In the past few months, many people asked me the “whats” and “whys” of instructional design and why eLearning courses need the instructional design bend. I am sure you will get the answers to these questions by the time you reach the end of this blog.
So what exactly is Instructional Design? Instructional design is a process where instructional designers analyze the inputs and present them in such a way that they are easy to learn. It involves choosing relevant content to meet the performance objectives, enhancing the content using media, and finally providing space for the learner to practice. To be concise, the way you are presenting information to learners is more important than the information itself.
Now let’s look at why eLearning courses need instructional design.
“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, let’s look at a few reasons why instructional design adds value to eLearning courses.
Most learners of eLearning courses are adults, and adult learners have a wide range of emotions and life experiences. So it is best to direct your course keeping emotions in mind; this can be done by stating the purpose of the course, determining the learning outcomes and understanding how the course will help them to be more effective and capable on their jobs.A heavy content might lead to “data fatigue syndrome”. Instead of cramming more material into a learning session, it is wise to chunk the content to what is essential, bring proper flow and rewrite the content to shape it according to the learning needs. To overcome this problem and to spice up a page-long content, use different media techniques that suit the content. A judicious use of graphics, interactivities, and audio enhances content.
It has been observed that learners learn the best when doing, rather than passively assimilating information. Games and assessments help learners to reinforce what they have learned. Assessments need to be designed so that they make learners respond and thereby achieve their learning objectives. To shape a good eLearning course, align learning objectives, content, and assessments.
These are some of the reasons why instructional design adds value to eLearning courses. If you have any other thoughts, do share.