Productive and Effective Meetings for Instructional Designers

Meetings are an essential part of collaborative work for Instructional Designers. From the first meeting with the client to initiate the project and throughout all subsequent phases, face-to-face or remote meetings are part of the reality of the instructional designer. Most of the time, it is the Instructional Designer who leads and conducts these meetings along with clients, subject matter experts, students, developers, graphic designers, video team, LMS team, and anyone else who may be interested in the subject of learning.

As professionals, it is important for Instructional Designers to conduct efficient meetings that enable collaboration, learning, and the development of effective learning solutions. To achieve this, it is necessary to know some techniques and methodologies that enable the realization of productive and effective meetings.

This structure is flexible and can be adjusted according to the group’s needs and the objective of each project. The instructional designer needs to use interpersonal skills development and leadership concepts in their work methodologies so that they can offer the best service to their clients.

A comment on leadership in meetings

Leading a meeting does not mean that the instructional designer will be the boss of all the participants for the duration of the meeting, and that everyone needs to listen and obey their instructions. Leading a meeting is about guiding participants to the objective of the meeting being necessary more than anything else: the main concern is to get the participants to deliver what is necessary for the learning solution at that moment. These needs depend on where you are in the project, the professionals involved, and many other factors.

Structure of Meetings

The structure of an effective meeting with SMEs and clients is based on a methodology, but it is the peculiarities of each case that will define the ideal format. It may not work in all cases, but it is useful in most of them, involving the following steps:

  1. Introduction: The start of the meeting should create a welcoming and trusting environment for the participants. This may include an introduction activity, where the instructional designer introduces themselves and reminds the clear objective of what they want to achieve in the meeting that you sent before scheduling the meeting.
  2. Theoretical Content: The necessary theoretical content is presented clearly, objectively, and concisely, using visual resources, examples, and practical demonstrations that make the goals and objectives of the project accessible and interesting to SMEs or any other professional who participates in these meetings.
  3. Practical Activities: Practical application is fundamental for the instructional designer to develop good learning solutions, identify the best concepts, and use them in the analysis seeking the best solutions for the project’s learning objects. This may include one or more tools such as, for example, Brainstorm, interviews, and Content Coding.
  4. Feedback: Providing feedback is important so that professionals can understand where they fit in the process and, thus, contribute to the meeting.
  5. Conclusion: At the end of the meeting, the instructional designer summarizes the main points and reflects on what was identified during the meeting.

The Importance of Feedback in Instructional Design Meetings

Giving feedback is important so that participants can understand where they fit in the process and, thus, contribute to the meeting. It is important to use a positive and constructive feedback approach that seeks to improve the participants’ participation rather than simply pointing out errors or telling them which way to go. The idea is to provide participants with useful information to help them develop and improve their ideas, project understanding, and also discover how they can help build solutions.

Some common feedback techniques include:

  • Descriptive feedback: Provide a clear and objective description of the behavior or action that needs to be improved.
  • Positive feedback: Emphasize what is being done correctly and share examples of success.
  • Solution-based feedback: Help the receiver to find solutions to problems rather than just pointing them out.
  • Peer feedback: Allow participants to receive feedback from each other, creating a mutual learning environment.
  • Personalized feedback: Tailor feedback to meet individual participants’ needs.

By providing feedback in a clear and objective manner, instructional designers can help participants improve their skills and contribute more meaningfully to the project. In addition, feedback helps ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the project’s goals and objectives.

Effective Closure in Instructional Design Meetings

At the end of the meeting, the instructional designer should summarize the main points and reflect on what was identified during the meeting. Professionals also have the opportunity to share their reflections and ask questions. It is important to end the meeting clearly and objectively, defining the next steps and thanking everyone for their participation and contribution.

The closure of the meeting is critical to maintaining the perspective and engagement of the participants, especially subject matter experts. Whether the meeting is individual or group, today’s meeting may be just one stage in the process and may require subsequent meetings. Therefore, it is important to close the meeting well, defining the next steps clearly and objectively.

Instructional design meetings are an essential part of the learning solution development process, and the importance of feedback and closure cannot be underestimated. Feedback is critical so that participants can understand where they fit in the process and contribute effectively to the meeting, and closure is important to maintain the perspective and engagement of the participants.

