Welcome to the
The Complete DIY Learning Design Toolkit
This guide provides you with everything you need to develop a training session from scratch. If you follow all the steps provided, you’ll end up with a lesson plan—a design blueprint to keep all your learning content and activities organized in a cohesive way. Tools, such as the Questionnaire and the Activity Ideas Organizer help keep the training relevant, engaging, and aligned to higher-level business goals.
Use this 'The Ultimate Learning Design Toolkit’
to design comprehensive learning experiences or training programs.
In addition to step-by-step instructions on how to create a training design plan, this guide comes with valuable tools, such as:
The Performance Issues and Goals Worksheet A Learning Outcomes Builder A Content Outline Builder An Activity Ideas Organizer
How to get the most out of this guide
This toolkit is designed with in mind—so no learning specialists are required. It can also be used by senior leadership to promote consistency and alignment across the organization on learning design principles & processes.
Follow each of the steps in order because what you do on one page builds on another.
You may also like:
, a lightweight version of this toolkit for creating a lesson plan for just one training session if you’re tight on time and need to launch training ASAP The if you’re looking for a way to convert existing academic courses to remote, online experiences
Why this toolkit was created
As a former Senior Learning Designer at Evernote and Uber who’s encountered the challenges that come with launching large-scale, global learning programs, I’ve learned that developing the right tools can help me work more efficiently.
This doc is version 2.0 of a learning design playbook I originally developed when I was tasked with developing an entire training program for an organization with more than 550 people spread out across several continents. There was a desperate need to standardize training, and my Coda playbook was a lifesaver—especially when we all started working from home during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
I also used my Coda playbook to coach others I considered (essentially, anyone on a team who is passionate about learning) on learning design and help them ramp them up quickly.
Training—a growing need
If you ran a quick search for the word ‘training,’ on LinkedIn it wouldn’t be surprising to find over a million results, in just the U.S. alone. These days, it seems like every business or organization is looking for some kind of training program to up-skill and develop their employees and leaders.
The reality, however, is that only a few of these businesses and organizations have the resources and funding needed to hire external consultants or to purchase the latest and greatest enterprise learning platform.
3 common approaches
All too often, training developed in-house by companies comes in three flavors:
A 1-2 hour in-person or online video class led by a content expert who’s reading from bulleted lists on a Powerpoint or Google Slide deck with about 50-100 slides (and a few animated GIFs thrown for comic relief). An ‘e-learning version’ of that 1-2 hour’s worth of Powerpoint or Google Slides, this time with a voiceover and (if it’s real fancy) a ‘talking head’ video recording of a content expert’s presentation. A text-heavy PDF ‘training manual’ emailed out as required reading—often with a long list of links to recommended articles, podcasts, books, and YouTube videos.
Opportunity for improvement
The similarity between all of the common approaches to training is clear—they are, for the most part, passive forms of learning.
Don’t get me wrong—people will still learn and performance may still improve, especially when the speakers have a wealth of knowledge to share and are dynamic, engaging presenters. But, in order to make learning stick, that our brains need to engage more deeply with new information.
We should move beyond slides & ‘talking heads’. Studies have shown that training presentations and online manuals are ineffective when delivered as standalone performance improvement solutions—and not combined with other types of learning that require more ‘active’ brain activity (even if comes with some really hilarious animated GIFs).
What this guide offers
Think of this guide as an interactive ‘workbook’ that walks you through how to:
Leverage existing content, resources, and expertise Engage people in active learning through conversation and collaboration Enforce deeper learning through reflection and mentorship Promote application of new learnings to real-world issues and challenges The steps are built on time-tested learning approaches, like Bloom’s taxonomy and the , that promote higher-level thinking and active learning. For more experienced learning design specialists, it’s works as a ‘consulting’ guide when you’re helping others create training.
About the author
SiNing Chan is a Solutions Architect at Coda with extensive experience in digital learning design and product marketing. Most recently, she’s had the opportunity to lead large-scale, global L&D initiatives and product education programs at Evernote and Uber Technologies.