Becoming an instructional designer doesn’t happen overnight. Knowledge and skills that drive you to make a change in the learning experience of a person is what it takes to make you one. What are the stakes to be an instructional designer? GOAL. Everything we do leads us to a goal. From studying so hard to get a diploma to getting a job to earn money and fulfil daily needs…they all lead to a goal.
An instructional designer must and always have a training goal for this is where it will start. Let us look at the basic 4Ds of Instructional design.
When we develop a course, we must first define the learning outcomes of our learners. These outcomes outlines your lessons and topics and helps you develop the learning activities that you need to achieve the learning goal. When you define a course, you follow the first step in the ADDIE model that frames the instructional design of your course.
ADDIE stands for Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate. 4D model is derived from ADDIE. The first step in the ADDIE model is Analyze. This stage elucidates the instructional needs and identifies the learning environment and prior knowledge of the learners. In this step, you may ask these guide questions to help you in your analysis.
- Who is your target audience?
- What is the desired learning outcomes?
- What are the limitations of learning?
- What are the means to deliver the learning?
- What strategies and techniques are to be considered?
- What learning theories should you apply?
- When will the training be completed and executed?
Upon identification of the above aspects, you may now proceed with the next D.
This step deals with the specific learning objectives of each topic, activities and assessment instruments, content, subject matter analysis, course and module planning, and selection of media assets. The design step should be organized and detailed. Thismeans you must create a logical, orderly method of identifying, developing and evaluating a set of planned strategies targeted to achieve your learning outcomes. You must also specify each element of the course plan to be executed with attention to details.
In the design phase, instructional designers will be involved in documenting the instructional, visual, and technical design strategy of the course. You must apply instructional strategies according to intended learning outcomes using the knowledge, values and skills. You also will need to design the look and feel and user interface of the course and apply visual design.
You might need the storyboard planned out in this stage in order to proceed to development.
With these planned out, you will be able to develop your course. This is where you will apply all the strategies and techniques you have planned out. This where you will start integrating all the tools that you need to implement you course. What are the tools that you need?
- Learning Management System – If teachers have classrooms, Instructional designers have other platforms, which are called Learning Management System or LMS. This is where the self-paced learning happens. LMS allows e-learning in either SCORM or AICC format be published and viewed. Some LMS also allows collaboration with learners in different means like chat, forums and file sharing.
- Authoring Tools – These are tools or programs that allows you to plot your e-learning modules that applies all the interactivities that you need to reinforce learning. There are a lot of authoring tools available that will allow you to build interactivities to engage your learners in the learning experience.
- Multimedia Tools – These are programs that will allow you to create assets that you will need to illustrate and visualize your learning content to enrich the learning experience. This may involve photo editing tools, illustration and design editors that will create the right visuals for your e-learning.
In the development phase, it is important to be able to test and make sure that all the functionalities of your e-learning are beneficial to the target outcome. You may revisit your strategies and techniques as you create your e-learning to test if they lead to your learning objectives. It is a must to have a keen eye to details and wear your different hats. You are not only a trainer but also a learner in this phase. Make sure that all the parts of your course are needed to engage your learners.
When all these are achieved, you may now deliver. When you deliver your training, you must implement procedures for learners. You must make sure to cover the curriculum, learning outcomes, platforms or LMS, and assessments. Preparation includes teaching your learners on utilizing the new tools. Delivery includes evaluation of the design and the learning outcomes. You may use formative and summative assessments to measure your learning outcomes. While you may be in track of all these steps, you must also be able to prepare a feedback form for students to evaluate the learning experience that they have gone through. In this way, you will be able to identify what are the areas to be improved in your course.
Instructional designers are not traditional teachers where information are just downloaded by the students. If these happens, it is more likely that you just provide them with a book or hand out to read. You must make sure that information is not pushed to the learners’ mind but instead you pull it out of them. You must treat your learners as individuals that are already informed and well-versed with your course. Your challenge is to reinforce your learning outcome. Your goal is to achieve the learning experience that they have never experienced before. These learning experience should not be just stored as knowledge but be applied in their day to day activities. Application of these learning is what should matter most. Plan your course well, make sure to get them apply all these learning by integrating scenarios that targets the critical thinking skills on a higher level. You must use real-life experiences as examples to keep them on track and engaged in the training.
It may seem that instructional design is a tough job but consider this a challenge to become one!