Principles of Instructional Design

The instructional design of last year is not the same as instructional design this year, and won’t be the same next year. That’s a good thing by the way! That said, there are some definite principles of instructional design.

Instructional design moves and develops with the needs of the audience, the environment they learn in and the devices they learn from. It’s tempting to talk about learning theories, models and cognitive studies, but whilst they have a role to play, the reality is that effective learning is much more personal and needs to be tailored to the audience. Following a few key principles, will result in relevant, engaging and meaningful learning.

Principles of Instructional DesignNeed to know only please

Less is more. Far too much detail. Simple but effective. Information overload. To the point.

When first discussing learning content with a client it’s important to agree the learning objectives and the scope of content to sufficiently cover them. It’s easy to get carried away and cram as much as you can into a piece of learning. Some clients may want to get their money’s worth, or feel that more information is better than less. But adding more and more content will only serve to blur key information with nice to have information. Instead, dedicate the finite space to need to know information only, be ruthless with the content and don’t be afraid to keep it simple.

Build a narrative

We spend large amounts of our lives watching and listening to stories. Whether it be a TV series, stories from friends and family, or a book. Stories are fun and we remember them, but not all. We remember good stories that we have an emotional link or tangible connection to.

Building a narrative is a great way to engage your audience. Hiding key information in plain sight by weaving it into stories creates an enjoyable and informal learning experience, whilst remaining effective. If a learner can relate to a story and easily imagine their participation in it, they are more likely to remember it’s content.

Relevant to the audience

A sure-fire way to turn your audience off from the get go is to evoke the thought, “Why am I doing this?”, or, “Is this training meant for me?”. If the learner doesn’t understand the material’s relevance to them, they are unlikely to continue, or worse, it becomes a tick box exercise of clicking through as fast as humanly possible. We’ve all been there.

The audience must know why the material is relevant to them and how they are going to benefit from it. How you do this is dependent on the audience, tone and style of learning, but I’m positive that you can think of more creative and fun ways than the traditional listing of learning objectives.

Now you know some of the most tightly guarded secrets in the industry, it’s time to crack on and create some legendary learning that will be remembered for all of time, for the right reasons!

Principles of Instructional Design in eLearning – Call us now on 0330 024 2881.

Original Article by (our very own) Jonathan Griffiths