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What is Instructional Design?

Instructional DesignInstructional design refers to the systematic process of creating or selecting learning experiences (both materials and activities) that are based on principles of educational psychology and human performance.

For example, an instructional designer could do any of the following:

  • Create an eLearning course that teaches employees about sexual harassment
  • Write a storyboard that teaches how to refurbish laptops and then hand it over for a developer to produce.
  • Write instructor and participant manuals teaching how to use Excel, that a trainer would use in a classroom setting
  • Write a persuasive video script for a company’s anti-smoking campaign
  • Design a children’s educational math game
  • Make a job aid that call center employees use to answer customer questions
  • Design a distance education curriculum for a college
  • Evaluate and select commercially produced online courses that teach effective team communication
  • Write pre- and post-test questions for a course that a team member is producing
  • Conduct quality control testing on commercial training products that your company produces

There is now a trend toward greater acceptance of alternative forms of learning in the workplace. Thus, the role of some instructional designers is beginning to change. In addition to creating the structured types of courses described above, instructional designers will be asked to enable learning by creating supportive environments. This might include online community management, promoting collaboration and discussion through social media technologies, curating content and teaching experts how to generate and share their own content.

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Last Updated: 6/8/17