Instructional design is the process of designing and developing instruction. The term is used in academic spheres, but most large companies with training initiatives will hire or contract instructional designers to create effective learning materials and programs.
Instructional design begins by defining what you want people (employees, customers, trainees) to know and/or do as a result of your training program. In business, when there is a performance or knowledge gap that hurts the bottom line, instructional designers engineer programs to get people up-to-speed. They assess where learners are at now, and where they need to be in terms of knowledge and performance.
Once this assessment has been made, a program is designed to “bridge the gap.” This design stage does not include the actual build or production of the training course beyond pilot or prototype designs. This stage is comparable to the architectural blueprint stage of a construction project.
After a training course is designed, then it is developed. Developers use the instructional designs to create the learning materials. A development team may consist of technical writers, graphic designers, interactive programmers, and video or audio producers The products of instructional design/development may include facilitator-led training sessions and materials, educational videos, and increasingly, online training courses or “E-learning.”
The training program is then implemented. Implementation may include initial BETA testing or pilot trials to validate and further refine the course before it’s deployed company-wide. Implementation of an online e-learning course is typically achieved through a company’s Learning Management System (LMS).
Finally, the training program or course is evaluated. Evaluation includes answering such questions as:
- Did the learners retain the new information?
- Did they enjoy the training and believe it to be relevant and effective?
- Did performance improve because of the training?
- Did the training have a positive return on investment (ROI)?
When these types of questions are answered, the information supplies the basis for reworking the course, augmenting it with additional training, and/or lessons learned to apply to the next training intervention.
These steps taken together are referred to as the ADDIE process (Assess, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate). While some learning experts have proposed newer instructional design models, they all essentially contain these same steps for creating effective learning programs.
How Can Instructional Design Help My Business?
Instructional design should be viewed as something larger than simply creating training programs. When the process if followed properly, it essentially provides problem solving services to an organization or company.
Proper instructional design will help you find the most cost-effective method to help your employees or customers learn. Proper instructional design should also determine whether training will solve your problem at all—some performance issues are due to a lack of incentive, not proper training for example.
Didactable is experienced in creating all types of learning programs and specializes in the creating of online learning courses (E-learning) to help your employees perform their jobs better. When employees learn to do their jobs better, your company will make more money.
Contact us to discuss how our expert instructional design services can help your organization achieve its goals.