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The Process for Implementing Instructional Design

Written By Pratibha Siddhanti

The Process for Implementing Instructional Design

Effective courses do not just happen – they are made effective through effective course design! To ensure that courses meet the requirements of the client and learners and support the training framework, we use a process called Instructional Design.

Instructional Design is a systematic approach of developing instructions, using adult learning and design theories.

There are many models for Instructional Design. Here, I am presenting a simple back-to-the-basics, seven-step Instructional Design process, which ensures an efficient development process and a sound solution in the least time possible. While most of us might be familiar with the steps listed here, it may help to revisit them.

1. List Instructional Design Goals and Objectives: The first step in developing effective instruction is to identify its goals and objectives. At this stage, you need to develop a blueprint for the instruction where you should state:

  • Who the learners are
  • What their learning styles are
  • What knowledge you would like to impart
  • What your approach would be to address the learning need
  • How you would present the content to enhance the learning

2. Determine an Evaluation Method: Based on answers you get from the previous phase of analysis, determine how to assess your learners. The purpose of this stage is to ensure the program accomplishes its objectives in helping learners develop their skills, improve their performance and implement organizational changes.

3. Design the Program: Now that we have discovered a few things about the learners, the content and client requirements, it’s time to design the program. Apply sound instructional design principles to make the course effective. Nail down the instructional, visual and technical design strategies in this step.

4. Develop the Program: In this step, storyboards are created that give a complete layout of the training program in terms of visual and text. Getting a sign off on storyboards at this stage saves a lot of time during development. A best practice is to create a prototype in this stage to get a sign off on design.

In case of eLearning, during the development, the storyboards are also brought to life and translated into actual training materials. During the courseware development, you will need the help of technical experts such as multimedia developers or programmers. As a good practice, collaborate with developers and graphic designers in the early stages of design itself – this will help avoid rework and wasted effort.

5. Pilot-test the Program: Before you actually launch the training program, test the developed program on a few learners. This enables you to gather feedback from the learners on the objectives you set and the design you used. This will also allow you to test that the training program helps them improve or enhance their skills, knowledge and attitudes.

6. Revise the Program: Based on the feedback you receive, you may need to tweak the program to better address the learner’s requirements, redefine the instructional goals and objectives of the course and implement necessary changes to the program if required. However, careful planning during the design stage will ensure that you only need minor tweaks and not a major overhaul of the course material.

7. Deliver the Program: Finally, your training program is all set to be launched to all learners.

There are many Instructional Systems Design (ISD) models out there, most of which are based on popular models such as ADDIE etc. What is the process that you follow when designing and developing eLearning courseware? Do share your thoughts on this.

View E-book on Instructional Design 101: A Handy Reference Guide to E-learning Designers

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  • thank you for this good article.

  • Carl Facciponte

    Good article! I also like to reinforce the idea that training design should be approached with all of the rigor of an engineering science rather than an exercise in language configuration. If the design is not solid, the content may be a lot of fun and entertaining, but the end product will not get the desired results.

  • Marsha

    When designing an eLearning course, I’ve used an iterative design approach. Two models used for iterative design are Layers of Negotiation Model and Recursive, Reflective Instructional Design model. The Layers of Negotiation model utilizes ADDIE as a recursive process that spirals through the analysis, design, development, and evaluation phases. This model is focused on using participatory design where the learners, SMEs and designers are engaged in design of instruction from multiple perspectives during multiple times. The focus is on designing through social negotiation by involving all participants throughout the project. Participants design based on shared beliefs that are incorporated into the design and development of the instructional materials.

    Recursive, Reflective Instructional Design model is based on design guidelines rather than required steps. The design principles are based on 1) recursive design or iterative in nature. Second design principle is focused on design based on reflection based on thr realities of the learner through the eyes of the designer. The final design guideline is based on participatory design by engaging the users as participants in the design process. The participants are viewed as experts not the instructional designer. Designers collaborate with users in the design decisions.

    See Willis,J. (2009). Three trends in instructional design. Constructivist instructional design; foundations, models, and examples.

  • Roopa

    Hi Pratibha,

    I found your article very straightforward and to the point. I have 8 years of experience in elearning for various requirements. I would like to further enhance my skills.

    Would you know of some course that could help me with that? I have provided my email id, so you can respond.

    Thanks
    Roopa