Instructional Design is the systematic development of successful learning processes, based around learning and teaching theory rooted in cognitive and behavioral psychology. It is the construction of an educational framework that ensures learners’ needs are met.
A key Instructional Design principle is that learning is most successful when based on students doing, rather than passively absorbing information. It therefore aims to provide students with opportunities to actively participate in the learning process.
These principles remain the same for Instructional Design (ID) in e-learning. However, the new technology does present some new challenges. An instructional designer aims to blend the fields of technology and education to ensure that successful learning is paramount, and always remains the focus ahead of the latest technological development or new functionality.
Instructional Design for e-learning plans to ensure that teaching professionals aims and concepts are successfully realised by programmers and designers when a learning platform is being established so that it is fit for purpose.
When designing a course within the platform more decisions need to be made, such as the overall structure and pacing, the degree of learner and teacher control of different course elements and how content should be tailored according to ability. The sheer range of options available for teaching through e-learning (for example games, videos, interactive quizzes, audio files, shared documents etc) means careful selection of the best tool to deliver particular learning content is necessary.
If these challenges are tackled successfully e-learning offers a fantastic opportunity to deliver the core ideal of Instructional Design: learning by doing. The interactivity of the tools available and the improved ability to collaborate while learning means properly designed e-learning systems can boost engagement with, and the successful absorption of teaching. e-Learning also leaves a trail, an easily accessible record of attainment and teaching materials, allowing the quality of teaching and learning to be assessed more objectively and therefore promoting continual improvement.
While the principles of learning remain the same, e-learning informed by Instructional Design offers an exciting advancement in the delivery and effectiveness of education.