Education is famously an ever-evolving process; as innovations and findings occur, training materials need revising and adapting to accommodate these changes. The entire learning mechanism often needs to be reshaped; for example, it can hinge upon learners’ aptitude to acquire new knowledge and skills, as well as their professional expertise and background. The overall objective of most workplace training programs is for participants to utilize their newly acquired skills on the job, and good outcomes are not likely to occur by chance but are instead the product of effective instructional design.
The ADDIE Approach
Instructional design is a set of processes, and although there are several instructional design approaches, almost all of them are derived from the ADDIE approach. ADDIE is short for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation – all integral phases.
In the analysis phase, the instructional problem is defined, instructional goals and objectives are established, and the learning environment and the learner’s prior knowledge and skills are identified.
The design phase is concerned with learning objectives, assessment tools, exercises, content, subject matter analysis, lesson planning, and media selection. This phase is a methodical, detailed, and systematic approach to identifying, developing, and evaluating a set of planned instructional content aimed at achieving the project’s objectives. Each element of the instructional design plan must be conducted with meticulous attention to detail by the instructional designers.
The development phase is where the developers create and assemble the instructional content’s assets that were created in the design phase. Programmers create and/or integrate new technologies, and testers conduct debugging operations. The project is then evaluated and revised based on any feedback provided.
During the implementation phase, a training procedure for facilitators and participants is developed. The training for course facilitators should cover the learning course’s curriculum, learning outcomes, delivery method, and testing procedures. Student preparation includes training in new tools (software or hardware). Additionally, the project manager also verifies the learning materials during this phase.
There are two parts to the evaluation phase: formative and summative. At each phase of the ADDIE process, formative evaluation is conducted. Summative evaluation is comprised of tests designed for domain-specific, criterion-related referenced items and allowing for user feedback.
Overall, most current instructional design models are variants of the original ADDIE approach, the only difference being that phases are updated and/or blended, reflecting trending and current technologies, delivery methods, etc.
With the more recent advent of rapid development authoring tools, anyone with little to no training in instructional design can build and deliver their own eLearning courses, often leading to courses that are, at best, minimally effective. This is where the necessary expertise of a professional instructional designer comes into play: these experts create the backbone of a truly efficient and enjoyable learning process. Without excellent instructional designers at the helm of instructional design, eLearning is just unengaging text on a screen. For this very reason, instructional design’s sole purpose is to deliver a significantly better learning experience – it is the systematic practice of designing and developing highly effective education.
Instructional design must ensure engaging, memorable, and appropriately representational experiences for the target audience of the learning course. These experiences are intended to leave a mark, motivating learners to continue studying and advance in their professions. To achieve this, it is crucial to understand the audience’s tastes and professional mindset to generate content that uses the learning environment and all accessible materials as effectively as possible to meet their expectations. This is why one of the main responsibilities of an instructional designer is to conduct a thorough analysis of the target learners, enabling the designer to design relevant, engaging, and appealing learning experiences. Also vital is a designer’s comprehension of their intended audience to determine the audience’s capacity for knowledge retention and, therefore, the visual material and subtext that drives them to learn. This way, the instructional designer can create the exact learning design that meets the needs of the learners and creates a positive user experience.
A Positive User Experience Engage Learners
User Experience (UX) is one of the most critical aspects of instructional design that is considered during custom eLearning development. It dictates how accessible an eLearning course is, which has a direct effect on the level of involvement of the learners. An excellent UX design is essential for learning success, as learners tend to lose focus on the course’s primary objective if it is not engaging. In addition, a poor UX design tends to distract students from completing the course’s objective.
Effective Instructional Design Makes Learners Take Initiative
A good instructional design encourages learners to act and achieve more than expected. With eLearning, learners complete the majority of courses asynchronously, meaning they do not need to complete them at the same time as their peers. Because of this, they are free to progress at their own pace through the material, allowing them to jump to the crucial points as needed when their time allows. Alternatively, with instructor-led training, an instructional design expert is front and centre, personally engaging the learners with the learning material – emphasizing the objectives of the course. These instructors are a catalyst for learning, compelling their learners to pursue aspirational goals and strive for further professional development.
Good Instructional Design Facilitates the Transmission of Messages
A characteristic of effective instructional design is its capacity to convey a message precisely and immediately to learners. It is more than just aesthetics— it entails effective communication that assists students in achieving their learning objectives. Designs are great if the mind is put into action with good intentions and choices. However, that is not enough, as there must also be relevance, an applicable example, and/or an interesting anecdote behind every design. When these elements are combined with good design, they ensure that the right message is being passed in the most effective way.
Professional Instructional Design Makes Good Business Sense
Because the most relevant material is brought to the forefront and presented in an order that makes sense to the learner, learning courses that use instructional design practices are more efficient, resulting in less lost time. Creating more entertaining learning courses will ensure that people really pay attention and retain the new information and skills they acquire, thereby maximizing the return on investment from training.
Professional Instructional Design is Essential
Above all, instructional design yields efficient and invaluable training results—from conceptualization to final delivery, its important role cannot be overlooked during any phase of course creation. At Flint, we are proud of our exceptional instructional design team for leading the way in course development and laying the foundation for outstanding instructional content and learning success.
Curious about how the Flint Learning Services team uses Instructional Design to make our courses stand out? Contact our experts!