Successful instructional design strategies for e-learning influence learners to complete the course and engage with it. It creates a holistic approach in the course where the learner takes the course and retains the content in their memory. It ensures that the course has used a strategy that accomplishes the learning objectives.

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What is Instructional Designing?

Instructional designing refers to the visual presentation and elaborate instructions provided that helps turn the vision of an e-learning course into reality. The course approach, the appearance, and the design are all designed by the Instructional Designer. The storyboard that they create is then passed to the developer who works on the production of the course.

Why do Instructional Designers Require Strategies?

Without a plan in mind, accomplishing serious work, like creating an e-learning course, can be difficult. Strategies help us have a clear conception of how we will tackle the work ahead. For instructional designing, strategies become essential to meet the course’s learning objectives and ensure that the learner can grasp the content.

How to Use Instructional Design Strategies in e-Learning?

Gagné’s Nine Events of Instructions was proposed in 1965. It looked at the learner’s perspective to address ways in which to enhance their learning. The objective was to develop a set of strategies that instructors could use to help all types of learners absorb their studies.

Gagné’s instructions can be adapted in the digital age as instructional design strategies for e-learning. These work in all learning modes as they contain the basics of a learner’s capability to grasp and retain information. Instructional Designer can strategize and create a course that meets the client’s requirements and intellectually engages with the learner.

Here are some simple instructional design strategies for e-learning that can be followed while conceptualizing and storyboarding:

1. Grab the Learner’s Attention:

The first few pages of a book decide whether the reader will want to continue reading. Similarly, how a course begins decides whether the learner is engrossed from the very beginning or not. An uninteresting start may waver their interest. To motivate the learner, you can do one of the following –

  • Start with a small video to set the context. Give the learner a teaser of what they can anticipate further from the course. They know what course they are taking, but this teaser will tell them why completing it will benefit them.
  • Ask the learners a question. This can be something thought-provoking and related to the course. The learner will be intrigued as they understand completing the course will provide them with the answer. It can also be a question that you ask the learner to re-answer after taking the course. It will help them apply their newfound knowledge and revise their answers later.
  • Splash screens that add intrigue. These splash screens will appear to the learner as a video. It is not an introductory video. It will launch the learner into the course with some related concepts and rhetorical questions to interest them.

2. Course Objectives:

Why should the learner take this course? What are they going to learn from it? Knowing what value addition, the learner will receive after taking a course can help them frame their mindset about what they will learn while taking the course.

Before the learner gets into the details of the course, tell the learners what they will learn by the end of the course. Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to refer to the proper instructive phrases that should be used. The statements should be engaging as well as encouraging. The objectives are the space where you can interest the learner further.

3. Reiterate Ideas:

When the learner is being taught a new topic or concept, it is a good idea to remind them of the basics about the topic that they may already know. This makes it easier for the learner to associate concepts that they already have with new ones, facilitating better understanding. The idea is that when you teach a new concept, you should not assume that the learner will be able to associate what they already know with it. Even if they can, repeating already known concepts can stimulate the learner’s mind. It helps reach the course’s objective to ensure that the learner has fully understood the new concepts.
You can use one of the following methods to reiterate ideas:

  • Recap: Have a “Recap” section before teaching a new concept. Revise with the learners the older concepts that are relevant for understanding the new ones.
  • Tests: A short quiz to test the learner’s knowledge can also help them remember concepts. Even if they answer incorrectly, the feedback to the questions will serve as recaps.
  • Within the Course: Instead of reminding the learners of the concepts at one go, you can also add them at interim locations while teaching new concepts. You could add a “Did You Know” or “Information Check” tab. These will not break the flow of understanding the new concept but remind the learner of the older ones where relevant.

4. Visual Presentation:

As the learner will engage with the content, you need to ensure that the content does not feel monotonous. Use a mix of ways to present the content on the screen or the activities the learning needs to do. There are plenty of instructional design strategies for e-learning that can be used:

  • Gamification: Based on the level of interactivity required, e-learning courses can be modified to have a gaming element. The concept is that the learning will occur alongside playful elements to reinforce learning. The learner can be given a situation based on concepts they have learnt, and accordingly, they must play the game to move ahead in the course. There can also be other interactive elements like clickables presented as tabs, timelines, hotspots and so on so that the learner interacts with the course more.
  • Micro-learning: Given the short length of micro-courses, a study done by the Journal of Applied Psychology found that the effectiveness of micro-learning is 17% more. The short duration helps the learner retain the content better.
  • Scenarios: A learner’s relatability with the course content increases their chances of retention. Using examples becomes a great way to reinforce concepts and ideas. Using scenarios is an effective way to help the learner understand the concept better. The similarity to real-life situations helps the learners associate and recall the concepts later.
  • Facilitators: While the shift from classroom learning to e-learning has become popular, some learners may still prefer the idea of someone teaching them. Since e-learning is not live sessions, you can include figures who facilitate the course. They will occur at intervals, introduce the concept, reiterate ideas, and ask thought-provoking questions.
  • Videos: To break the monotony of texts and images, videos can be a new visual presentation to interest the learners.

5. Knowledge Checks:

Short knowledge checks in-between sections of a course or a quiz at the end of a course is an excellent way to reinforce learning. It allows the learner to check their knowledge and progress. Scenario-based questions can also supplement them. Whichever form is used, remember to add feedbacks for correct and incorrect options chosen. This will help the learner understand their mistakes and reinforce the correct concepts.

You could also take a survey before the start of the course and compare it to the quiz results. The learner will get a sense of accomplishment that taking the course has enhanced their knowledge.

You mix all these instructional design strategies for e-learning mentioned above or pick the ones relevant to your requirements. Remember that the learner will not have the scope to ask follow-up questions. Therefore, you must design the course so that the concepts are clear to the learner, and once they finish the course, they understand what value addition the course has done.

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