Skip to content

5 Elements of Instructional Designing

Let me ask you a question.

Do you know when the process of designing course materials started?


The process of designing started in the early 1900s; during those days, it was in the initial stage but in the 1940s military personnel wanted an effective training material that was based on the principles of instruction and behavior of a human. The test was basically to screen human ability and it was successful.

The field of psychology then used the training system to develop procedures such as analysis, design and evaluation. Since then, the drive to develop more training courses intensified. This led to the development of e-tools, which are an easily accessible tool for learners. “ATI” anytime information just like an ATM.

It is a process through which learning needs can be analyzed, and a delivery system is developed to meet these needs. The most important point in this process is the source, a plan, organizing it, and an effective course design.

Five Effective Elements of Instructional Designing

1. To understand the characteristics of a learner:

While creating a course, the parameters are different for different sets of learners. For instance, adults are always curious about why they should learn something and they also prefer to be self-directed. So it is very important to bear this fact in mind when designing a course for adult learners. Likewise, designing the course for children is not the same as for adults because children are always dependent on the method of explanation.

2. Set objectives for learning:

The most important point is that by the end of the course the learner should be able to clearly assess himself. The objective goes through a process that includes performance, preferred conditions and specific criteria. Objectives that are well defined help in selecting proper content, kind of methods, media and assessments.

Here is a screen shot that shows how to set the learning objectives for the course.

Set objectives for learning

3. Arrange the objectives and contents in a sequence:

Extensive content is invariably available in different books, websites, journals, presentations, videos so on and so forth. Based on the learning objectives, the content can be collected and the most important point is to arrange it and prepare a list of topics and sub-topics and to know the proper way of sequencing the objectives and content you should consult a Subject Matter Expert (SME). The content has to be classified into the types — facts, concepts, principles, process and procedure. This will help in designing a proper learning course and also more effectively helps to test the content.

Here is a screen shot that shows Content that is classified into the different types: facts, concepts, process, procedures and principles.

Arrange the objectives and contents in a sequence

4. Presentation patterns:

After the three elements, that is, understanding the learner, setting objective and then the sequentially arranging the objectives and content, the most important point is to decide the presentation patterns for the content. It includes pre-determined activity, presentation, assessments and learners’ feedback. Chunking information into easy-to-understand bits encourages learners to take up the course. In the process of feedback with reasons, for all answers that are just a “yes” or “no” the reasons should be specified or explained clearly. While designing courses, focus should be on individuals rather than on groups so that the instructional design process will be more effective.

5. To assess the performance of the learner:

To know whether the learner has understood the course, you can choose pre-test or either of formative or summative evaluation criteria. Assessment with appropriate feedback is very essential at the end of the course because learners can get an idea of their knowledge levels and decide whether to take on more training courses to enhance their skills.

The above “five elements of instructional designing” can help you to create an instructionally interactive course rather than a passive one. Do share your comments on this subject.

nstructional Design 101: A Handy Reference Guide to eLearning Designers