Why You Need an Instructional Designer to Develop an eLearning Course?

Why You Need an Instructional Designer to Develop an eLearning Course?

Why do we need to hire an Instructional Designer to develop an eLearning course? Wouldn’t a content developer suffice?

Have you ever tried to convert a face to face course in to the eLearning format and failed to meet the learner’s expectations? May be this is what you missed.

An eLearning course might share the same purpose of classroom training, which is to transfer information to the learner in an efficient manner. But the process involved in planning and development of training in these two domains is entirely different. As the digital device assumes the role of an instructor in eLearning, it will not be easy to match the conventional classroom experience. However, with the help of eLearning professionals such as Instructional Designers (IDs), you can set your course on the right track and meet your training needs.

Why You Need an Instructional Designer to Develop an eLearning Course?

Here’s an example. Check out the difference between the two screens below.


Classroom Content

Elearning Approch

E-learning Approach

You may have noticed that the presentation of content in the eLearning course involved logical division of content on the screen. Effective user-interaction is needed for information efficient transfer. This generates an interest in the learner to navigate through the course and acquire knowledge. This kind of approach is possible only through application of instructional design principles, and a skilled ID has excellent knowledge of these principles.

 Let’s dig deeper.

Developing an eLearning course should not be limited to the following steps:

  • Identifying right content
  • Chunking/editing content as per the training need
  • Designing colorful templates and other media elements
  • Deploying the content on to the eLearning shell/build
  • Delivering the course

These steps complete the development process of an eLearning course, but do not always serve the purpose of providing effective learning experience.

Let’s try to identify the key element which is missing and helps us deliver not just information to the learners but an experience, the Instructional Design.

So, what is instructional design all about?

what is instructional design all about?

Instructional Design in simple words is the design and development of instructional methodologies that help create better learning experiences. Similar to conventional training systems, the primary focus here is the learner.

Again, why do we need an ID?

If you expect your online training program to contain only pieces of information that are represented neatly on colorful screens supported by a few media elements, you need not hire an ID. An experienced content developer would be able to develop the program.

But if you expect your training program to create an impact on the learner and help him acquire knowledge and skills, which he can apply effectively, you need an ID.

Why do we need an ID?

Let us see what value addition the IDs bring to your course. IDs have good knowledge of how people learn and hence possess ideas that will help them learn better. So, instructional design contributes more than information transfer. Instead, it is about helping the learners make sense of this information he/she acquired from the learning program.

IDs come with the certain skills, which help them to perform the following tasks effectively.

  • Identify what learners exactly need to learn
  • Develop learning objectives that ensure proper information transfer
  • Sort and structure content for easy understanding
  • Identify visual aids that enhance user experience while maintaining user’s focus on content
  • Develop assessments that do not merely focus on revisiting the information but check how the learner implements this learning in real life.

Many content developers cannot perform these tasks efficiently.

If you intend to develop excellent learning experiences that focus on imparting real life skills that can be used well, you need an experienced ID. What do you think? Do share your views.

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