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The Art of Instructional Design

"Instructional Design is the process of combining information into a logical sequence or flow for an engaging learning experience."

All too often, I hear people say that putting training materials together is easy and after seeing the content of a course they claim that they could do a better job. Unfortunately, I have see the results of such ignorant claims and it always amuses me that people who make such claims create some of the worst materials for training. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to designing content. I compare it to the same concept as an artist who understands his or her craft versus the critic who cannot draw a straight line.

When you look at the finished product of an artist who creates a beautiful image, the skill in creating that image is often over looked by the simplicity of the content. For example, take a look at the image of a rose below. To the untrained eye, it is a pretty picture that offers some aesthetic beauty. It is simply a rose that displays circular lines swirling towards or away from the center. To the trained eye, it is clear to see how the professional planned and applied specific skills to create a beautiful image. The professional sees things that most people do not see such as the direction of the light, use of shading and texture, and the overall composition of the image. The professional understands that by applying the principles of art that the experience of viewing the image will strengthen the aesthic appeal to the average person.

Instructional Design is not easy

Similarly, the professional designer sees things that noninstructional designers see. They look at the sequence of the materials, how information is packaged and displayed to achieve learning objectives. The instructional designer understands how objectives and expectations of a course are interwoven throughout its content. Like the artist who desires a successful reaction to his or her work, the designer desires to have the learner respond successfully to the concepts presented.

As you learn these concepts, you will better understand how to make training an exciting experience for the learner. The better you are in applying the concepts such as ADDIE and the various learning theories and styles, the greater success you will achieve in meeting your course objectives.

I invite you to explore my site to learn the concepts of instructional design. I will attempt to share some practical advice that I have learned during my career. For me, this profession is an art and requires the ability to analyze and organize information that appeals to the learning process of the audience. It is more that just placing words or a picture on a page or website. It is the process of how we learn from others to be successful in applying the principles or concepts of what we are taught.


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