If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a to-do list somewhere handy. Think about your own to-do list, whether it’s on paper or in your head. Are you putting a priority on prioritizing training requests?


Jump down to the comments right now! Tell me what you’re doing this week to make sure your training request list is organized by priority.


Some instructional designers’ only methods of organizing their training requests are based on a first-come, first-served mentality. This may seem fair (especially if you’re working in an organization where certain departments have a tendency to hit you up with a big training ask at the last minute).


Plus, who has the extra time to devote to organizing and prioritizing training requests anyway? Isn’t that time better spent actually working on completing these requests? Well, research indicates that ineffective training strategies can cost organizations up to $13.5 million per year per 1,000 employees. So yea, I’d say prioritizing training is a pretty important step in the ID process!


Even though training specialists within larger organizations and freelance instructional designers each have challenges in training request prioritization that are unique to their positions, my tips for organizing and communicating your training priorities are applicable to L&D leaders in any position.


Common Mistakes in Training Project Management & Prioritization


prioritizing training requests


Managers of Learning & Development and freelancers alike can constantly find themselves inundated with a barrage of training requests from all departments or different clients. When it comes to achieving your organization’s goals (or your own personal goals as an independent ID), it falls on you as a leader to make a conscious decision on what receives priority.


Companies that improve their training prioritizations can experience significant reductions in costs (in my experience, roughly 15%). This is because less-vital activities are cut and duplicated efforts are consolidated. You just can’t ignore that value! Do you find yourself falling into any of these training priority traps?


  • Diving into the development of a training as soon as you receive the request in an attempt to stay on top of the barrage of training requests.
  • Letting department heads or clients decide where their training falls on your priority list.
  • Accepting every training request that enters your inbox without first setting realistic timing expectations for the client (I’m looking at you hard-working freelancers!)
  • Keeping your project list and deadlines in your own planner or calendar which department heads and other team leaders can’t view.


If you’re nodding ‘yes’ to any of these, don’t worry. We’ve all made at least one of these mistakes, especially early in our careers. Take advantage of my personal experiences with prioritizing training requests. You will be able to maximize your efforts and likely save yourself or your company some cash!


What gives one training request priority over another?


There are many factors I consider when prioritizing training requests. But basically, the trainings that have the most value to the company should take top priority. Value doesn’t have to be monetary (but it might be!). So use the following factors, in order of MOST to LEAST important, to rank your training requests.


1. A training that aligns perfectly with the goals of a department within your organization.


prioritizing training requests


A request that seems like a no-brainer: it fits the strategic vision of a specific team. The objectives are clear and the content is straight-forward. This is the kind of request you see in your inbox and wonder “why didn’t I think of that!?”.


When learning can so obviously give a team a boost in their performance, you can boost this training higher up your list. Take an easy win wherever you can, but you should definitely make sure the training isn’t too-good-to-be-true before you commit.


2. A training that has to do with a company’s compliance rules or safety.


prioritizing training requests


If there’s a change or update that has to do with regulatory compliance, this training takes priority. Any time there would be legal consequences if employees don’t implement this learning, you know a training is important and should jump to the top of your list.


Regulatory changes may come with a ‘due date’ of their own (for example, many new laws go into effect on the first day of the new year). So ideally, you have some time to prepare the training and can prioritize accordingly.


Safety issues are also important to consider when deciding where the training belongs on your priority list. If the learning is fixing a problem that is putting the wellbeing of others in jeopardy, you need to get this training out as soon as possible!


3. A low-cost training


low cost training


This is an important consideration. Bear in mind if a training falls into the first or second categories listed above, the importance may outweigh the cost. That’s a decision you’ll have to make alongside organizational leaders.


Otherwise, if a training is going to be relatively inexpensive to produce from start to finish, it can be worthwhile to take care of this request before you get caught up in a much more costly training.


For corporate L&D leaders, giving lower-cost projects priority works well for the bottom line- you get to solve a problem with quality learning and the company benefits without a huge investment.