The instructional designer needs to be prepared to apply different feedback and closure techniques effectively and personalized according to the needs of each project and each participant. This ensures that meetings are productive for everyone involved.

Best Practices for Instructional Designers in Meetings

To ensure that a meeting is effective and productive, the instructional designer should follow some best practices:

  • Effective communication: Instructional designers should communicate clearly, concisely, and persuasively, as well as deal with different personalities and styles of the participants.
  • Group facilitation: Instructional designers should create a welcoming and collaborative environment for the group to maximize participation and engagement of all members.
  • Group dynamics: Instructional designers need to deal with conflicts, how to build positive relationships, and foster collaboration among participants.
  • Teaching practical skills: More experienced instructional designers know that sometimes they will also have to quickly teach some practical skills on the spot, such as assertive communication, conflict resolution, and leadership, in a clear and effective way.

The instructional designer needs to always improve interpersonal relationships, as well as understand and modify internal and external communication processes between them, the client, SMEs, and other professionals. Sometimes this means understanding their own mental and behavioral strategies and changing them to get more desired results. Both are valuable and complementary tools, and many designers choose to combine them to achieve even better results.

Practice makes perfect

Remember, however, that practice is essential to becoming an efficient and effective Instructional Designer in meetings. Experience is the best teacher, and each project can bring new challenges and opportunities to improve your skills.

## Instructional Design Resources: A Tool to Improve Meetings

As instructional designers are trained in the application of concepts and methodologies in real-world contexts, they learn to use different instructional resources to make their meetings interesting and effective.

More importantly, instructional designers can leverage the expertise of subject matter experts (SMEs) to create effective instructional resources. During meetings, it is important to involve SMEs in discussions about the instructional materials being developed. SMEs can provide valuable information about the needs of the target audience, best practices in their field, and available resources.

One of the most effective ways to involve SMEs in the process of creating instructional resources is through conducting interviews. Interviews can be conducted in person, over the phone, or via video conference. If possible, they should be recorded for future reference (always with the knowledge of all parties and proper authorizations). During interviews, the instructional designer can ask open-ended questions to encourage the SME to share their experiences and knowledge.

Be Careful When Recording Interviews!

There are several reasons why some SMEs may not want to record interviews or feel intimidated by the recording. First, some experts may be concerned about the privacy of their opinions or confidential information that may be revealed during the interview. Second, some experts may feel uncomfortable with recording due to their lack of experience in dealing with the recording process. Some may feel that recording adds pressure and increases their anxiety during the interview. Additionally, some experts may not want to be recorded because they fear that the recording may be used against them in some way or that their opinions may be misinterpreted or used inappropriately. It is important for the instructional designer to respect the concerns of the SMEs and work with them to find a solution that meets the needs of everyone involved.

In addition to interviews, instructional designers can use other resources to involve SMEs in the process of creating instructional materials. SMEs can be invited to participate in focus groups or reviews to evaluate and provide feedback on the instructional materials in development.

Another way to involve SMEs is through real-time collaboration on shared documents. The instructional designer can create a collaborative document where SMEs can provide feedback and suggestions in real-time, which can help streamline the process of developing materials.

Finally, it is important for the instructional designer to recognize and value the expertise of SMEs. They can be invited to present webinars, participate in training sessions, or other opportunities to share their knowledge. This not only helps improve the quality of instructional materials but also helps create a culture of continuous learning and collaboration.


Meetings are an essential part of the collaborative work of instructional designers. It is important that these meetings are productive and effective, enabling collaboration, learning, and the development of effective learning solutions. To do this, instructional designers need to know some techniques and methodologies that enable productive and effective meetings, as well as avoiding common pitfalls. With these skills and resources, instructional designers can develop effective learning solutions and provide a productive and satisfying experience for their clients and collaborators.

Finally, it is important to remember that meetings do not have to be boring and unproductive. With the correct techniques and resources, instructional designers can make meetings productive, effective, and even fun. After all, the goal is always the same: to develop effective learning solutions that help people grow and learn.