Tahnja Wilson | Senior Consultant, Instructional Design

As the Director of Instructional Design, Tahnja oversees 2Rev’s instructional design team. Her work focuses on ensuring that we deliver the best content using current best practices in online education, and that all course design truly reflects the realities of how people learn. A proponent of backward design, Tahnja believes in identifying the competencies and content you wish the student to learn and then designing experiences, activities, and assessments that support learner mastery.

Before coming to 2Rev, Tahnja worked in instructional design for a large research university, taught K-8 technology, and had a career in healthcare. She graduated from the American School of International Management with an MIM, Arizona State University with an MBA, and the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism.

Why education, why instructional design?

All students deserve to experience the “ah-ha” moment of connection that only learning brings. As a lifelong learner, educator, and parent, I have seen students struggle to learn and apply content with poorly designed courses using out-of-date methodologies. Teaching standards, essential skills and dispositions, and 21st century skills should not be needlessly convoluted. Students deserve to spend their learning time on well-designed and executed courses that allow them to focus on the task of learning.

What course design elements and strategies are must haves?

From my time as an instructional designer I have learned, practiced, and iterated on strategies that really make courses work. Here’s what I consider must haves:

  • Actionable and measurable learning objectives.
  • Performance assessments that are scaffolded and measure learner understanding and application of content.
  • Content relevancy to the learner.
  • Interactives sprinkled throughout the content to provide practice opportunities for the learner to engage the content.
  • Clear language - get rid of all that jargon and idiomatic phrases!
  • Graphics that support and even extend content.
  • Adherence to Universal Design guidelines.
  • Variety of opportunities for the learner to engage with the content, the instructor, and with other students, e.g., articles, videos, games/interactives, discussions, and assignments.
  • Iteration, iteration, and more iteration! The goal is continuous improvement.