Download Brochure

"I wish I had read this book before designing my first course."

Our handbook is packed with practical advice, accessible guides, and everything they don't tell you about corporate learning design.
Get the eBook
Buy a Physical Copy

What is included in, The Do It Messy Approach: A step-by-step guide for instructional designers and online learning developers (IDOLs)?

Step by step checklists to help you design a full course script and blueprint.

Demonstrations, samples, prompts, and examples for how to design a full course script and blueprint.

Integration & enhancement strategies for your course script and blueprint.

lady with book in hand idol

The Do It Messy Approach is a book for new and experienced instructional designers that will teach you an easy method to design instruction for corporate training on any topic. 

The problem or task-centered approach I share here can be applied to solving any business problem that includes a knowledge, skill, or attitude gap. I know these are big claims bursting with enormous promise. You may be skeptical and wondering how I can back up such statements. Well, not only do I have a Ph.D. in education specializing in instructional design and online learning, but also I spent more than 17 years designing and delivering training on everything from lab management to construction protocols to sales processes. The simplest way for me to qualify my teaching confidence, however, is to share with you my past student success stories, which are sprinkled throughout the book. But for now, you can rest assured that everything I teach in the book comes directly from methods my students have implemented, tested, and iterated upon.



"As the founder of the IDOL Academy, I knew my students were looking for a course design formula."

When I started IDOL Academy I had a Ph.D., I had decades of experience, lots of passion, and a dream.

What I didn't expect was the difficulty to make instructional design a learnable skill. There are so many theories, models, methods, and sophisticated concepts around learning design. Every day, I wished there was some resource that I could turn to for help. A resource that helped me teach course design as a step-by-step formula for any topic. 

I couldn't find the resource I was searching for so I decided to make it. 

I spent 3 years just collecting information, data, and research from my own students. I constantly applied every learning and found where it failed. I knew the best resource to help my own students was the First Principles of Instruction by David Merrill.  However, my students don't have the time, expertise, or patience to wade through the excellent textbook and research done by David Merril in his book. 

This is part of the reason why I wanted to write this book. To create a step by step guide for designing course blueprints that integrates all the best practices and theories in a simple and easy-to-understand formula. You can literally use this formula to design courses that are effective, engaging, and structured over and over again.

I will walk you through each step in the formula, and I'll model the formula in this book to help you learn how to design instruction.  

I put all my knowledge, insights, tips, strategies, and learnings into a singular resource — a well-designed, well-tested handbook on your desk. A handbook that makes you feel like you can design great courses too.

After testing this book with 100s of people designing learning around the world at big and small companies, I'm confident there's at least one idea, tip, strategy, or guide that resonates with you.

I hope you never feel like you can't do this. I hope you use the Do It Messy Approach to cultivate a beginner's mindset and design thinking. 

The Do It Messy Approach trains you to focus on what your learners need to know and the most efficient way to deliver that knowledge. Combining the beginner’s mindset with design thinking helps you avoid distractions and get to a complete course blueprint more quickly. From there, you can seek feedback, iterate on the content you created, add visuals and other enhancement strategies, and continue improving upon your original design. This is the Do it Messy Approach in a nutshell.

I believe that everyone can design instruction.

And this book will help you along that journey. 

In love + learning,

Robin Sargent, Ph.D.

Author, The Do It Messy Approach

Founder, CEO @ IDOL courses

See What's Inside:

Praise for 

The Do It Messy Approach

"I love the Do It Messy approach! It's an easy read with great guidance from start to finish. It takes away that intimidating feeling of how do I create this learning experience and turns it into a simple method to follow."

-Ann Hargrove

"I was fortunate enough to be one of the early readers of Dr. Sargent's book. I have to say that her clear, concise, and simple to follow approach is easy to absorb and enjoyable to read. I love that it’s right to the point and doesn’t overcomplicate things. If you are looking for an ID guidebook, you found it. 🤓"

-Dr. Luke Hobson

"The Do It Messy Approach is the most encouraging, accessible, and easy-to-follow guide available for novice instructional designers. Dr. Robin Sargent does an excellent job of keeping you entertained and motivated to take action and build your own course...the messy way. She teaches progress, not perfection, which gets you quick and easy results!"

-Janelle Newman

"The Do It Messy Approach gives new IDOLs the opportunity to take what they have seen/heard/maybe even learned about instructional design and get a step by step approach on HOW the work actually gets done. It's like watching the chef in the kitchen before that fancy small plate gets to your table. The checklists at the end of each chapter PLUS all the resources at the end make it a one stop shop for IDOLs!"

-Vanessa Alzate

"The Do It Messy Approach is the book every new instructional designer or accidental instructional designer needs. It blends theory and practice in a useful way while being fun. It doesn't just tell; it shows. Most importantly, it helps readers get past the procrastination that comes with uncertainty and perfectionism and just get things done. You can walk away from this book with two meaningful learning experiences, one that you've read and one that you've created for others."

-Dr. Nicole Papaioannou

"The Do It Messy Approach is the best way to dive into instructional design head first! It has everything you need to start designing and developing your first course. I read this book when I was stuck on how to structure a series of courses and Chapter 8 was my breakthrough! I love Dr. Robin's "quick and dirty" approach. It gets you straight to work and on the fast track to completing a well-structured, learner-centered course."

-Kristi Olivia

"This helped me understand Merrill's "First Principles of Instruction" in a way that reading Merrill's book never did and it gave me a framework for how to actually apply the principles."

-Jay Lash

"Dr. Robin's quick (and messy!) approach provides a clear, step-by-step formula for designing a course prototype. There's some research and theory mixed in to back up her methods, but this book is mostly about diving in and taking action."

-Erica Ashton

Access your copy instantly

Check out and get The Do It Messy Approach delivered straight to your inbox.

BONUS! Get instant login access to all the resources in the book.