Instructional Design Trends That Are Finally Maturing in 2021
Instructional Design Trends That Are Finally Maturing in 2021 Clarity Consultants

As with all industries, the learning and development (L&D) field experiences its fair share of trends. While some are flash in the pan movements. Others ultimately mature due to their incredible potential to enhance the learning experience.

Often, figuring out which trends have staying power is challenging. However, by focusing on those that have established their presence and potential. You can select options that are right for you.

With that in mind. Here is a look at some instructional design trends that are maturing in 2021.

Learner Prioritization

In the past, learning was incredibly rigid. Coursework was presented in a singular fashion. Which didn’t adapt to the unique needs of each individual learner.

Today, there is significant movement away from that approach. Which allows learner prioritization to become a critical part of all program updates. Agile solutions that shift in accordance with a learner’s preferences, prior knowledge, and learning needs are increasingly common.

Curation of Content

While using textbooks is still a typical approach. More educational programs are broadening their resources. Content curation means incorporating a broad selection of information sources. Thus, enhancing variety to facilitate comprehensive learning.

Incorporation of Video

Video is the content delivery system du jour today. It’s a widely used format that offers greater engagement than text-only approaches. Plus, they can make certain topics easier to digest than written information alone. Which enhances knowledge gathering and retention.


When it comes to presenting complicated topics, microlearning is the ideal approach. It allows you to take a larger subject and break it down into bite-sized chunks. Thereby, making each module highly focused and digestible.


Gone are the days where everyone relied predominately on computers for information. Instead, mobile devices reign. Which causes the desire for mobile-friendly learning options to increase.

By embracing mobility, you create an anytime, anywhere learning experience. Couple that with microlearning modules, and coursework can fit into even the busiest of schedules.


Active learning is favored over passive approaches. By making the experience interactable – such as through the incorporation of quizzes, scenarios, and activities – learning is enhanced. Interactivity boosts engagement. Thus, leading to greater knowledge retention.

Social Learning

Adding social aspects to the learning experience allows students to glean information from one another. By adding opportunities for open discussion. Students have a chance to explore topics together. This exposes them to ideas and perspectives that vary from their own.


Gamification is a popular approach for engagement enhancement. It adds game-like elements. They can include anything from badge rewards to leaderboards, to boost motivation and augment what can otherwise be a dry or cumbersome experience.

Are You Ready to Incorporate These Instructional Design Trends?

If you need access to L&D experts to incorporate maturing industrial design trends into your e-learning program, Clarity Consultants can help. With over a quarter of a century of experience in the L&D industry. The Clarity team features L&D expertise that can assist you with implementing the right solutions based on your organizational goals. Plus, the Clarity team can serve as candidate search allies. Simplifying the locating and securing the talent you need to excel.

If you want to partner with top L&D professionals who can make embracing new instructional design trends as easy as possible. Clarity Consultants is here. Contact us today.

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