What is Instructional Design?
To answer this question simply, instructional design, or sometimes referred to as instructional systems design in more academic settings, is the process of applying learning technologies or media, all based on learning science, to produce a formal or informal learning experience to meet a business need. Regardless of the model of training delivery – self-paced resource, informal, on-the-job training, classroom ILT (Instructor-Led Training) training, virtual classroom (VILT (Virtual Instructor-Led Training) training, virtual asynchronous training, simulation (AR/VR), or a blend/hybrid - the core instructional design process is the same.
The Instructional Design Process
Designing a training program, course or any learning experience usually takes three phases: planning, development, and evaluation and revision. Typically, the decision to develop new training comes from the implementation of something new, like new equipment or software, changes in a process or procedure, as a result of a performance deficiency, or from the desire to improve average performance.
Phase One, planning, begins with an evaluation of performance usually including interviews, observations and perhaps a review of the job descriptions/job standards. Following the evaluation of performance, complete the following tasks:
Phase Two, development, begins with writing a broad content outline of the key elements that will help the learner meet the course objectives. With the outline in place, complete the following tasks:
Phase Three, evaluation and revision, uses at a minimum the four-level model created by Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick (1998): assess the reactions of the learners to the course; decide whether the learning objectives have been met through new knowledge, skills and attitudes; identify whether new learning transferred to the job, and check whether bottom-line results are met.
The foundations of instructional design have remained the same over the decades. What has changed is the expanding array of methods of delivery provided by new and exciting technologies. It is almost impossible to master all of the technologies now available and applicable to instructional design, so we are seeing the emergence of instructional design generalists or producers who tap into technicians in one or more specialty areas such as asynchronous design to help complete a design project.
So what does the product of a well-designed program look like when crafted by a trained course designer?
Well, to start, it doesn’t look like:
What it does look like is:
Instructional Design Skills: What every instructional designer generalist must do…
Although instructional design jobs vary in focus, there are 32 key competencies most skilled instructional designers use to craft their projects:
How many of these skills do you use when designing learning? Which could you add to make your design projects more effective?
Make your instructional design count!
Training developers and instructional design generalists call upon a wide range of skills and techniques to craft a learning solution to a performance issue. They are experts in, and champions of, adult learning and performance. Each learning experience designer will express a personal style and approach while following solid instructional design principles.
Why is all of this important? If you want your learners to achieve the desired performance you need to have a well-designed training program. Instructional design is the foundation of any training program or performance intervention.
If all of this is brand new or relatively new, we are here to help! We have our Training Essentials Virtual Minis, public/open and on-site workshops, and certifications and also offer instructional design consulting services.
Reach out – anytime. We are all on this journey together!
Melissa & Maria
*Adapted from workshops designed and facilitated by The Training Clinic