Instructional Design Overview
What is Instructional Design?
Instructional design is a multidisciplinary field that draws on learning theories and behavioural psychology to create experiences that address a learning need.
These experiences can be in the form of a classroom-based course, workplace training session, digital learning module or Virtual Reality (VR) environment.
What do Instructional Designers do?
The role of an instructional designer is to create an appropriate learning solution to solve a performance problem.
By using elements of learning theories (such as Behaviourism, Cognitivism and Constructivism) and incorporating adult learning principles, instructional designers build experiences that facilitate the successful transfer of knowledge, skills or attitudes.
Instructional Design Theories and Models
Instructional design can be managed via models or guidelines such as ADDIE or AGILE. ADDIE and AGILE differ in approaches but contain similar components such as analysis, design and development. The key to success with either approach is the quality of communication between the people involved in learning projects.
An output of analysis is the identification of a performance gap and the creation of performance objectives to bridge this gap. A commonly used framework for creating learning objectives is Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Once the learning objectives are set, the instructional designer will chunk the content and sequence it in a way that builds on prior and new knowledge. Various forms of feedback are provided based on performance and support is gradually removed to allow learner practice. Finally, acquisition of newly acquired knowledge is verified via assessment activities.
Other tools used by instructional designers are M. David Merrill’s ‘First principles of instruction’ which combine existing learning theories into a problem-centered model and Robert Gagne’s ‘9 events of instruction’ that ensure the conditions for learning are present.
For digital learning experiences, the instructional designer will typically create storyboards for review purposes that then act as a blueprint for the construction of digital learning modules.
Instructional design provides a learning solution to a performance problem.”