Learning is an ongoing process. People learn in a step-wise manner from known to unknown things and from simple concepts to complex concepts. From a research perspective, the learning theory emphasizes the importance of using the learning process to determine the design of courses.
Instructional design is all about making learning meaningful and effective. For learning to be effective, the learner must go through the four phases of the learning cycle.
Setting context – Learning process begins with setting the context. Start the course in such a way that it grabs the attention of the learner. This phase includes background information such as importance, key benefits, etc.
It answers the question “Why?”
Acquiring information -The next phase includes the core content of the course. The core content is based on concepts, procedures, processes, or principles. Any content is for the purpose of imparting knowledge, skills, and attitudes. So the course content should be learner-centric, catering to their immediate learning requirements – that which will have a positive effect in their jobs.
It answers the question “What?”
Applying knowledge – In this phase, learners develop an understanding of how to apply the new knowledge and skills. It includes activities, case studies, exercises, etc. For example, in an eLearning course, case studies keep the learners engaged and resolve problems by thinking creatively. It greatly improves the learning experience.
It answers the question “How?”
Experimenting – This phase helps learners transfer the acquired knowledge to their performance context needs. It is the most important stage for improving the performance. It includes job aids, checklists, resources, etc., which serve as reference guides and help them make decisions in their workplace.
It answers the question “Now what?”
Learning will be effective when instructional design is coupled with the phases of learning cycle and when learners execute all four phases of the cycle.