How Instructional Design Benefits Your Learning Programs

Developing a learning program systematically is a large part of the instructional design process. The core idea behind instructional design is to develop strategies to engage students so that they understand and are able to use the content being taught.

Educational program development involves taking a sizable chunk of subject matter and breaking it down into more manageable learning units. Instructional design principles can help you do this in a systematic way.

But how does instructional design specifically help your learning programs? Why is it so essential? Here are three important ways it will enhance your work.

 

Better Learning

Let’s return to student engagement. 

A significant benefit of instructional design is that it gives you the framework to discover more about who your learners are and how they learn. It also helps you identify the knowledge and skills students need to demonstrate by the end of the sequence or program: the learning goals or outcomes.

As you advance through the instructional design process, you also create strategies to deliver the learning experience in ways that are as relevant and effective as possible. Setting up guidelines for evaluating how the program has met its goals is another way to ensure that students spend time on the most valuable and relevant concepts.

This work sets the stage for a successful learning experience not only because its product is a well-rounded program but also because the answers to “What are we learning?” “How are we learning it?” and “Why are we learning it?” are clear. When the path to learning outcomes is clear, students are more engaged, the learning is more effective and more likely to lead to successful real-world application. 

Students’ educational and vocational goals are more likely to be met when the research-based methods of instructional design are used in learning program development.

 

Improved Program Quality and Consistency

Instructional design gives you the means to strengthen learning program quality, from start to completion. 

Well-defined learning objectives are at the heart of a quality learning experience. Dedicating the time to designing these objectives helps you ensure that they work for you, your students, and potentially other faculty who teach the same subject matter. And it’s never too late to start. Incorporating instructional design does not mean starting from scratch.  

Throughout the program, assessments and feedback give faculty and instructional designers insight for improvements. Each step of this process is a quality checkpoint.

Improved program consistency is another benefit of instructional design. 

Viewing your program design holistically allows you to “see” the learning path from your students’ perspective. A thorough program review for consistency and alignment enables you identify and correct critical gaps that hinder repeatable positive learning outcomes. 

Imagine being a student in a program where one course requires twice as much time and effort as the course before. Perhaps the first course was not sufficient enough, or perhaps the second course was too ambitious.

Regardless, the flow of the student experience has been interrupted and when this happens too often throughout a program, there can be measurable negative impact on retention and completion. 

 

Best Use of Resources

A big plus of instructional design is that it champions the best use of technology in learning programs. 

While it may be popular to pair the rise of instructional design with the rise of online learning, correlation is not causation here. What is really happening now is a critical need to create learning at scale and quickly—much like the first use case of instructional design during World War II. 

What we are finding, 20 years into online learning, is that faculty are increasingly eager to bring the successful resources created from application of instructional design into their face-to-face experiences as well.

The bottom line benefits substantially too. And we’re not talking about cost savings in online vs. face-to-face learning here; frankly, viewing online learning as the magical cash cow is a myth. 

The efficiencies of process that occur when the instructional design framework is applied to any learning is real. It is a measuring twice before you cut approach. 

Good design helps eliminate redundant content and resource use, which creates a poor experience for the learner. Eliminating what doesn’t belong also helps create room for updated content, new concepts and ideas. 

What we are talking about here is…wait for it…true innovation in what we’re learning, how we’re learning it and why we’re learning it. And if it’s going to save you time and resources, can you really afford not to?

We’re so passionate about this that we made Coursetune for you.