Freelance instructional designers, I hope I didn’t lose you when I said low cost! Yes, I know it can be tempting to get to work on the job that’s going to end in a huge financial payoff for you. Think of it this way, expensive projects are going to require a huge time investment from you. Not to mention, the more money a client is spending, the more requests and changes they are going to ask for!


By taking care of a lower-cost training that requires less of a time commitment, you get to cross a project off your to-do list. There’s no reason why you can’t get started with some important analysis on that higher-cost project in the meantime. The more time you spend in analysis, the less surprises you’re going to run into with that big, expensive project when you do have time to go into development.


4. A training that will solve a serious problem within the company


prioritizing training requests


Here’s my last consideration when prioritizing training- how big is the problem that requires a learning solution? Is it a mistake or workflow that’s seriously costing the company (in wasted time or money)?


If the problem is negatively impacting the performance or production of the company in a big way, it’s important to address it before the business runs into bigger issues because of it.


4 Quick Tips for Prioritizing Training Requests


Okay, now you’ve got an idea of how to start rating trainings based on their importance. I want to leave you with 4 tips for making prioritizing training a breeze.


• Get important information about the training that has been requested upfront.


prioritizing training requests


In order to actually use the factors I’ve listed above to rank a training request, you first need to learn more about the project. It’s hard to determine the cost or relevance of training when you only have a vague idea of what the content will be.


I like to have a system in place for submitting request that allows me to get a lot of this information up front. If you can make a similar requirement in your organization, that makes the prioritization process a little easier.


Put together a quick template with some simple questions about the desired training. Questions that you’d ask in your training analysis like: What are the objectives? What is the ideal delivery date? etc… that you can send off to anyone who hits you up with a project request.



You can even end up saving yourself and other departments time spent in meetings if you review a request. It turns out, sometimes, that training is just not the solution to the problem that’s being described!


• Have projects list and deadlines in a place that is visible to everyone.


training projects management


You don’t have to share your entire task list with your whole organization. However, if you’re working for a big team and project managing multiple projects, it’s important to have some transparency in what trainings are being developed when.


It’s great for your own accountability. It can also make it easier for department heads to see why you aren’t able to drop everything and get to work on their specific request right away!


Sometimes it’s also eye-opening for those outside of L&D to see just how long it takes to develop even a short course, which can make conversations about timing a little easier.


Having a shared calendar or drive where training requests are scheduled and stored are two ways you can easily share the training schedule with anyone who would benefit from having access.


• Stay involved in your organization, and know how to sense upcoming priority shifts.


prioritizing training requests


Regardless of your position, keeping up with the important things happening in departments outside your own is a great way to stay in the loop in your organization. For L&D leaders, staying in the loop means you can spot shifts that are likely to result in a training request.


For example, anytime a department starts evaluating new software or hardware that will simplify their processes- you can bet as soon as they make a decision you’ll get a request for training on the new systems. Check in with department leaders and ask to be CC’d when the decision is finalized. In this way, you can look for room on your calendar for the inevitable training request.


• Know the difference between urgent and important and don’t be afraid to reprioritize accordingly!


prioritizing training requests


Any training request that you’ve reviewed and put on the list of projects is going to hold some importance. If it weren’t important, you wouldn’t be devoting time and resources to the project.


However, while all trainings are important, not all trainings are urgent! Since all learning is important, it’s impossible to say that you’ll prioritize important requests. Urgent, on the other hand, is something important AND time-sensitive.


You’re the expert! If you decide that a new training request impacts business in a big way, you can make the decision to pause any in-process projects that- while important- are not addressing an urgent business need.


How will you put a priority on prioritizing training requests this year?


Now that I’ve shared my organizational tips for organizing your training request list, jump over to my Facebook page. Share the tricks that have worked for you in the past.


