Skip to content

3 E-learning “Must Know” Laws for an Instructional Designer

It is according to the law.” creates a sense of discipline, strictness, and self-command amongst all of us. Why is it so? What is so powerful about this particular word? Law is a set of rules to be followed, failing which, will lead to severe actions.

Ever wondered what if we had “laws in instructional design”? Yes, you read it right, laws in instructional design will pave the way for the designing of great eLearning courses. Following these laws will enhance your courses and make them effective. (Do not get frightened, no one is going penalize you for disobeying these instructional design laws.)

Law One:

“An eLearning course and its learning objectives must be in synch.”

This law means that the learning objectives or the learning outcomes must be synchronized with the eLearning course.

In childhood, most of us never questioned the need to learn something except for the brainiest such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, who at a very young age knew what they exactly wanted to learn, that is, they set their learning objectives. According to one of the Adult Learning Principles, “Adults need to know why they should learn something.” Tell the learners what the objectives of the course are and what the learners will achieve by taking it. This will help in achieving the framed learning objectives.

For example, learning objectives can be framed as:

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain the laws in eLearning

Not following this law will lead to losing the attention of your learners at the beginning itself.

Law Two:

“For the content presented, complementary visual effects are a must.”

In the beginning of this blog, mention of the word “law” must have brought images of a courtroom, or a law book or even a gavel to your mind. That is the impact of visualization. We all learn fast when we are shown complementary images for the text. Use as many as images, animations, visual effects in your eLearning courses as possible. They help learners understand the concepts, because it is always easier to relate things to images for better learning. It is a human tendency to remember everything in the form of images. So images help learners in retaining learning for a long period of time.

Use interactivities such as click on numbers, click on tabs, hotspots to engage learners and to involve them in the learning process.

Few screenshots of interactivities are shown below:

Screenshot of Interactivities

Screenshot of Interactivity

Not following this law, will make your learners feel that the courses are monotonous and their retention power will reduce too.

Law Three:

“For every learning objective, an aligning assessment with feedback is a must.”

This law means that the assessments in any eLearning course must be aligned with the learning objectives. Learning is successful only when the learning objectives are achieved. Assessments do not just mean asking a set of questions at the end of a course. Use formative assessments after each topic. This helps to know how far the learners have reached the set objectives. And also use summative questions to check the complete understanding of the course by the learners.

Also give feedback for each and every assessment question. Sometimes it happens that a learner might just guess the right answer. In such a situation giving feedback helps that learner to know why he was actually right, instead of letting him smile for his good guess. In case of incorrect answer, tell the learner why he was wrong and what the correct answer is. This whole concept of feedback reinforces learning.

Disobeying law three, will not reinforce eLearning .

So the next time you design a course, are you ready to follow the above basic three laws? If yes, please do share your thoughts, and any more laws to be added. If no, beware of the instructional design police!

Instructional Design Strategies to Design Engaging eLearning Courses