Use of Instructional Design to Maximise Learning Impact

Instructional Design (also called Instructional Systems Design (ISD)) is the practice of optimising the impact and efficiency of learning experiences.

The instructional design process broadly consists of determining the current situation and identified needs of the learner, defining the end goal, and creating some "intervention" to assist in the transition and conducting some sort of measurement and learning evaluation.

The overall process is informed by current theories on adult learning.

As a field, instructional design is historically and traditionally rooted in cognitive and behavioral psychology.If you are an experienced trainer then the chances are that even if you have never studied instructional design you are already using some of the principles and concepts which are often considered to be "good practice" in designing learning events.

There are many instructional design models but many are based on the ADDIE model.

ADDIE model


Perhaps the most common model used for creating instructional materials is the ADDIE Model.
The ADDIE design model provides a step-by-step process that helps training specialists plan and create training programs
This popular instructional design model helps organisations
  • analyze their training needs,
  • design and
  • develop training materials,
  • implement training,
  • evaluate its effectiveness.

    Most of the current instructional design models are variations of the ADDIE model.

    Learn about about learning evauation here

    Dick and Carey


    Another well-known instructional design model is The Dick and Carey Systems Approach Model. (The model was originally published in 1978 by Walter Dick and Lou Carey in their book The Systematic Design of Instruction.

    Dick and Carey made a significant contribution to the instructional design field by championing a systems view as opposed to viewing instruction as a sum of isolated parts.

    According to Dick and Carey, "Components such as the learners, instructor, materials, learning activities, delivery system, and learning and performance environments interact with each other and work together to bring about the desired participant learning outcomes".

    The components of the Systems Approach Model,(simliar to Addie) are as follows.

  • Identify Instructional Goal(s)
  • Conduct Instructional Analysis
  • Analyze Learners and Contexts
  • Write Performance Objectives
  • Develop Assessment Instruments
  • Develop Instructional Strategy
  • Develop and Select Instructional Materials
  • Design and Conduct Formative Evaluation of Instruction
  • Revise Instruction
  • Design and Conduct Summative Evaluation


    With this model, components all have to be covered but not always in a linear order.

    More on instructional design here.

    Backward Design

    The idea of Backward Design (from Wiggins & McTighe)suggests that learning experiences should be planned with the final assessment in mind.

    It is strongly rooted in the concept of using learning evaluation to drive design. In my experience this is the exact opposite of what many trainers do as they attempt to bolt on some measurement as an afterthought.

    There are three stages to backward design:

  • Stage 1: Identify Desired Results
  • Stage 2: Determine Acceptable Evidence of Learning
  • Stage 3: Design Learning Experiences & Instruction

    By beginning with the end in mind and thinking about learning evaluation you can build this into your design up front and end up with a better amd more rigorous design.

    I like the emphasis on outcomes and the idea tht a learning is defined by different behaviour and application on the job.

    More information on traiinng evaluation here

    Organizational Elements Model (OEM)

    The Organizational Elements Model (OEM) another systems approach, was developed by Roger Kaufman as a tool that can be used to identify the different elements within a system that need to be taken account of if you want to create some change.

    A system is “a set of interrelated components that work together to achieve a common purpose” (Porter, 2005a).

    The OEM model is created of five elements: inputs, processes, products, outputs, and outcomes. These elements are used to link the resources within an organization to the processes that it must develop to attain an ends.

    The OEM model can be used when an organization has identified a performance, or instructional, gap within its personnel, or processes, to determine what means are required to assure a successful attainment of the ends

    Elements:1. Inputs : These are the raw materials2. Processes: This is the how-to-do-its3. Products: These are the results while in the processes4. Outputs: These are the organizational accomplishments, the products delivered to society5. Outcome: These are the effects in and for society

    By carefully designing a learning intervention using the 5 elements you can test that training is the right solution and link any intervention to the organisational outputs and outcomes desired.

    As Kauffman said to me once 'if training is the solution what is the problem?"

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