If you haven’t made prioritizing training a priority in the past, share which of my tips you’re going to use right away to structure your project schedule in a way that’s more beneficial to you and to the organization you’re serving. You might also want to check out my post on the 7 Mistakes Contributing to Training Project Management Failure

Ready to dive in and become a full-stack Instructional Designer and eLearning Developer without getting another degree? Check out my 12-week immersive program: Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator System and Certificate Program.







The Testimonials are In:


Shola Richards

Working with Shanwtay and Katie at the Instructional Design Company was a dream come true. Their creativity, expertise, and professionalism throughout the entire process was beyond top notch. I engaged them to help turn my first book into a training course, and I could not be happier with how the final product turned out. If you have an instructional design project and you’re considering which company to work with, you can stop your search and thank me later. They are truly the best in the business.

Shola Richards


Graphic Designer

I joined the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program because I struggled to find jobs in instructional design beyond the development phase. I’ve done a couple of training programs with lots of random projects, but I was overwhelmed, not connecting the dots, and not good at structuring my writing to hit learning objectives. I was looking for motivation and direction at beginning a better Instructional Designer.

After taking the Instructional Design & Tech Certificate program and joining my fantastic team for support, I found the structure and approach to be what I need to take my next steps, evening improving my skills in the development stage.

Gayle Bower


Teacher, Future Instructional Designer

I love how this course let’s you work at your own pace. I got great tips and learned many things. The ongoing support for multiple people and groups is what I love the best. You are never alone in this process. I have been able to adjust my resume and began creating a portfolio of work I’ve completed to add when applying for jobs. I use many of the PowerPoint skills in my lessons and trainings. I would highly recommend this for anyone wanting to become an instructional designer.

Laurie Henderson


Teacher, Future Instructional Designer

I have searched for the last few years to find some suitable career change where I wouldn’t have to earn another degree and where I could use the talents and skills I already have as a teacher. When I came across the Instructional Design Accelerator course, I loved the fact that Shawntay was a former teacher and could relate to a teacher’s need to transition from the classroom. This was what sold the course for me. Her experiences are invaluable especially when translating teacher duties to instructional designer duties. I would (and have) recommended this program to other teachers I know who are looking to transition out of the classroom. I do appreciate ALL of her feedback on my projects!

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L&D Project Manager

The Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator certificate program is one of the most comprehensive ID programs out there for beginners. If you’re looking to grow your schools in ID and development then I highly recommend this program. Not only will this program give you an overview of theory, but you will receive a thorough walkthrough of how to apply what you have learned. Although I had already secured a position in Learning & Development when I bought this course, it helped me to move up into a new position as a Learning & Development Project Manager!

Gabby Grimaldo


Future Instructional Designer

If you have any interest in ID, sign up for this program NOW! Shawntay and her team are top notch! The course content exceeded my expectations in a big way and the encouragement and support continues to be so valuable. You will not feel alone going through this course, you will learn so much, you’ll have many cheerleaders, and you will have fun!

Shanna Howe


Future Instructional Designer

I am really enjoying this program! It’s prerfect for someone who is thinking about a career shift to Instructional Design and does not have a lot of experience. This is my first real introduction to Instructional Design and it’s been the perfect beginner course to help me get my feet wet. The modules are broken down well and it’s great to go at your own pace and at your own time. The modules themselves are very comprehensive and you learn a lot from all of them. I really like how each one build upon each other and you’re working towards the bigger project of designing your first training course from scratch. I’m learning so much from going through this course! I was provided great feedback from Katie and Shawntay through the process via Trello Boards, comments on the Google documents, and Facebook group. This course has been well worth the time and effort and I appreciate the fact that I will always have the resources available to me after I complete the training (just in case I’m not quite ready to transition yet).

