The online learning industry is experiencing tremendous growth in popularity, but some challenges could slow this growth down a bit. The industry’s main problem is the relatively high drop-out rate of students. One of the main reasons for this is the poor design of online courses and, as a result, an unsatisfactory student experience.
Learning leaders must become familiar with the nuances of instructional design if they want to create training that produces effective employees. Learners who feel heard and supported will stick with their training and ultimately provide greater value to their organizations.
What Is eLearning Instructional Design?
Instructional design process helps develop and implement any educational product (for example, online courses, video tutorials, etc.). This process is based on three elements:
- Before you start designing a course, you should analyze the basic needs of your audience and set goals for yourself based on them.
- Design & Development. This element affects the primary process of creating a course, which includes writing a text portion, preparing content (pictures, videos, tests, and so on) and structuring the content.
- The last stage is when you evaluate the work done and analyze whether the course has reached its goals.
So let’s move on to the basic design principles that will help you better understand how to create a great online course that will be engaging and effective.
Five Instructional Design Principles
These principles are the ultimate tools to help you create a high-quality online course or improve the design of existing courses.
1. Keep an Effective Tempo
The pace of the course and the way the course material is presented are the basis of its success. This principle is based on the effective presentation of educational material as well as encouraging students to use the knowledge gained. To build the perfect pacing, you can follow these tips:
- Keep students’ past experiences in mind. This will help you create tests and assignments that will provide a real challenge for students without overwhelming them.
- Feel free to add extra educational material. This advice will help you if some learners in a group of students master the material faster than others.
- Divide the training into proportional sections. It is often easier for students to remember new information when it is divided into small and equal blocks.
2. Support Study Material with Context
Context helps learners connect new material to standards they already know and understand. In addition, successful examples help students to apply the knowledge gained in practice. To successfully use this instructional design principle:
- Choose a few examples to explain. There will be many students in your group, and therefore it is essential to prepare several examples that will be clear to everyone.
- Balance theory with practice. Everyone knows that theoretical material is best absorbed during its application. Therefore, you must develop some practice assignments for your students.
3. Create a Community-Based Course
Building a community around your course has a positive impact on the effectiveness of learning. It encourages students to more often share their knowledge and help each other. Creating a community-based course is extremely easy if you follow these tips:
- Peer feedback is a must. Let your students share their feedback on the success of their team. For example, imagine you are creating a course about the basics of programming. One of the students may ask other students to evaluate their code and ask for advice on optimizing it. This will create an active discussion where each student will learn something new and improve their skills.
- Improve team working skills. Don’t treat each learner as an isolated individual: In the workplace, your learners will be part of departments that work toward common goals. You must prepare your students for this by introducing various assignments that require group- and teamwork.
4. Stimulate and Encourage Student Creativity
Not all students like to be forced into a framework and use the acquired skills only in strictly defined situations. Instead, give your students the freedom to create their content based on the knowledge gained:
- Provide assignments that help express the student’s point of view. This category can include various presentations or essays that allow students to summarize a specific topic and express their thoughts. This stimulates the creation of discussions and teaches students to argue their points of view.
- Encourage the real-life use of knowledge. Let’s refer to our example of the programming course. You might ask students to create a chatbot that they can implement in chats with their friends and acquaintances. This is an excellent example of applying the accumulated knowledge in real life and consolidating the material covered.
5. Develop a Thorough Evaluation
If you give your students too much material, the result will be significant gaps between knowledge assessments. This can lead to poor retention of knowledge. Therefore, you must think over the ideal pace of testing that will regularly reinforce knowledge. To find the right frequency, follow these valuable tips:
- Small assessments should be distributed throughout the material. You can distribute various small quizzes and tests throughout the material to help keep your knowledge fresh.
- Provide detailed feedback. The standard grade on the plaque is uninformative, so you should provide extensive feedback, noting the student’s strengths and areas where they could work harder.
In the new world of work, companies need customizable training that can adapt to new developments at a moment’s notice. With these principles in mind, learning and development should be able to craft training that helps learners retain the knowledge they need in order to grow their companies.