Instructional Design 101 For Beginners

This article is for you, regardless of whether you are starting your career in Instructional Design by chance, if you are pivoting into the area from somewhere else, or if you are fresh out of formal training.

There Are Some Basic Concepts in Instructional Design You Should Understand

While some learning fields, such as teaching or graphic design, can be beneficial to ID, one of the numerous benefits of this vocation is that designers come from a variety of educational and experiential backgrounds. Because the nature of ID is so diverse, all of your previous expertise and training will be useful as you embark on your path. That being said, there are some essential things you will want to know and accomplish to make a move to Instructional Design as simple as possible. Without further ado, here is the list:

  1. Investigate Learning Theories

When developing eLearning courses, you must understand a few learning theories to maximize your teaching methods. Behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism are the three major learning theories. I’ll give you a brief explanation of each for the sake of this article:

  • Behaviorism

Learning is defined as the process of responding to environmental stimuli.

  • Constructivism

Learning is a construction process in which learning emerges from our knowledge based on our particular experiences.

  • Cognitivism 

The process of obtaining and keeping knowledge is referred to as learning.

These ideas are important to understand since they all point to how students learn. Every student learns differently, and as an instructor, you can choose which elements of what theory to use to make your course more accessible.

For example, if the major goal of your course is to explain the actions learners must follow to perform anything, a behaviorist approach should be considered. This requirement could be addressed by creating a scenario in which learners respond to numerous choices that characters must make to practice the procedures. Alternatively, you may employ cognitivism theory, in which students watch a recorded lesson on how to log in to a certain software system to engage their thoughts and thereby retain the material that explains the login process. Whatever theory or theories you choose to utilize, make sure that all of your development is learner-centered and takes into consideration the variety of learning styles.

  1. Explain The Fundamental Principles Of Assessment And Evaluation

Was your course successful? No, seriously, did it accomplish what it was designed to do? All IDs ask themselves these questions throughout the design process, but especially when it comes to assessment and evaluation. Because the course will be measured, a good ID will know whether the course accomplished its goals. It is evaluated based on its capacity to achieve the learning objectives. This can be performed in two ways: formative assessment and summative assessment. Let’s dig a little more into these two terms:

  • Formative

A formative evaluation is used to track a learner’s progress through a course. A formative assessment normally targets one learning objective at a time. Learners also receive quick feedback after completing a formative evaluation, allowing them to alter their behavior and succeed in the course.

  • Summative

A summative evaluation occurs at the end of the course, as the name implies. Summative assessments in eLearning are typically paired with immediate feedback so that students can identify areas of strength demonstrated during the course as well as areas for improvement that they should address in the future.

You don’t have to be an assessment wizard (though it’s nice if you are) to use evaluation procedures, but you should feel comfortable discussing how you know your course has met its objectives.

  1. Understand How To Write Learning Objectives

Learning objectives are similar to coffee in the morning: they are required. Learning objectives are the real, if not figurative, anchors of your course. Learning objectives inform your students about what they can anticipate learning and be able to do by the end of the course. They should never be a surprise to students; rather, they should be stated at the outset.

Learning objectives help to establish learner expectations and guide the learner throughout the course. Objectives are also important in determining the success of your course, but we’ll get to that later. Finally, learning objectives assist you as the designer in staying on track (pun intended). If you’re ever unclear about where content belongs in your course, go back to the objectives and see where it fits. If the content does not correspond with the aims, it is rejected.

  1. Get Rid of the “Nice-To-Know”

Working with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) is both entertaining and hard. It’s gratifying to assist in the transformation of someone’s once-static information into a beautiful, dynamic module. However, it can be difficult to persuade them that not everything in their PowerPoint presentation has to be included in the course, even if they believe differently. While all of the content is significant, there will be times when you must pick which bits of knowledge are “must-know” and which are “nice-to-know.” 

It’s no secret that learner attention spans are shortening, so make sure everything in your course has a purpose. You do not wish to squander anyone’s time. This is a tricky conversation to have with an SME. However, you must have the conversation and present evidence demonstrating why something could be left out and why doing so would not jeopardize the course’s integrity. You, the subject matter expert, and the learner will all benefit from it!

  1. Improve Your People Skills

Even while you will be doing most of your work solo as an Instructional Designer, you will also need to communicate with a variety of stakeholders, including SMEs, prospective learners, and/or course sponsors. As an ID, you will most likely be part of a large and collaborative team, which means you will be interacting with others regularly. Improving your people skills will aid you in navigating the exterior activities of Instructional Design. Learning to speak, demonstrating knowledge, and exercising sound judgment are just a few examples. Fostering these talents can help you build excellent working relationships with peers and coworkers and can lead to a wide range of chances in the future.

My last words of advice are to have fun! Instructional Design is a tremendously gratifying career path, and if you invest in your professional growth and retain a desire to advance, you will never be disappointed. Now you’re free to go—good luck with your creations.

The post Instructional Design 101 For Beginners appeared first on The Tech Edvocate.

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