As we face a period of great uncertainty and significant change, good instructional design matters more than ever.
Every day, new training requirements emerge. New learning settings are being welcomed with open arms. Who better than experts who specialize in creating effective learning experiences to assist us usher in this new era? Instructional designers possess all of the qualities required to help humanity adjust to ‘new normal.’
They are aware of and comprehend the intricate formula that underpins a positive learning experience. What, on the other hand, makes a competent instructional designer? Soon enough, we’ll get to that question. But first, let’s define what we’re talking about.
What is The Meaning of Instructional Design?
An instructional designer, as the name implies, creates learning experiences. However, the situation is a little more complicated than that. The origins of instructional design theory can be traced back to behavioural psychology.
Its goal is to figure out what behaviors lead to the best learning results. In this way, instructional designers apply a systematic approach to developing learning experiences.
Instructional design has been around in some form or another for as long as people have been building learning experiences. However, it was formalized in the 1940s, when the US Air Force established training programs based on an understanding of human behavior and instructional concepts.
This methodical technique proved to be extremely successful. In fact, instructional design is a field that is still thriving today. Between 2016 and 2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an 11% increase in instructional design jobs. It wouldn’t be shocking if COVID-19 enabled faster growth than current forecasts suggest.
What Are The Three Basic Elements of Instructional Design?
Learning objectives, learning activities, and assessments are the three primary components that instructional designers must consider when building a learning experience to guarantee that it is effective. This is called the “Magic Triangle” of learning.
And now, let’s talk about the qualities of good learning design:
What Are The Main Characteristics of Instructional Design?
Given the rise in popularity and significance of instructional design, now seems like a good time to examine principles of instructional design in further depth. Let’s take a look at the thirteen characteristics of good instructional designer:
Instructional designers are, first and foremost, compassionate individuals. They put themselves in the shoes of their students and create learning experiences for them. Every learning experience has a distinct audience, which instructional designers recognize.
As a result, the better the learning results, the more personalized the experience is to that audience. You’ll wind up with a one-size-fits-all learning method that’s guaranteed to fail if you don’t pay attention to learners’ requirements, interests, and talents.
- Team Player
Graphic designers, subject matter experts, web developers, and project managers are just a few of the team members involved in the instructional design process.
The instructional designer must collaborate with the team to ensure that the needs of the learners are satisfied at each phase. A collaborative procedure in which each team member has a say will aid in keeping the project on track and ensuring its quality.
- Well Organized
Learning designers are noted for taking a methodical approach to their work. They must, however, apply the same approach to their own work in order to be truly productive. Instructional designers are frequently required to work quickly to meet tight deadlines. Throughout the design process, they must also wear a variety of headgear. They must consequently remain focused, goal-oriented, and create excellent organizational habits in order to be successful.
- Excellent Communicator
By definition, instructional design is a consultative process. If we haven’t engaged with key stakeholders to understand their training needs, we can’t begin to develop an effective learning experience. We need to know what success looks like before we can design the correct learning objectives and outcomes. As an instructional designer, you must be nimble in navigating these relationships. You must also be an active listener who adds value wherever feasible.
Instructional designers must adapt to new characteristics and be willing to change as more and more learning experiences shift online. When implemented correctly, technology may help learners, businesses, and educational institutions all benefit from more effective learning experiences.
However, in order for this to happen, instructional designers must be open to new ideas and willing to change their own methods.
It is impossible to overstate the value of data in any learning intervention. Instructional designers are kept in the dark without access to this data. They will have no way of knowing whether or not the experience they produced was successful.
Once they have access, they must be able to understand the data and extract useful information. This enables instructional designers to effectively update their learning experiences. They can then collect more datasets and iterate until they’ve got it just right.
According to a study published by the Technical University of Denmark, our collective global attention span is shrinking. This is due in large part to the massive amount of data we are bombarded with on a daily basis.
As a result, today’s instructional designers must be experts at breaking down complicated ideas and topics into digestible microlearning experiences. Shortly said, less is more.
- Theory Expert
An effective instructional designer understands learning theories and applies them to accomplish the course’s objectives. This knowledge aids in making the best design selections.
Good Instructional designers stay up to date with the latest research and make the team aware of its value.
- Attention to Detail
Effective instructional design models rely on the collection of data from a variety of sources. Instructional designers must be able to keep all of this information in their heads and transmit it effectively.
It’s vital to note that misconceptions might have real-world consequences in terms of business and/or education. They may also necessitate costly revisions to existing learning assets. While adaptability is crucial, it is preferable to do some things right the first time.
- Innovative Thinker
Effective IDs are constantly pushing themselves to come up with fresh solutions to problems. This forward-thinking approach can lead to new and engaging ways for students to interact with the curriculum and receive feedback.
Those who can combine a wild imagination with fundamental educational ideas have the best chance of succeeding. In addition, competent instructional designers push students to use their imagination. This can be accomplished by having them apply what they’ve learned to new problems.
- Great Storyteller
According to American psychologist Jerome Bruner, information provided in narrative format is twenty times more likely to be remembered. As a result, storytelling is a potent tool in the fight against The Forgetting Curve. Facts and data aren’t enough, according to instructional designers. We must weave a narrative trail throughout all of our messages if we want knowledge to stick.
- Visually Oriented
If training materials are to be effective, they must be visually appealing. Presenting a learner with a wall of text is the fastest way to lose their interest. As a result, instructional design frequently works in tandem with graphic design. You don’t have to be a professional designer to do this.
However, you must be eager to learn fundamental graphic design abilities and stay current with current trends. When necessary, you should also be able to work in accordance with brand guidelines.
Last but not least, instructional designers must be enthusiastic about their work. This isn’t the kind of job where you can just go through the motions. Every facet of instructional design necessitates careful thought and expert execution. It also frequently necessitates numerous rounds of user input and iteration.
Some projects can take months to finish, while others have deadlines that appear to be impossible to meet. It’s all too easy to become trapped if you don’t have a passion to fuel you.
Great instructional designers strive to create learning experiences that meet all three ‘E’s: effective, efficient, and engaging. Crafting such a masterpiece requires a wide range of instructional design methods.
To build experiences that have meaningful impact, instructional designers must blend audience information, stakeholder involvement, instructional theory, and learning analytics.
Modern instructional designers must also be skilled visual designers, embrace new technology, and come up with innovative ways to convey complicated concepts. Being an instructional designer entails a commitment to lifelong learning.
The University of Zambia’s 100% online Masters of Education in Instructional Technology is carefully intended to equip you with the skills you’ll need for a successful career in instructional technology.
As our student, you will gain theoretical and practical skills with real-world applications that will prepare you to move a classroom into the digital age.