How does instructional design work?
Posted by Kelly Newcomb on March 10, 2020
What is Instructional Design?
Think of an Instructional Designer like a scriptwriter for a movie. Just as a script brings together all the components of a film (casting, wardrobe, set design etc), an instructional designer brings together all the learning components in a way that’s both creative but highly targeted to the audience in mind.
Stripping out all the learning design theories, an instructional designer lays the foundation by establishing who your users are before going ahead with designing the content around meeting aims or objectives that give the user an additional skill or understanding of a topic.
How will it help me produce better elearning content?
Unless you’re a teacher who’s found success teaching you content through a range of media platforms, instructional design is essential for any course content creator or educator. Just as you are an expert in your field, an instructional designer is an expert in helping others understand your content.
By becoming a proxy learner, taking on the role of student, an instructional designer can take your course materials and break it up into chunks perfectly suited for online delivery. They’ll spot opportunities to make clearer explanations and introduce new ideas all while ensuring your users are learning at that perfect pace so they voluntarily come back for more.
What is the process of working with an instructional designer?
Instructional design begins with a kick start meeting where you’ll discuss your course/ content learning outcomes. Following this the readiness of your current content will be examined; You may have content, slides, videos or nothing at all (at which point you’ll need to be interviewed separately in order to extract your knowledge).
“You could compare [the process] to a jigsaw puzzle where you need the picture (the aims and objectives) on the box to refer to” – Dominic Alder
Once the availability of the course’ content has been established, the instructional designer will then take all these inputs and write a script which ensures that everything is optimised for digital delivery. The instructional designer will create learning objectives for each screen and write a brief which incorporates learning theories and any media production like instructional videos or animation.
This script creates the foundation for all of the online learning, including everything from the learning objectives to storyboards to the content for additional course materials.
Visit our blog to learn more about how to create engaging elearning courses and digital learning material.
Do you have any instructional designers you can recommend?
We do! We usually recommend an instructional designer to you based on your requirements and their skill sets, however we are also happy to take your lead on this.
Our Instructional Designers
Dominic specialises as a digital learning materials developer and adviser. He began his educational career supporting a national distance learning project at Bristol Dental School. He then moved to a lead developer role in Health Sciences at the University of Bristol, designing digital content such as videos, and interactive activities, with academics, for students.
Dominic often works with colleagues that are new to digital learning or e-learning, listening to their ideas, and helping them apply their experience and teaching expertise into writing their own engaging e-learning courses. Some of the materials he develops are designed for distance learning, whereas others compliment face-to-face teaching on the subject. He also runs educational modules, workshops and training events for staff and students on digital materials.
Formerly Head of Multimedia Scriptwriting (Instructional Design) at Wide Learning (at the time one of the UK’s largest e-learning companies), Daniel has since gained extensive experience as a freelance ID working for a range of companies including LINE (high-end media-rich products); Media Zoo (Finance); Walkgrove (public sector); Attic Learning (high-end bespoke e-learning); Tilt (Motion Graphics); Future Now (Video); ; Skills2learn (3D simulations) and Complete Control (games). As well as being the lead Instructional Designer on projects with a number of household names, Daniel has a wide portfolio of elearning clients under his belt.
As well as Instructional Design (working with clients to define Learning Outcomes and media treatments and then write the actual scripts/storyboards), Daniel also operates in the areas of curriculum design, training needs analysis and e-learning consultancy on a company-wide, strategic level (e.g. as a consultant to the BBC’s internal training/e-learning specialists).
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