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Instructional
Design Project 

Explore my instructional design journey with Partners in Health, focusing on the creation of a supplier vetting training program. 

01. Foundation

The mission of the non-profit organization Partners in Health (PIH) is to provide high quality healthcare in developing nations. They collaborate with the governments of eleven different countries to improve public health systems and provide services to those who need it most. 

In the healthcare ecosystem, a critical and ongoing challenge is the procurement of medical supplies. The established PIH process for vetting suppliers and purchasing safe, ethical, and affordable materials has been recently updated. My team's project aimed to create a staff training for current supplier vetting processes. This training is initially intended and designed for staff at the PIH Maternal Center of Excellence, which was constructed in 2021 and is located in Sierra Leone.

 

Our goal for this training is to empower individual staff with improved skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to navigate the complexities of supplier vetting, which in turn supports the goals of Partners in Health to provide high quality care. 

Before creating a lesson plan or training materials, it's critical to first understand the learners, the specific learning needs, and the environment. Through careful analysis via interviews with our client, we identified the following information, allowing us to create effective and customized content. 

Who are the learners? 

  • The learners are procurement staff living in Sierra Leone

  • They are hired locally from Sierra Leone and Rwanda 

  • Most have a solid understanding of the general procurement process and have attended previous trainings

  • Most are relatively new to Partners in Health 

  • They enjoy hands-on learning and authentic discussion 

What is the environment? 

  • Trainings are generally conducted in-person in Freetown, Sierra Leone, with a small group of learners  

  • Computers are available, but electricity and the internet can be unreliable

What is the task? 

Supplier vetting is a high-stakes and complex process. Staff are tasked with purchasing medical supplies, often urgently needed, from local vendors. In this process they must assess the safety, affordability, legality, and ethical compliance of the vendor in question. The task includes current both procedural instructions, as well as conceptual tasks, since staff are often required to weigh the risks and benefits of proceeding with a supplier. 

What are the learning requirements? 

An in-person training is appropriate due to the unstable availability of electricity and internet. Our training format will allow for presentation via computer, with options to facilitate the training without technology if needed. Learners will be given opportunities to review the procedural steps of supplier vetting, as well as discuss more nuanced scenarios. A supplementary job aid will serve as an ongoing support after the training. 
 

White Structure

02. Analysis

03. Design 

While designing our lesson plan, here are a few of the instructional principles we used: 

  1. Backward design

    • In backward design, determining the performance goal is completed before the materials are developed. We started by interviewing our client and analyzing the task before outlining and creating the content of the training. This ensured that our deliverables effectively align with the tasks that learners must complete on the job, and helped us avoid unnecessary content. ​

  2. Authentic practice 

    • Since this task includes following a procedure, the lesson includes opportunities to practice completing the steps of supplier vetting in an authentic way, as would be required on the job. Staff have the opportunity to review, interact with, and use authentic tools such as the supplier vetting criteria checklists. ​

  3. Making decisions 

    • While supplier vetting is a procedure, the situations staff encounter are not always black and white. This requires them to make decisions and understand the nuanced concepts of risks and benefits associated with the compliance criteria. To support this we incorporated simulated situations into the lesson which provide learners the opportunity to make decisions based on their conceptual understanding of the vetting process. 

Using the information from our analysis and the framework from the above ID design principles, we created the following training materials: 

Presentation: 

  • Agenda and learning goals, aligned with PIH core values  

  • In-depth supplier vetting process review 

  • Discussion prompts: challenging scenarios

Facilitator Guide: 

  • Overview and learning goals

  • Instructions for preparing training session

  • Materials list 

  • Detailed agenda and action items  

Job Aid: 

  • Supplier vetting criteria checklist 

04. Construction 

Training Materials

Click on the images below to explore our finished training materials

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Presentation

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Facilitator Guide

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Job Aid

05. Insights

Strategic communication: 

A challenging aspect of this project was communicating with team members and SME's across different time zones, and navigating complex schedule needs. Working asynchronously added additional difficulty, and at times limited the timeliness and clarity of feedback we received from our clients. This experience reinforced the importance of adaptability, setting clear communication expectations with all team members and stakeholders, and the need for a centralized hub for project materials and discussion. 

Broad collaboration: 

​This project has highlighted the immense benefits of working within a talented and committed team. By communicating frequently, dividing up tasks based on our unique strengths and interests, we not only worked more efficiently, but also created a more engaging and creative project than I had anticipated.

 

In addition, I am now acutely aware of the importance of confident collaboration with clients. Our project had a broad scope that proved difficult to initially define and narrow-down, in particular because we are unfamiliar with the process of supplier vetting. Asking for specific resources and feedback early and often is a critical task that will be a top priority in future projects. 

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