Choosing the Right Instructional Design Strategy for an Online Course

Choosing the Right Instructional Design Strategy for an Online Course

As an instructional designer, I always wonder why a course should have an apt strategy when it can be designed using images, interactions, games, etc. Why should I struggle to zero-in on a strategy for every course that I design and develop? These were a few questions in my mind, but I realized its importance when our company provided us with training on instructional strategies.

Instructional strategy is the most important aspect of creating an eLearning course. Instructional strategy is usually made up of the approach and treatment given to the subject matter. Now, let me share with you the importance of a strategy and a few tips on how to decide on the strategies for an online course.

Here are the different types of instructional strategies:


Story Telling

Guided Learning (Avatars)

Guided Learning (Avatars)

Scenario-based Learning

Scenario-based Learning

Learning through Exploration and Discovery (LEAD)

Learning through Exploration and Discovery (LEAD)

Explore and Learn Strategy

Now let’s see the different ways to decide on a strategy with ease.


It is obvious that your audience don’t have a common education background and not mandatory that they are all computer savvy. Your strategy should be crafted keeping these things in mind, and for this you should know who your target audiences are. The target audience can be as follows.

  • Children vs. Adults
  • Computer literates vs. People not so comfortable using computers
  • White collared vs. Blue collared learners
  • Cultural Groups


As an instructional designer, you understand that not all subjects are the same nor can be taught in the same manner. For instance, mathematics can be taught best by practice and not by oral lectures. To make your job easy, you should first analyze the content, and then zero-in on the type of strategy that suits the subject. For instance, let’s take “supply chain management”.

This is a complex and ‘dry’ subject, now it’s your turn to make it interesting and teach it effectively. Here, the use of guided learning will be apt. An avatar guides them through the course making learning fun and engaging. Hence, it is important that you should always choose a learning strategy for every subject.

Learning Environment

All of us are aware of the fact that learning depends on different environments. As an instructional designer, you cannot assess when and where the learner will take the course, and hence your strategy should align itself with any kind of learning environment. Common learning environments include the following.

  • In a computer lab
  • At a work station
  • While travelling

Ideal instructional strategy will also consider the different learning environments your learner might be in.

Now you must have understood how to decide strategies based on the audience, subject, and learning environments. Hope this blog will help you craft strategies that deliver the best learning outcomes. Do you have anything to add to this list? Please do share.

View E-book on Instructional Design Strategies to design Engaging E-learning Courses