Instructional Design Foundations – What You Need to Know

The employee training experience is increasingly a digital-based one. While instructor-led courses aren’t entirely a thing of the past, eLearning is more often considered the standard approach. 

But creating effective eLearning modules can be tricky. There isn’t an instructor present to monitor or enhance engagement; the course itself has to do that on its own. This makes instructional design increasingly important, ensuring you can tap into an employee’s learning drive, deliver quality information in a meaningful way, and promote knowledge retention. 

Here’s a look at the instructional design foundations. 

The Five Elements of Learning 

The learning process used in instructional design can be broken down into five parts. First, there’s drive, the learner’s desire to find out something new. Second, there’s stimuli, the presence of engaging content that keeps the employee’s attention. 

Third, you have response, or how a learner responds to any particular stimuli. Fourth, you have reinforcement, which is typically an action the learner needs to complete based on the stimulus present. 

Fifth, you have rewards. Learners need to feel like they are getting something back for their effort beyond new knowledge. That way, they stay motivated and engaged. 

The elements above represent the learning formula. As long as each is present, your training is potentially effective. 

Learning Principles in Instructional Design 

Along with using the right elements, you also have to keep adult learning principles in mind. That way, you can address core drivers, increasing the effectiveness of the training

For example, adults need to understand why they need to learn what’s presented in the module. The benefits they receive must be clear and highly applicable to keep them engaged. Consider how a course could act as a solution to a problem and make that perspective clear to the learner. Additionally, create opportunities for the immediate use of the new knowledge, increasing its relevance. 

Similarly, providing a degree of autonomy is practically a must. Adults prefer to be self-directed, so giving them a level of freedom is best. You also need to provide various rewards, including options that tap on intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, to keep engagement high. 

Accommodate Different Learning Styles 

Not all employees prefer the same learning styles. Some learners will be highly auditory, while others will be visual or kinesthetic. As you design your training, try to provide options for as many different styles as possible. That way, learners can choose options that best align with their preferences, increasing knowledge retention and training effectiveness. 

Are You Looking for L&D Pros Who Can Help You Apply Effective Instructional Design Principles? 

At Clarity Consultants, we have more than a quarter-century of experience in the world of L&D. By partnering with Clarity, you have access to talent-seeking allies who can streamline your L&D candidate search. If you need to find L&D pros who can apply practical instructional design principles, the team at Clarity Consultants can help. Contact us to find out more about our various services and see how our L&D expertise can benefit you. 

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For over 30 years, we’ve managed projects touching every element of learning and talent development.