Pre-work & Post-work Design Documents — Do You Need Them?


A common training scenario is Pre-work, Classroom, and Post-work.

And if a Design document gets created at all, there is usually only one. Yet a valid question is:

Do you create one Learning Design document for all 3 segments of the training (pre-work, classroom session, post-work) or do you create separate Learning Design documents for each segment? 

The answer depends on the goals of each instructional segment.

The best way to think about this is to start with the end in mind. Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve with each segment, working backwards...


Is the goal of Post-work to reinforce learning or to elevate learning?

  • If the goal of post-work is to elevate learning, i.e. take the student’s knowledge or skill to the next level, then the Post-work should be designed separately, in its own design document.

  • If, on the other hand, the goal is to reinforce and measure that learning has occurred to the expected level taught in the course, then the Post-work falls under what the Learning Design Tool refers to as Learner Achievement Activities at the Terminal Objective level. And these are documented in the main Learning Design document.


Is the goal of the pre-work to assess the student’s current knowledge or to prepare students to come to class ready to tackle Level 2 or higher Knowledge and Skill content?

  • If the goal is to prepare students to learn, i.e. acquire some fundamental baseline knowledge, then the Pre-work should be designed separately, in its own design document.

  • If the goal is assessment, then the design of the primary body of instruction (the classroom segment) must include methods for working with students who have various levels of content knowledge regarding the subject.

If this sounds like a lot of work, automate the design phase for consistency and productivity.  


Use a practical instructional design tool to create design documents that apply Instructional Design theory in a consistent manner aligned with your organizational development needs. The Learning Design Tool offered by Great Circle Learning is hands down the best choice for this job.

This blog was authored by Richard V. Michaels, M.Ed, our Chief Product Architect at Great Circle Learning and a Microsoft Word MVP.