Aviva Berkowitz


Future Instructional Designer

I can’t say enough great things about the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program! The length of the program is perfect; it doesn’t feel rushed and there’s just the right amount of structure to give you the accountability you need. There are so many opportunities to get live answers to any questions you have related to the course content or anything ID-related! This program gave me the support and structure I needed to both feel affirmed in the relevant skills I already had coming in and to fill in the gaps I had as a career-changer going into ID. Shawntay, Katie, and all the coaches are super helpful and supportive. I now feel confident that I have the tools and access to resources I need to apply for ID jobs without wondering if there’s something I’m “missing” in the preparation process. I’d highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to transition into ID or who just wants to brush up on their skills in the field.

Krista Johnson Awomoyi


Freelance Instructional Designer

I’d highly recommend the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program. I’m blown away by how much I learned in just 12 weeks. I had ID experience prior to taking this course and was just looking to get a better understanding of applying adult learning principles. This course well exceeded my expectations! Not only did I gain a clear understanding of adult learning principles, I was also able to apply those principles by creating assets for your portfolio using PowerPoint, Adobe Premiere Pro and Storyline. The hands on support that we received was top notch.

Darlene Dalgleish


Instructional Designer

This program is one of the most robust yet fulfilling L&D programs I’ve seen. I learned so much about the industry and about the limitlessness of my own capabilities. I am so appreciative of Shawntay and all of the trainers who took part in the program. They went above and beyond with not only guiding, but communicating live and working one on one or in small groups. If you are on the fence, I say take the leap and you will not regret it! There’s so much to learn, not only from the trainers, but also the learners in your group. Everyone comes in with their own skills and can be additional support and guidance for you. Thank you for creating this program!

Shawnice Edge


Instructional Designer Training Facilitator

Shawntay is an amazing individual. She is very knowledgeable in all aspects of ID and eLearning. She is also very compassionate and loves to help and see everyone around her grow and prosper. Shawntay has been a great mentor to me and she has helped me mature as an instructional designer and eLearning developer. She has provided me with opportunities when others have overlooked me. I am very grateful to have met and built a lifelong relationship with Shawntay.

I recently got hired into my first instructional design / training position and Shawntay was one of the first people to congratulate me!

Brian Hightower


Freelance Instructional Designer

My teacher-to-instructional-designer journey began two years ago when I left my teaching comfort zone and started my first freelance ID job. Now, I’m stepping out of the classroom and taking my freelance work full-time, so I’m thrilled to be joining the Tech Accelerator program. Adding technologies like Articulate 360 and Adobe Premiere Pro to my qualifications will help me take my courses to the next level and attract more clients!

Sarah Smith


Teacher Transitioning into Instructional Design

I am genuinely grateful for this course. I wanted a real-world perspective and feel like I got it. I’m teaching now, but nearing retirement age but can see myself working as an instructional designer well into my retirement years. My other goal is to take as many courses in statistics as possible in hopes of bringing some mathematical precision to the ROI question. Like you say, getting accurate metrics to measure ROI can be a challenge, but I intend to work on that part. That’s unimportant right now, what is important is the fact that I feel like this course was well worth every penny I spent and I would to it again in a heartbeat. I have too much going on right now, but as soon as I get some time freed up I intend to take your course in project management.

Lee R


Turns Your Written Thoughts Into a Masterpiece!

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Sheryl Rhoades
President and CEO, The Creative Entreprenuer


Shawntay has been incredible!

Shawntay has been incredible and her team is responsive and effective in translating my training programs into professional presentations. Don’t hesitate to contact her for your project.

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Working with Shawntay and the Instructional Design Company has allowed our university to meet the growing demands of our programs. Shawntay’s expertise allowed for the course development to be completed on time and met all of the university requirements. Shawntay’s project management skills were phenomenal and allowed my team to work on other areas while she completed this project for us. Her work is of high quality and her professionalism and willingness to help made her a tremendous asset to the project team.

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Academic Quality Assurance Specialist, Abilene Christian University


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Shawntay is a creative and highly talented instructional designer.  She brought a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and leadership that enabled her to own the design and creation of a full scale facilitator curriculum and train-the-trainer program.  It was a pleasure to partner with Shawntay, her project management and communication skills ensured the project was on time and on budget.

