What is Instructional Design?

What to Teach and Options for How to Teach It

Instructional Design involves purposeful and systematic planning of a course (or components of a course). It is a process that begins with an analysis of the intended student learning outcomes, identifies teaching strategies and student activities to enable students' achievement of the outcomes, and ends with the development of multiple methods to assess whether and to what extent the outcomes were achieved. As noted, the process includes the development of instructional materials, activities, assessments, and evaluation of the effectiveness of the design and delivery. The process utilizes research on how students learn, best practices in teaching and learning, and guiding principles of instructional design practice. Much like carpenters with a large collection of tools and resources, the faculty and instructional designer collaborate in building a course or components of a course that will affect deep and positive student learning.

How Does It Work?

Instructional design focuses on the integration of three key elements:

  • Learning Outcomes – defines what the students will know or be able to do
  • Instructional Strategies – defines teaching methods and student activities that will support the students' achievement of the learning outcomes
  • Assessment – defines methods that will determine whether and to what extent students' achieved the learning outcomes

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