What is Instructional Design?

Instructional Design is the process of transforming a wide variety of content into measurable instructional materials, geared for specific learners. These materials are delivered through a variety of mediums: intructor led lectures, web based training, simulations, audio and video presentations, print based materials, "elearning" and blended learning.

Instructional Design as a Process:

Instructional Design is the systematic development of instructional specifications using learning and instructional theory to ensure the quality of instruction. It is the entire process of identifying and analyzing learning needs and goals, and developing a delivery system to meet clearly stated objectives. This processs includes design and development of instructional materials and activities; prototypes, formative evalations, learner analysis and assessments, and summative evaluation of all instruction and learner activities.

Instructional Design as a Discipline:

Instructional Design is that branch of knowledge concerned with research and theory about instructional strategies and the process for developing and implementing those strategies. It incorporates multiple learning theories, learner and environmental analysis, assessment and evaluation methodologies, message/content/graphics design, and curriculum development.

Instructional Design as a Science:

Instructional Design is the science of creating detailed specifications for the development, implementation, evaluation, and maintenance of situations that facilitate the learning of both large and small units of subject matter at all levels of complexity.

Instructional Design as Reality:

Instructional Design can start at any point in the design process. A glimmer of an idea is developed to shape the core of an instructional situation, or a designer is requested to improve or enhance previously made presenation or instruction. Instructional designers may be using a combination of content; wrintings, presentations or interviews with subject matter experts (SMEs). Frequently, a designer is asked to repurpose, refine, or enhance previously written content/instruction, for different learner groups. The most common use of repackaging instruction is for delivery through technology such as web based training, online learning, CD's, pod casting, video etc. By the time the entire process is done the designer looks back and checks to see that all parts of the "science" have been taken into account. Then the entire process is written up as if it occurred in a systematic fashion for future project improvements. It is frequently the responsibility of the designer to use this documentation to show a return on investment for training, or educational department heads.