Instructional design is the development of an effective experience of learning: instructional materials that support the learning and mastery of information.
Created specifically to acquire knowledge or skills, instructional design helps students, employees, and experts across various industries learn new material through carefully designed information that maximizes learning and retention.
By implementing instructional design, offices, universities, and other hubs for data and information can train their talent or teach their students using the most up-to-date learning architecture.
Instructional design expands information learning beyond the traditional scope of objective information sharing. Instead, instructional design takes knowledge sharing further by providing additional context and application. These intentional and additional elements in the design of instruction solidify the learning and retention process for students, employees, and industry experts.
By developing practical learning experiences, our world in today’s information age can train, teach, and translate knowledge faster. Instructional design and the knowledge sharing that it supports is an exciting feat and imperative to keep pace with significant technological and educational developments.
Examples of Instructional Design
Instructional design is a curated learning experience for students, employees, and other industry professionals to learn or gain a deeper understanding of information.
So, what does instructional design look like in practice?
Instructional design can come in many forms to maximize training or learning of given information. The most common examples of instructional design include e-books, slideshow presentations, online courses, and manuals.
E-books and manuals are often made for employees or students to understand the context of information better. Slideshows can help deepen the understanding of a given subject and provide a broad overview of any given set of information. Online courses are another effective way to implement instructional design for employees and educational institutions that offer deeper and broader learning opportunities.
Instructional design of these materials helps students learn effectively – especially remotely. In-office or remote employee onboarding is an elevated way to train employees and assimilate them to company expectations and culture. Industry professionals can use the above instructional design to deepen their knowledge on trending or essential information in their field.
In many ways, the shift to remote learning, working, and interacting was possible because of the ability of instructional designers to craft learning experiences that surpass geographic borders and face-to-face explanations.
The type of information being conveyed, the resources of the instructional institution, and the learning purposes of those taking the lessons are all factors that instructional designers consider when mapping out the most influential architecture for the curated learning experience.
Learn more about instructional design and career paths by visiting our instructional design career page (all about how to become an instructional designer), our instructional design certification resource, or our instructional design master’s page.
Why Is Instructional Design Important?
Instructional design is the culmination of the need for effective information conveyance and a learning experience that maximizes retention and understanding. Without properly educated students and knowledgeable employees, information sharing could effectively halt. This need is maximized by the power of technology and the inevitable share of information linked to technological developments and advancements.
As tech becomes a part of most people’s daily lives, it plays a more prominent and significant role in information training, development, and sharing. The relationship between technology and instructional design is circular: as more tech is developed, more information is shared. As more information is shared, more tech can be developed. Accordingly, instructional designers often enjoy a job on the cutting edge of information and technology.
The history of instructional design is primarily the product of data from military training, behavioral science and psychology, and educational systems. In today’s information age, the need for the maximum transference of information remains steady and is growing by the day.
Experts, professors, teachers, and employers understand the importance of creating a practical and engaging learning experience. In other words, corporations, educational institutions, and experts in a myriad of industries have, in recent decades, become increasingly aware of the need for the most effective learning experience.
For employers, instructional design becomes an investment in their employees. In fact, according to Tech Jury, A survey of 2,500 companies found that those with “comprehensive training programs” have 218 percent higher revenue per employee and 24 percent higher profit margins. By increasing the resources for instructional design, companies can reap both production and revenue benefits. And company leaders realize just how powerful this is. In fact, according to Business Wire, E-Learning is set to grow exponentially in the next three years.
Instructional design has become a way to deliver a more robust and refined course of information for students in the academic world. For experts, instructional design has developed into an effective way to share their knowledge and findings with their peers.
What Does an Instructional Designer Do?
Instructional designers are the experts who design the learning path for these students, employees, and industry experts. To become a successful instructional designer, a deep understanding of informational architecture, psychology, and education is required.
An instructional designer is responsible for performing deep research on the subject matter and the people learning the material (such as students or employees). Instructional designers then craft the learning experience in a relevant and effective way in a given field or industry.
In some professional positions, an instructional designer will spearhead a particular type of learning material, such as an e-book or instruction manual. Many instructional designers work on a team under a lead designer to bring the company’s, university’s, or other institution’s vision to life. Other instructional designers will head up an entire array of instructional materials, such as slideshows, welcome packets, e-books, and handbooks/instruction manuals.
There are many different and rewarding career paths for instructional designers that span almost every industry. As technology and information sharing grow, more areas in need of instructional design are created.
Instructional design is an exciting career that attracts candidates from various backgrounds and industries. One of the most exciting elements of instructional design is working at the forefront of technology and information. Software programs, innovative companies, and cutting-edge initiatives are all-embracing—and operating better through—instructional design.
Those interested in becoming instructional designers usually have a background in information organization, presentation, and architecture.
While a background in information architecture can prepare students and professionals for a successful career in instructional design, there are other interesting ways to break into the field without an instructional design background.
Those who wish to enter the field of professional design can also become instructional designers through education, bootcamps, and professional certifications. Choosing the right program depends on many factors, such as learning style, budget, and career goals.
Benefits of Instructional Design
Corporate offices, businesses, educational institutions, and many other industries have embraced instructional design at lightning speed. A large factor in the support that instructional design as a discipline has received is because of the reward it brings.
Thanks to instructional design, businesses can train employees faster and more comprehensively. Universities and other educational institutions can teach their students effectively. Remote learning, working, and onboarding have become possible through carefully curated learning experiences that have broken the mold of how information is shared, taught, and learned.
Learning information online is more effective than the traditional classroom- or office-based learning models. According to eLearning Industry, corporate learning has been shown to take 40 percent to 60 percent less time.
In many ways, instructional design has changed the world in which we live through its impact on information sharing and technological development. By providing a way to share important information quickly and effectively, instructional design helps industry professionals, educational institutions, and thought leaders keep up with the relentless pace of technology development. Additionally, the optimized methods for sharing information also inform technology development and application into many industries.
Instructional design is an exciting field that combines psychology, education, and raw data collected across industries. This data then informs professionals on the most effective ways to share knowledge and education.
Becoming an instructional designer can be a rewarding professional experience for those who enjoy psychology, education, and technology.