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The Role of Instructional Design
Once a training specialist has written the course’s learning objectives and confirmed them with the client, it’s time to begin the instructional design phase. During the design phase, the training specialist plans what the course should look like when it’s complete.
At the end of the instructional design phase, the training specialist produces an instructional design document for the course. In many ways, this document is similar to an architect’s blueprints or a software engineer’s design document. The instructional design document describes the course’s content, but it doesn’t contain the course content—just like a blueprint isn’t a house and a software design document isn’t the actual software.
In this section, we’ll explore the ADDIE instructional design phase and the steps that a training specialist takes to build the instructional design document.
Create an Instructional Strategy
At the start of the instructional design phase, the training specialist should have a pretty good idea of what the learners will already know when they start the course (through a learner analysis). The training specialist should also know what learners will need to learn during the course (as stated in the learning objectives).
How do you create a course that helps people move from what they already know and gain mastery of the new material? That’s the question that the instructional design process answers.
During the instructional design phase, the training specialist reviews the course’s learning objectives and considers the following questions:
- How should content be organized?
- How should ideas be presented to learners?
- What delivery format should be used?
- What types of activities and exercises will best help learners?
- How should the course measure learners’ accomplishments?
The answers to these questions help the training specialist produce the instructional design document. This document describes the course structure and its instructional strategies.
During the instructional design phase, the training specialist does not create course content. The actual course content and training materials will be created during the training development phase.
Steps in the Instructional Design Phase
There are basically three steps in the instructional design phase:
- Plan the instructional strategy
- Select the course format
- Write the instructional design document
Next week we will examine the first step in this phase, the instructional strategy.