What Instructional Design is?

“Instructional Technology is the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning.” (Seels & Ritchey, 1994)

Instructional design has 3 main steps to enhance the instruction:

  • Analyze (What do students need, what is the intended outcome?)
  • Strategy (Which method, media, and technology are you going to use to achieve the goal? (Strategy)
  • Evaluation (How do you measure student learning?)


Why is it important?

To design a course regarding the principles of learning and instruction enhances student motivation, increases participation, improves student performance for different learners (learning styles).


Design Models

Using models can help you to organize the content by having a planned structure to make a meaningful connection between the content, activities and learning outcomes. Here are some commonly used instructional design models


  1. Analyse: Find Out
    • Determining the need/goal
    • Targetting the learner
    • Specifying the content
    • Determining the technology/media


  1. Design: Content
    • Planning the learning outcomes, writing objectives
    • Selecting the media to present the information


  1. Development: Instruction
    • Creating the course materials (instructional materials, activities, assessments, supportive documents).


  1. Implemention: Information (Transfer of Knowledge)
    • Ensuring transfer of the knowledge and student learning via delivering the instruction efficiently.


  1. Evaluation: Formative and Summative
    • Formative assessment occurs generally going on during the process to is to support and improve learning.
    • Summative assessment occurs generally after the process to measure how much and how well the students learned.


  1. Analyze Learners.
  2. State Objectives.
  3. Select Methods, Media, and Materials.
  4. Utilize Media, Materials, and Methods.
  5. Require Learner Participation.
  6. Evaluate and Revise.


Main Steps:

  1. Instructional Problems: Determining the specific goals/needs.
  2. Learner Characteristics: Identifying characteristics of learners.
  3. Task Analysis: Clarifying course content, analyzing the proposed task components in relation to the stated goals and purposes of the course.
  4. Instructional Objectives: Defining instructional objectives and desired learning outcomes.
  5. Content Sequencing: Ensuring the content structure sequentially and logically to facilitate learning.
  6. Instructional Strategies: Designing instructional strategies to enable individual learners to achieve desired learning outcomes.
  7. Designing the Message: Planning the instructional message and the appropriate mode of delivery regarding multimedia design principles.
  8. Instructional Delivery: Choose the appropriate resources that will support both teaching and learning activities
  9. Evaluation Instruments: Developing evaluation instruments suitable for measuring and assessing learners’ progress towards achieving course objectives.

Note: Since instructional design is a continuous cycle, all the elements can be performed simultaneously and you can start the development anywhere.


  1. Gain the student’s attention. –Reception
  2. Inform students of the objectives. –Expectancy
  3. Stimulate recall of prior learning (to build new knowledge.) –Retrieval
  4. Present the stimulus (by chunking the content.) –Selective Perception
  5. Provide learner guidance (with the supportive instructional materials.) –Semantic Encoding
  6. Elicit performance. (Challenge learner’s activities that recall, utilize, and evaluate knowledge.) – Responding
  7. Provide feedback –Reinforcement
  8. Assess performance. –Retrieval
  9. Enhance retention and transfer to the job. – Generalization

Supporting Design Elements


  1. Remembering
  2. Understanding
  3. Applying
  4. Analyzing
  5. Evaluating
  6. Creating


While designing and developing an instructional material, it is recommended to consider multimedia design principles which Richard E. Mayer discussed in 2001 in the book ‘Multimedia Learning’:

  1. Coherence Principle: People learn better when extraneous words, pictures and sounds are excluded rather than included.
  2. Signaling Principle: People learn better when cues that highlight the organization of the essential material are added.
  3. Redundancy Principle: People learn better from graphics and narration than from graphics, narration and on-screen text.
  4. Spatial Contiguity Principle: People learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented near rather than far from each other on the page or screen.
  5. Temporal Contiguity Principle: People learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented simultaneously rather than successively.
  6. Segmenting Principle: People learn better from a multimedia lesson is presented in user-paced segments rather than as a continuous unit.
  7. Pre-training Principle: People learn better from a multimedia lesson when they know the names and characteristics of the main concepts.
  8. Modality Principle: People learn better from graphics and narrations than from animation and on-screen text.
  9. Multimedia Principle: People learn better from words and pictures than from words alone.
  10. Personalization Principle: People learn better from multimedia lessons when words are in conversational style rather than formal style.
  11. Voice Principle: People learn better when the narration in multimedia lessons is spoken in a friendly human voice rather than a machine voice. (Mayer, 2001)
  12. Image Principle: People do not necessarily learn better from a multimedia lesson when the speaker’s image is added to the screen.

Elements of a Fully Online Course