Quick Instructional Design Tips for Custom E-learning Development

Quick Instructional Design Tips for Custom E-learning Development

Instructional design is at the core of the custom e-learning development. Instructional design is not just placing information before learners. Rather it is presenting information in such a manner that learners are able to gain knowledge that they can carry back to their workplaces and also retain it for a longer duration.

Broadly speaking, good instructional design is commonsense coupled with observation of what works and what doesn’t for an adult learner.Here are a few time-savers for custom eLearning Development.

    • Know your learners: The tricky part here is to design training material that is easily understood by the learners. Don’t develop content at a level where only an expert would understand. It’s an art for an expert to develop simple content.

For example:

Be equipped to articulate value selling versus features selling and support the customer throughout the sales process.

Explain the importance of value selling to the customers rather than features selling.

    • Create clear learning objectives:Each course should possess a specific objective and the content should focus on meeting that objective. Learners should be given a clear idea regarding the course, even at the beginning. You need to provide them with the information they are looking for. The writing of learning objectives focuses attention away from content and onto the learners. These objectives will help in the development of course material and will serve as a yardstick for measuring to what extent the learners have understood.

Learning objectives

    • Reveal What’s-In-It-For-Me: Adults need to know the reason for learning something. This will help them perform better.They love to be self-directing.
    • Use the variety of media: Use the variety of media available in eLearning to serve various learning styles, such as auditory, visual and kinesthetic learners. Use narration, graphics, and text judiciously.

Kolb’s learning theory introduces us to four distinct learning styles (or preferences), which are based on a four-stage learning cycle – learning by feeling, watching, thinking and doing.

Kolbs learnin theory

  • Provide assessments and feedback: Assessment is central to learning and teaching. Assessment and feedback form a significant part of the learning experience.

Offer explanation for correct answers

For example, sometimes, learners could choose a right answer based on wrong reasons. A brief explanation gives them a chance to reinforce key concepts of the subject. So, if learners choose a right answer, congratulate them and state why the answer is correct. You could also add some relevant additional piece of information. Ex: If you would like to know more visit….”

State reasons for wrong answers

By simply saying “incorrect “or “try again”, you will not add much value for the learners. If a wrong answer is selected, give a hint and suggest that they try again. Suppose the course is related to safety procedures or compliance, after marking an answer wrong, you could follow with an explanation about the possible consequence in a job situation. Ex: Oops! Sorry that is not the correct answer. If you do this you might cause a short circuit in the system.

  • Provide job aids: Job aids such as checklists, flowcharts and FAQs serve as quick reference guides and help learners perform their jobs in a better way.

For example, in sales or product training, learners need to know the answers to certain questions like how, what, when and why the product is used. In such cases, FAQs are used with all the questions needed and their respective answers.


Understanding learners’ needs and applying commonsense to meet their requirements will enrich your courses.

These are some of the tips that I follow while working on a project, hope you find them useful.If you have any other tips, do share your thoughts.

Applying good instructional design tips will help you enrich your eLearning courses.

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