Susan Gatti
President, IMMIXID


Breaks Down Mammoth Projects

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Rick Miller
Author, Speaker, Strengths Coach


eLearning Development

“I have had many opportunities to work with Shawntay—mainly in the support of implementing new eLearning initiatives. I have been very impressed by her ability to quickly learn how to use rapid eLearning development tools and effectively use them to create multiple courses within a short timeframe. Shawntay’s enthusiastic nature, attention to detail, and dedication to her work make her a pleasure to work with and a great asset to both Texas A&M University-Commerce and the broader training community within the Texas A&M University System.”

Ashley Christian
Director of Learning Strategy, Caveo Learning


Top Notch Professional

Working with Shawntay has been an immense pleasure. She is atop notch professional who brings enthusiasm and extensiveexpertise to professional curriculum development and execution. Her knowledge of tried and true techniques to maximize the effectiveness of presentations is invaluable.

Nancy Drapeau, PRC
Vice President of Research, CEIR - Center for Exhibition Industry Research


Fortunate to Find Shawntay!

“I was fortunate to find Shawntay when our organization was looking to expand and update our educational offerings. Shawntay proved herself to be an educational and personal development expert who immediately made an impact with our clients throughout Europe. Everyone who came into contact with Shawntay was immediately impressed by her level of expertise and willingness to share her knowledge with those around her. I would not hesitate to recommend Shawntay to anyone looking for an education subject matter expert.”

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Director of Qualifications and NSD Services, Mary Kay Inc.


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Vice President, Andy Frain Services


Need an Expert Who Consistently Delivers?

“Working with Shawntay you will immediately notice her professional presence and poise, but over time her tenacious pursuit of excellence and her skills in instructional development and adult learning will really impress you. I worked with her at Mary Kay, and was able to experience firsthand her great rapport with regional partners in Europe, understanding their unique sales force training needs. In addition, Shawntay consistently exhibited grace under pressure, made executive decisions to move business forward. If you are looking for an expert who consistently delivers and goes the extra mile to get things done, contact Shawntay!”

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Judy Owen, CPC
Transformational Leadership Coach


“Invest in yourself and take your skills to the next NEXT level!”

Get yourself signed up for Shawntay Skjoldager’s Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program today and be on your way to success! Within the first week of taking her course, you will experience growth! Be sure to plug into her Facebook Q&A sessions for personalized help, too. This is THE course to take if you are new to instructional design or have landed on the training team and need help getting started.

Patrick Hodges
Managing Partner, PHiG


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Shawntay has exceptional knowledge and experience with all aspects of creating and implementing effective, performance based training for adults. She is exceptional at needs analysis – identifying target audiences and collaborating with business owners to keep training focused on business needs. And she is great to work with – always providing great support to get projects done on-time and on-target. She is always on the look-out for new and more effective ways to engage learners. Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!

Mike Stubblefield
eLearning Developer/Instructional Designer, Vivos Therapeutics


“Spot on”

I have known and worked with Shawntay  as a education program director and use the expertise of ShawntayMichelle for the development of my presentations.  The service has always been “spot on” with professionalism, care and attention.  Shawntay’s recommendations to my ideas make me look good to my clients.

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“Shawntay Skjoldager reached in and made my training life so much easier!”

I am new to the training design and development world and I was SO excited to get in there, but I really lacked the real-world knowledge that would set me apart from my peers. And, then Shawntay Skjoldager walked into my life with an outstretched hand and a seemingly endless list of ways to knock every training out of the park. From the Training Analysis Form to the Tay Tay tips, this course made my life so much easier and even ironed out the review process that I had been struggling with for months.

Take time to invest in your own learning and make sure to put Shawntay Michelle at the top of your personal development list!


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Training Specialist, LegalShield

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