What Instructional Design Theories Work Best With Online Training?
Online training offers a wealth of opportunity for learners and trainers alike. It provides deep resources and easy access to corporate training that companies have quickly found great value in. But not every type of lesson works well in a digital format. Here are 3 instructional design models that have proven to operate well in the modern age of online training courses.
1) The ADDIE Model 
The ADDIE Model is an instructional design theory that we have mentioned before on this blog. It’s known as one of the very first popular instructional design models and while it might not be intuitive to think that it would translate well to a digital format, most designers still use the ADDIE process when creating eLearning courses. ADDIE stands for Analysis, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate. Each phase of the model offers designers the chance to make important changes and improvements before moving on to the next phase, but most importantly it’s a cyclical design process. If something doesn’t work perfectly the first time, designers and trainers can take that information and apply it to the next cycle. ADDIE works well in the development of online training because it can be used in such a wide variety of formats. In the design phase, instructors can pick the most appropriate media and delivery methods for an eLearning environment and from there, impact can be monitored and feedback provided in the ways that make sense for an online training program. The foundational theories and flexibility are what make ADDIE an excellent choice for online training.
2) Merrill’s Principles of Instruction
Another popular design theory that translates exceptionally well to the digital space is Merrill’s Principles of Instruction (or MPI). This instructional design framework focuses on holistically promoting learning through focusing on problems and tasks that students can recognize from real-world situations, through activating an existing knowledge base of the learner, demonstrating knowledge to increase retention, application through practice and learning from mistakes, and opportunities to integrate the new knowledge into the learner’s world through discussion, reflection, and even presentation of new knowledge. From an eLearning perspective, these principles are very important because they can ground a potentially high-level learning exercise in the real-world through video, forums, comments, and other digital learning and engagement formats.
3) Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction
Robert Gagne’s instructional framework is built on a series of events based on the behaviorist approach to learning. These events occur systematically, creating a flexible model where events can be adapted to cater to different learning situations, making the model especially relevant to the diverse learning opportunities that online training can provide. The nine steps that Gagne outlines are:
  • Gain the attention of the students.
  • Communicate the learning objective.
  • Stimulate recall of prior learning.
  • Present the content in easily consumable chunks.
  • Provide guidance through examples, case studies, and other instructional support.
  • Elicit performance through engagement in activities that recall and use the new knowledge.
  • Provide immediate feedback to reinforce knowledge.
  • Assess performance through testing.
  • Enhance retention and transfer to the job.
Are you looking for consultants that can help you design the online training programs to help you reach your goals?
These instructional design models and many others are all relevant to online training programs, but finding the best one depends on you, your company, and your learners. For more advice on building an impactful learning and development program, connect with the experts at Clarity Consultants today.

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