E-Learning Blog: The Role of Instructional Design in Course Development

Sometimes faculty are hesitant to contact the E-Learning office to request assistance from an Instructional Designer when building or revising an online course.  The reasons for this hesitation are as varied as the teaching and learning styles in our university.  However, taking that first step to meet with a designer and discuss the design or re-design of an online course can be one of the best steps you’ll ever take for your course and your students.  A few key outcomes from working with an Instructional Designer to build an online course include:

  • Simplified learning process that ultimately saves time for both faculty and learners
  • Learners who are engaged with clear and meaningful content
  • Specific course and module goals that allow learners to focus on content that faculty have identified as most important
  • Interactive learning activities that help learners to be more successful in their final assessments
  • Clear alignment between course objectives, activities, assessments and supporting tools

I recently came across a video on the Articulate software blog that helps adds interesting clarity to the role of an instructional designer in course design.  Take 1 minute to view the “Awareness Test”:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47LCLoidJh4

The process of watching this video demonstrates a few excellent points that relate to instructional design.  Imagine that the video was the content of an online course.  If the learner simply sat down and watched the video, it would be difficult for the student to know where to focus.  There’s a lot going on in the video!  The learner might focus on the number of people, maybe their focus would be to determine which team had higher level skills, or maybe the learner would just sit and enjoy the overall “plot” of the video.  Thankfully the video added a bit of instruction — to count the number of passes made by the white team.  This instruction allowed the learner to reach the goal to identify 13 passes.  However, in the process of focusing on this task, most of us missed another key aspects of the video.  Honestly, was I the only one who missed the moonwalking bear???

When it comes to your online course, the same sort of thing can happen.  There’s a lot of information related to the topic of your course.  If you simply put all of the information into the course shell and leave it up to the learner to determine what is important, they may go in a number of different directions.

Instructional design is the process of clearly identifying the information that you want to convey to learners in your course and systematically building the content and activities to allow your learners to reach the goals you’ve identified.

The E-Learning Services department at USFSM looks forward to working with you to build or re-design an upcoming online or hybrid course.  Interested?  Contact us via phone or e-mail to set up an initial meeting time!

E-Learning Services – elearning @sar.usf.edu – (941)359-4295

Article Referenced: http://blogs.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/what-everybody-ought-to-know-about-instructional-design/