ATD Blog

A Little Backyard Gymnastics

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

When I was a child growing up in rural Indiana, I spent many afternoons in the backyard twirling and tumbling and throwing myself around to teach myself flips and tricks. I didn’t know the terminology for what I was doing. I didn’t know the proper techniques required to execute anything well (or with grace I might add). What I did know was how to roll up my sleeves and dive right in.   Years later, my parents enrolled me in a gymnastics class where I learned that I had been cartwheeling and back-hand-springing around the edges of our lawn. I suddenly understood what I was doing from an alternative point of view.  

This childhood experience mirrors my relationship with instructional design. A lot of what we do as trainers and facilitators is instinctual, but having the technical understanding of the choices we make in our design process gives us more opportunities to enhance our designs and gain buy-in from key stakeholders. It allows us to create effective training programs that are high quality and outcome driven. 

A Proper Introduction to Instructional Design 

Design—v. to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan. 


The Introduction to Instructional Design Certificate at ATD is a crash course in designing a training program from start to finish. Whether you’re a facilitator wanting to understand the ins and outs of designing a learner-centered course or you’re serving both roles as facilitator and designer, this course is quite simply a game changer. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I wish I could see a project come together from start to finish,” then this course is a perfect fit. 

My first foray into instructional design left me hungry for more. I gained the ability to assign language to how I was creating and modifying my courses, and I was able to experience things such as needs assessment (which I love) and creating learning objectives (which I love to hate). I was able to walk in the shoes of the instructional designer, which not only built my skill set but allowed me to enter into future facilitation events with an appreciation and understanding of how the content arrived at the place that it did. 


Just as my backyard gymnastics turned into a championship-winning cheerleading career by the time I went to college, I learned that with a little effort you can make big things happen—even if you’re a little clueless about what’s what at the start. 

The tools and templates gathered from this course give structure and will assist you in future instructional design projects. My favorite aspect of this course is the focus is on outcome, as opposed to content, which supports learner-centered design. And when we design with the learner in mind, engagement happens naturally.

About the Author

Carrie Addington is an internal ATD facilitator. She is a down-to-earth educator and people development coach with a passion for delivering effective communication solutions with a spirited energy. As a business consultant and educator for the past 10 years, Carrie has worked with a wide variety of business segments, including retail, beauty, education, and nonprofits, and has worked with C-level executives, directors, managers, and high potentials.

She has experience designing and delivering customized management and self-development programs, including personal coaching on strategy and communication. She has delivered training on key business management principles for small business owners through Bumble and Bumble University in New York, deemed the “Harvard of Hair” by the Harvard Business Review, to classrooms ranging from 20 to 150 attendees.

Carrie has delivered on topics ranging from energetic accountability, leadership, and great feedback to cross-generational communication, resolving conflict, and presentation skills. She is a part of the coaching network with the prominent, global executive leadership and management company, The Mind Gym; and is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach. As a certified ATD Master Trainer, Carrie is knowledgeable about both the development and delivery of outcome-based learning programs.

She has a master's degree in poetry from George Mason University and serves on the board of the American Poetry Museum in Washington, D.C. Carrie is passionate about using her love of language and the arts to work with individuals on establishing deeper connections with their daily work.

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