The Equation of Great Instructional Design Strategy

A+B=C. Such a simple equation, Right!

Translated to Learning and Development lexicon it would be something like content added to instructional design gives good eLearning. Well, only if it were this simple. Instructional design strategy is often equated to strategic game plan, as it covers everything from the approach, the devices/methodologies, to the deployment model, basically everything that influences the structure and composition of eLearning. A robust Instructional Design strategy is almost like a balanced equation and as discussed in a previous post, visual design too plays key role in creating good eLearning content.

So, what is the best strategy or which equation suits best to get the best eLearning?

Before answering this, let’s take a look at the possibilities. What are the popular instructional design models? The models usually guide through the course development process, compartmentalizing the efforts behind each stage hence ensuring better outcome. According to Wikipedia, “The process consists broadly of determining the state and needs of the learner, defining the end goal of instruction, and creating some "intervention" to assist in the transition. The outcome of this instruction may be directly observable and scientifically measured or completely hidden and assumed.” ADDIE Model, ARCS, The Dick and Carey Systems Approach Model, Kemp Design Model, SAM etc. are the popular ones.

The instructional design strategy often plays a critical role in achieving the learning objectives, which is why the model chosen, the flexibility in iterations etc. can be game changers. Most models have some common factors and some unique ones, a good instructional strategy usually combines the best features of the models for creating learning outlines, UI designing, creating navigation, evaluation at regular intervals and layout prototypes etc.

Just to make it simpler, here are some key aspects that balance the equation of Great Instructional Design Strategy.

  • Accurate Content and Presentation
    Analysis is what almost all the models emphasize on. The content must be relevant, accurate to a great extent basically avoiding repetitions and lengthy introductions that may otherwise not interest the learners. Try not to cram everything into a single module. Divide it into sections logically as topics and sub-topics that can be easily accessed by the learners as required. Such break down helps in chunking the information, preventing information overload and also helps in giving the course an elegant look. The GUI should be appealing, consistent and relay the organization’s brand identity.
  •  Clear-cut and Apposite Navigation
    The way the navigation works can make or break an eLearning strategy. While making it too simple (say just a next button) can tent to be boring, complex game like navigation can end up frustrating the learners. The navigation hence should be appropriately designed to best suit the target audience, their level of technological expertise etc. It also should be tested for accuracy (i.e. without bugs or errors).
  • Meaningful Interactions
    Interactions are good, but in excess they may just irritate the learners. Meaningful interactions can enhance the value of the course, and deliver better learning. So, don’t just add, click (tap), drag and drop, hover, but link those to decision making scenarios, allow learners to pull information (choose whether they wish to view the content). Keep in mind that Freedom of choice is imperative in andragogy.
  • Good Content Development
    Well, the success of an instructional design strategy depends on its execution or in other words the content development. This in turn depends on which authoring tool is being used, or on which technology the custom development is to be done. It is advisable to take the help of experienced programmers or specialized eLearning vendors to get the best results.

If we were to put it as an equation, it would be something like:

Analysis + Content Curation + Good Instructional Design Model = A Great Instructional Design Strategy

But as we all know, it isn’t just that simple and it takes the efforts of experienced instructional designers, SME’s, graphic designers etc. to develop a great strategy. An instructional design strategy involves multiple iterations, based on requirements, discussions with SMEs etc. Each step in instructional design be it analysis, storyboarding, corrections/edits etc. may undergo multiple iterations before being finalized. However, extra efforts at this stage often helps in reducing the cost, time and effort in the development stage. And so, paying that extra attention is often worth the effort.

Need help in conceptualizing new, innovative eLearning strategy? Get in touch with the Knowzies team now.

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