also receive an ROI process model and calculator.

Who Should Attend?

This workshop is for participants who are responsible for measuring the impact of Human Resources. Individuals such as: HR Executives, HR Specialists, HR Managers, Talent Managers, Compensation Managers, Recruiting Specialists, Organizational Development Managers, Change Management Consultants, Learning and Development Managers, and Performance Consultants.

No mathematical background is required.

Topics of Interest Include:

• Recruiting projects

• Training and learning systems

• On-the-job training

• Career and management development

• Leadership/coaching

• Compensation/benefits

• Diversity and compliance

• Wellness and fitness

• Employee benefits

• Talent management

• Performance management

• Employee engagement

• Safety and health

• Risk management


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Posted: June 11

An Excerpt from “Training That Delivers Results: Instructional Design That Aligns with Business Goals”


I’ve talked to a lot of trainers about analysis, and the most common reason most of them give for not doing analysis is “I don’t have time.” But here’s what my experience has taught me— and I admit that it’s counterintuitive. The less time I have to complete a project, the more critical it is to do analysis early. A friend and colleague, Damon Hearne of Bank of America, once succinctly characterized the importance of analysis with this statement: “If you don’t have time to do analysis, be prepared to do design again and again and again.” That’s absolutely true. In fact, your best insurance policy against costly mistakes and missed deadlines is making the time to do the necessary amount of analysis. Here’s a personal example to illustrate the point.

An Expensive Lesson

A large bank in the Northeast wanted to use e- learning to demonstrate successful product sales skills to its financial consultants. It’s important to mention that the product was new and a previous launch had gone so badly that the bank was in a hurry to take corrective action. That’s why our request to complete a task analysis got so much push back. The bank thought the best way to meet the deadline was to give its consultants the needed selling practice by using virtual role plays with interactive, prerecorded video clips. The client just wanted our team to develop the video clip storyboards and the attendant e- learning program as quickly as possible. I explained that the purpose of the analysis was to document the process and write effective performance objectives. Our clients in the training department insisted that they would provide us with the performance objectives and that they would take on the job of explaining the process.

Soon the video clips were shot, and the scripted interactions were integrated into a powerful, interactive e- learning program. Our team designed a simulation that put the learners into an interactive conversation with their clients. Learners were able to select questions, and the video clips provided the appropriate client responses based on those choices. The training department clients were ecstatic and happily took credit for the wonderful design.

The business manager for the product line was not so pleased. “That’s not how you’re supposed to sell this product,” the manager commented on first viewing the program. I knew we were in trouble. As it turned out, the performance objectives we followed were based on an outdated process and, of course, were completely wrong. We had to go back and rescript and reshoot the video clips. The e- learning program needed a great deal of revision to accommodate the new video clips and the updated sales process. Needless to say, we finished way behind schedule and way over budget. Expensive lessons are OK as long as you don’t repeat them.

Cost- vs - Risk Rule

In this example, we ignored the cost- vs.- risk rule. This simple rule states: “As the project risk increases— whether that risk is cost, an aggressive schedule, and/or volatile content— so does the need for analysis.” The corollary to the rule is: “Analysis is of little use without the appropriate stakeholders reviewing and signing off on the analysis data.” In the preceding example, our team broke both of these rules:

■ Because there was high risk due to a previously failed product rollout and the high production costs of interactive video role plays, we should have insisted on doing our own task analysis.

■ The objectives given to us by the training client were reviewed by the appropriate subject matter experts but not by the stakeholder and managers.

Once we discovered the errors, we immediately conducted the appropriate level of task analysis. Based on a new and useful task analysis, all the performance objectives were rewritten. Based on the new performance objectives, the role- play scenarios and performance tests were rewritten. Based on the new scenarios, the new video clips were produced and new e- learning logic was written. You can see that my friend was right. We didn’t do the necessary analysis, so we had to do our design again and again. It was a very expensive lesson.

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