ChatGPT Prompts for Instructional Designers – Action Mapping

Action mapping is arguably the most effective method for creating meaningful learning experiences.

“The goal of action mapping is to solve business problems by changing job behavior.”

Cathy Moore

Thanks to action mapping, our team has taken our e-learning offerings to the next level. Being heavily invested in technology and AI, we excessively use various chatbots. For the record, while we utilize publicly available services such as ChatGPT and Google Gemini, we are also exploring enterprise-grade versions. These explorations will be the subject of upcoming blog posts.

Of course, ChatGPT cannot magically create the entire learning experience. However, it proves invaluable in generating ideas, researching e-learning topics, understanding action mapping, and communicating with stakeholders who might not be familiar with it.


As an Instructional Designer well-versed in the latest methodologies and strategies for effective learning, I seek a comprehensive explanation of “Action Mapping,” a concept developed by Cathy Moore. This explanation should encompass its foundational principles, core objectives, and its practical application in designing engaging and outcome-oriented instructional materials.

Let’s check the response from ChatGPT:

Action Mapping, developed by Cathy Moore, is an instructional design model focused on optimizing the impact of training by linking it directly to the desired business outcomes. Unlike traditional models that often start with the content, Action Mapping begins with the end in mind: the actions that learners need to perform in the real world to achieve organizational goals.

The core of Action Mapping involves four main steps:

  1. Identify Business Outcomes: Begin by clarifying the specific, measurable business goals that the training aims to support. This ensures that the training is directly tied to tangible organizational objectives, rather than abstract educational goals.
  1. Determine the Actions: Once the business outcomes are clear, the next step is to identify the precise actions that employees need to take to achieve these outcomes. This shifts the focus from what learners need to know to what they need to do, emphasizing performance and behavior change over information transmission.
  1. Analyze Practice Activities: After defining the necessary actions, the model recommends designing practice activities that closely simulate real-world tasks. These activities should provide learners with opportunities to practice the desired actions in a controlled, feedback-rich environment, thereby bridging the gap between theory and practice.
  1. Identify the Minimal Information Required: Only after defining the outcomes, actions, and practice activities does the model suggest identifying the essential information learners need to perform the actions. This approach ensures that content is streamlined and focused, reducing cognitive overload and ensuring that every piece of information provided directly supports the desired behaviors.

The practical application of Action Mapping in instructional design involves iterative development and close collaboration with subject matter experts and stakeholders. This ensures that the training materials are not only engaging and interactive but also directly aligned with the strategic objectives of the organization.

By emphasizing real-world actions and tying learning directly to business results, Action Mapping offers a pragmatic and outcome-oriented approach to instructional design. It encourages designers to create more engaging, efficient, and effective learning experiences that have a measurable impact on organizational performance.

Let’s explore a few more prompts (this time, I will not include the answers from ChatGPT).


As an instructional designer within [industry/company], I am currently developing a [training/course] focused on [product/service], specifically designed for [target audience]. My goal is to clearly articulate the underlying business problem this training aims to address and the specific behavioral changes we aim to instigate among the participants. To ensure the training content is precisely aligned with our objectives, I invite you to assist me in defining these elements more clearly. Could you please provide detailed insights or pose targeted questions regarding the business challenges we are facing, the exact nature of the behavioral shifts we aspire to achieve through this training, and any other relevant context that would enrich the development process?


As an instructional designer committed to employing Cathy Moore’s action mapping framework, I am in the process of developing a [training/course] aimed at achieving [business goal] by facilitating a shift in [target audience]’s behaviors to encompass [behavioral change 1], [behavioral change 2], and [behavioral change 3]. To effectively tailor this learning experience, I need to diagnose the root causes behind the current discrepancy between the [target audience]’s actual and desired actions. In accordance with the principles of action mapping, I seek a detailed analysis that pinpoints potential barriers within their environment, alongside identifying any deficiencies in their skills, knowledge, or motivation that may be hindering the adoption of the targeted behavioral changes.


As an experienced instructional designer, I am seeking your expertise in crafting a structured outline for a [training/course] centered around [topic], specifically tailored for [target audience]. This curriculum should be meticulously designed following Cathy Moore’s action mapping methodology, with a keen focus on achieving the strategic business objective of [business goal]. The ultimate aim is to foster and instill [desired behavioral change 1], [desired behavioral change 2], [desired behavioral change 3] within the participants, thereby directly contributing to our organizational objectives.

To ensure the course is highly effective and relevant, please incorporate strategies that address the unique challenges faced by our [target audience]. These challenges include:

  • Environmental Factors: [specific environmental roadblocks]
  • Skillset Gaps: [particular skills that need development or enhancement]
  • Knowledge Deficiencies: [key areas where knowledge is lacking]
  • Motivational Barriers: [specific motivational or engagement issues to be overcome]

Your outline should detail the sequence of activities, learning modules, practical exercises, and evaluation methods, all constructed to overcome these roadblocks and lead to the desired behavioral transformations. The proposed outline should not only align with our business goals but also engage the [target audience] in a meaningful and impactful learning journey.


As you can see, the possibilities of maximizing Cathy Moore’s action mapping methodology with ChatGPT are boundless. What are your thoughts? How do you use generative AI when strategizing on a learning experience for your audience?