Instructional Design: It’s More Than Just Words 

a pair of people looking at a computerInstructional designing is more than just putting words together. It’s a powerful blend of empathy, connection, and customization that transforms learning experiences. In the rapidly evolving business landscape, organizations are harnessing the potential of eLearning to train their employees efficiently and effectively. This shift not only saves money but also provides the flexibility to learn anytime, anywhere, making it a game-changer for remote teams and global workforces.

As an Instructional Designer here at Litmos, I have first-hand experience creating effective and engaging learning courses that help learners acquire new skills and knowledge. Rewinding to when I first began my career as a Junior Instructional Designer, eLearning was just starting to take off. At this time, the instructional design aspect was pretty basic – simple interactions and simple writing. Now, fast forward to today, with the ever-changing needs of customers, employees, and ultimately businesses, Instructional Designers have a challenging job to create meaningful, relevant and engaging learning material. If you aren’t sure how to get started, we are here to help!

Six steps to getting started on a course as an Instructional Designer:

    1. Identify learning objectives
      The first step to Instructional Design is identifying the learning objectives. Learning objectives define what learners should be able to do after completing the course. Ensure you make the learning objectives measurable with words like “explain”, “identify”, “apply”. Avoid the dreaded verb “understand”. It’s not specific, nor is it measurable. For example, if the goal is to train employees on a new software program, the learning objective could be that learners should be able to “apply the software to create a new project”.
    2. Analyze your learners
      To create effective learning experiences, Instructional Designers must understand the learners’ needs and characteristics. This includes analyzing their prior knowledge, skills, and experience. This information will help designers tailor the content to the learners and make the learning experience more relevant and engaging. For example, if you’re teaching someone how to make a cake, you need to understand if they know there way around a kitchen and how to use an oven.
    3. Select the delivery method
      After identifying the learning objectives and analyzing the learners, the next step is to choose the delivery method. This could include traditional classroom training, e-learning, microlearning, simulations, or a combination of these methods. The delivery method should be chosen based on the learners’ needs, logistics, and the desired learning outcomes. For example, if most of the team is remote, eLearning is the way to go, as it can provide a convenient and consistent learning experience.
    4. Create the content
      The next step is to create the content. This includes designing the course structure, developing the instructional materials, writing the content, and creating assessments to evaluate the learners’ understanding. The content should be engaging, interactive, and aligned with the learning objectives. Scenarios, case studies, and meaningful learning checks can all help with this. Now I can go on forever about this step, but I won’t. If you want to know more, check out the webinar on the Trial and Triumphs of Online Learning.
    5. Test and revise
      Once the content is created, it’s time to test and revise. This involves piloting the course with a small group of learners to identify any issues and make necessary changes. You’re looking for the learners to be able to display the learning objectives you identified in Step 1. If there’s a course assessment, the learners should pass that assessment because the course content delivers the necessary information to do so.
    6. Implement and evaluate

The final step is to implement the course and evaluate its effectiveness. Instructional designers can gather feedback from learners and stakeholders to identify areas of improvement, even after the course has been released. This feedback will help designers make changes to the course and improve the learning experience.

Don’t have Instructional Designers?

We can help! We offer a content library and professional services from a team of phenomenal instructional designers and learning professionals right here at Litmos. Connect with us today.