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Implementing Instructional Design: All That There Is To Know

The eLearning industry is having quite the moment. No matter how niche, you can find several platforms offering rich and in-depth knowledge on any subject. In fact, choosing the right online course can prove to be difficult when learners have so many options. In the end, it all really comes down to how well a course is structured and delivered, keeping its target audience in mind. And that is what implementing Instructional Design (ID) is all about. It focuses on the process of planning, creating, and delivering a learning experience, all while keeping the overall learning objective in mind. This learner-centric approach helps participants achieve the specific and measurable learning goals that they’ve set out to achieve. Knowing that their specific learning needs are being met, learners are inclined to opt for more content. This is why it’s imperative to develop content in a way that leverages instructional design.

When course authors have a clear idea of what instructional design is and how they can implement it in eLearning, they can effectively create rich learning experiences. Let’s take a look.

Understanding Instructional Design

The origin of instructional design goes back to World War II when the military dealt with its high learning demand by breaking down complex mechanical tasks. As a result, training became much more efficient by breaking down each task into small, systematic steps. This approach to learning was so successful that it was replicated in a variety of settings, from workplaces to educational institutions. And now, instructional design is about to transform the eLearning landscape for the better.

Instructional design implementation begins with assessing the learner’s goals, learning patterns, and behaviors. Based on this, the course content can be planned in a way that the learner responds to best. It is important to ensure that the learning objectives of the course align with the learning goals of the student. Then, your staff, a pedagogy team, or whoever is planning and directing your eLearning project can conceptualize these goals. Once this is ensured, course authors and instructional designers can then leverage various learning strategies to implement the instructional intervention. This can range from incorporating a variety of content types to different mediums to microlearning techniques and more.

The Need For Implementing Instructional Design in eLearning

Puts The Learners First

Keeping learners at the center of the learning process ensures that they are best equipped to make the most of their learning. Having studied the learning behaviors of individual students, it is possible to come up with personalized learning strategies that each learner best responds to. Some students may learn best with visuals or practical application of concepts. Others may prefer structured notes or interactive concept maps. Whatever the preference, instructional design puts the learners’ needs first by marrying the desired goals and outcomes with a specific content strategy.

More Engagement

Studies show that students that are actively engaged are 2.5 times more likely to perform well and 4.5 times more likely to be hopeful about their future. Therefore, no one can underestimate the importance of engaging learners. Instructional designers aim to incorporate engaging exercises into any learning intervention. From frequent student participation to group activities, and gamified exercises, there are many ways course authors can grab the learners’ attention.

Better Retention

Naturally, if a course is designed to be personalized and hands-on, students are more likely to retain the information relayed to them. Instructional design focuses on ways to ensure that learners are not overwhelmed by the information provided to them. By implementing the right instructional design techniques, learners can acquire knowledge much more efficiently. Course designers can do that by studying learner behaviors and allowing active application of concepts.

Encourages Action

Good instructional design motivates learners to put their conceptual knowledge to practice. This is achieved by inspiring and motivating learners, which in turn, encourages them to act. Incorporating real-world scenarios in the content allows learners to appreciate the practical value of their training and enables them to transfer theoretical knowledge into their everyday lives.

How To Incorporate ID Strategies Into eLearning

Variety Of Instruction Mediums

Good instructional design avoids monotony. Learners respond positively to content if it is presented to them in different ways. In eLearning, this is especially important, since learners are not physically present in a classroom, and so they must remain engaged through their screens. By distributing information through a variety of course content, like videos, slideshows, podcasts, flashcards, and more, students are able to consume more content in a much more efficient way. Regularly switching between different media prevents learning fatigue and helps learners determine what medium works best for them.

Guided Learning

An essential component of instructional design is learning from others. Guided learning refers to learning from mentors, coaches, senior professionals, or experts. The idea is to impart practical knowledge to those who are intimately familiar with the topic in question and offer insights that cannot be delivered by conventional teaching methods. Instead of the usual unidirectional interaction between teachers and students, this method allows for a more interactive way of learning. Students can pose questions to their guides and expect well-informed answers in return.

Real-World Scenarios

Scenario-based learning is another way instructional designers use to ensure effective learning. This is an especially useful tool for workplace training. Using real-world scenarios as a reference, learners are presented with helpful content that they can apply in their actual roles. Providing real-world context to learning makes for easier retention. Additionally, workers can anticipate potential problems during training and are well-equipped to handle them should they arise in the future.

LEAD

Learning through Exploration and Discovery (LEAD) is an effective instructional design strategy that can be implemented at educational institutions as well as workplaces. It aims to give learners greater clarity on the scope of the educational content and allows them to discover what their learning journey could look like. By providing access to possible learning paths and allowing them to explore their options, students can actively affect their learning. Not only would this be more motivating, but it would also spark curiosity and make them feel more in control.

Immersive Technology And Gamification

Incorporating technology in eLearning can open new avenues for instructional designers. Providing interactive visual stimuli can capture learners’ attention and lead to better retention. Gamification can be leveraged to present content in a way that encourages a sense of healthy competition among learners by introducing points or a levels system which they can compete for. Additionally, tools like AR and VR offer a unique opportunity for students to immerse themselves in their learning experience and learn in a more hands-on manner. This is especially useful for trainees who operate in high-risk situations like emergency medical services.

In Conclusion

By putting learners at the heart of the learning intervention, it is possible to create more compelling eLearning experiences. Implementing instructional design offers a foolproof way to do that. When every aspect of a course is well thought out and carefully curated, the learners can hope to achieve their specific goals much more effectively. For course authors, it all starts with keeping the learning objective in mind, and using a variety of methods, tools, and technologies, to ensure that each learner achieves said objectives.

Additional Resources

How to Motivate Learners in an Online Learning Environment

Instructional Design: Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction

5 Instructional Design Principles to Improve Online Courses



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Andy Neal

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