I found two examples of instructional design at work right in my local Lowes store.
The first was a simple display demonstrating the use of Dek-Block Piers from Deckplans.com. Along with the display, a poster and take-home flyers explained that Dek-Block Piers could be used to build a deck without having to dig or pour cement footings, and because of their unique floating deck design, without a permit in most cases.
The purpose of the instruction was to inform about their product with the ultimate goal, I suppose being to sell the product. It must have been effective, because we bought enough to build a small front porch. I think that from that instruction, two key things I learned were that as long as you don’t attach the deck to your home (a floating deck), it is not necessary to get a permit, at least where I live, and that leveling a deck can be accomplished very easily using these piers because you don’t level the ground below the piers, you level the tops of the 4x4s resting in the piers to which you connect the decking. The piers just have to be sitting flat, but not level in relation to each other.
Another example of instructional design at Lowes might also be classified as instructional technology. It was a multimedia demonstration of a countertop resurfacing product which, after application, supposedly makes your cheap counters look like granite.
This one was not quite as effective, at least in my opinion. While it caught my attention and I was definitely intrigued, I’ve yet to fork out the money to try it. One thing I learned is that it would require going almost 3 days without my kitchen countertops from initial sanding until I could resume “light” use and there was several hours of active (no doubt back-breaking) labor involved in between. Add to that a hefty price tag and replacing my counters looks more attractive all the time.
Instructional design certainly is everywhere, even at my favorite home improvement store!