Optimizing Instructional Design for improving e-Learning Outcomes
As education is rapidly going digital, the nature of teaching itself is now poised for a revamp. What was once the domain of a living, breathing teacher in a traditional classroom setup is now gradually shared by computers, tablets, and smartphones. So, how do educators ensure training students is effectively done while focusing on cogent instruction? This is where instructional design comes into play for developing compelling e-Learning outcomes.
According to Reclaiming Instructional Design, presented at Utah State University “Instructional design is a technology which incorporates known and verified learning strategies into instructional experiences which make the acquisition of knowledge and skill more efficient, effective, and appealing.”
Some popular instructional design models used today are ADDIE model, Bloom’s Taxonomy, and the SAM model. The optimization of instructional design needs a focused approach towards extracting high quality out of the process, as opposed to merely improving the speed of designing it.
But today’s instructional design is not a stand-alone practice that implies a model of learning. It’s instead closely related to the pedagogical approach of a course. The most powerful model in today’s time – ‘evidence-based learning’ is based on the data of user behavior and preferences. It allows for the course to evolve continuously based on regular inflow of data. Similarly, in the k-12 segment, experience-based learning (or experiential learning) is gaining a lot of popularity, which is also the direction in which the US school curriculum is headed.
While training and content are important elements, the process of real learning takes place only when the instructional process is equally equipped to support it. By leveraging these instructional design strategies, educators can improve several e-Learning outcomes for students:
An outcome-based approach
An effective way to ensure results is to design your instructional design module while considering its outcomes. The focus should be on what the students already know and what they’d be able to achieve at the end of a particular training session.
To impart a meaningful learning experience, focus on learning outcomes, allowing them to guide the entire instructional design process. One model that works particularly well for this approach is Bloom’s Taxonomy, serving as an index that specifies learning objectives to be realized at the end of the lesson in question. For instance, the results that are facilitated by an outcome-based approach are being able to solve physics problems, recite mathematical tables or name authors of books. Like they say, if you know your objectives, the right content will follow.
Break it up
It’s no secret that processing bite-sized chunks of information is easier than taking it all in a single go. A heavy, prolonged training session is more likely to result in confusion than actual learning. The idea then is to break down the instructional process into mini-modules that directly tie with the learning objective, providing the process with a proper structure and order. This eases the process of learning for students since each objective is now represented by a module.
To structure these small units, arrange them by their respective outcomes and spread the plan over a simple Excel sheet. This will allow you to determine how different kinds of content can be integrated for maximum impact, identify gaps in objectives, and balance your delivery (for instance, pedagogic vs. interactive).
Magic designs short, fun games as part of its modules to enable effective learning in students. Owing to its bite-sized content, Magic’s training material enjoys a wide appeal among learners. After all, optimizing instructional design, at the end of the day, is about focusing on quality instead of quantity. Promoting a higher level of learning is one of the central tenets of effective instructional design-based learning. Imparting relevant learning experiences is thus an important task that educators need to address from design stage to delivery and evaluation stages of instruction.