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Best Practices in Instructional Design

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Best Practices in Instructional Design

Before you start reading this blog, I request you to take a glance at these two statements:

Statement 1: “Customer profiling is an important part of product training. It includes a description of prospective customers with specific information about their buying patterns, creditworthiness, and purchase history. The information about the CUSTOMER refers not just to demographic, geographic, and psychographic characteristics of the prospects but also to a clear idea of their specific needs.”

Statement 2: Customer profiling:

An important part of product training:

  • Description of prospective customers with specific information:
    • Buying patterns
    • Creditworthiness
    • Purchase history
  • Information about the customer:
    • Demographic
    • Geographic
    • Psychographic

My question is this: which one of these statements do you find is easier to digest? If I am not wrong, the second statement would be your preferred choice. These questions reflect the job of an instructional designer. Thus, the instructional designer uses a standard learning theory for the development of the final course. It consists of all the instructions and other specifications.

Four instructional design best practices:

A professional instructional designer might have designed a variety of courses – for different customers and they can range from instructor-based classroom training to self-paced eLearning. Probably, they have used different instructional design modalities and methodologies. Yes, it is true that the treatment depends upon the content. However, in the general context, if you were to figure out the highly recommended best practices, the list will encompass the following:

  • Don’t try to cover too much information:

    This is one of the most important practices IDs have to follow. Instead of cramming more material into a learning session, it is wise to chunk down the content to what is essential. A heavy content might lead to “data fatigue syndrome”. The learner may find it difficult to digest the whole content and the main motive of helping the learners reinforce their learning will be totally lost.

  • Enhance the content using a variety of content types/media:

    Therefore, to overcome the above-mentioned problem and to spice up a page-long content, it becomes important to take the help of different media techniques. An instructional designer begins by chunking the whole content (on-screen) and presents it into such a way that the learners don’t have to spend much time in searching. A judicious use of graphics, interactivity, and videos further enhances the flow of content.

  • Choose relevant content to meet performance objectives:

    “Begin with the end in mind” reflects one of the effective habits stated by Steven Covey. It is true that even the best-designed training materials become worthless, if it doesn’t add value to the learners’ job role. So, an instructional designer must be aware that his course must meet the performance objectives of the learner.

  • Provide space for the learner to practice:

    The inclusion of hands-on activities or games might help the learners to reinforce what they have learned. From an instructional perspective, it has been observed that learners learn best when doing, rather than passively assimilating information. It is to be assessed that the learner completes the exercises before moving to the next content.

To summarize, the way you are presenting information to learners is more important than the information itself. Therefore, it is necessary to be responsive to your learner’s need and note the limits of how much factual information a learner can assimilate, etc.

Thus, all these practices provide the bedrock for any instructional designer to design the course that they also meet the learners’ requirements.

View Presentation on Effective Qualities and Skills of an Instructional Designer

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