Online learning or eLearning is the fastest-growing market in the learning and training sector. The worldwide eLearning market will be worth $325 Billion in 2025 (Source: Forbes). Online learning uses information and communication as a learning method and delivers them electronically, using databases and learning management systems. Instructional design for eLearning provides the learner with an effective, interesting, and engaging learning experience. But what is this instructional design for eLearning? Let us now dive deep into it.

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What is instructional design for eLearning?

Instructional design is a process by which eLearning developers plan out the structure and flow of the online courses, ensuring that they have included all steps and parts in order to achieve the learning goals. The eLearning developers, create training materials for effective online learning. Instructional design can develop a comprehensive planning process and determine which design helps the learners learn most effectively. Instructional design for eLearning makes the learning process learner-centric and not instructor-centric. Instructional designers use various instructional design models to achieve this goal.

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Types of Instructional Design Models for eLearning

There are a few basic types of instructional design models for eLearning, which should be well-known to instructional designers in order to create and deliver high-quality training programs:

  1. ADDIE Model
  2. Merrill’s Principles of Instruction
  3. Gagne’s Nine Events of Instructions
  4. Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy
  5. SAM Model
  6. Dick and Carey Model
  7. Action Mapping by Cathy Moore

Each of these seven approaches of instructional design for eLearning mentioned above has benefits and drawbacks. One of these instructional design models may be more suitable than the others depending on the issue that is on hand. However, simply following these models when developing eLearning courses will not result in an effective learning module.

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Instructional Design Strategies for an Effective eLearning Module

To effectively create an instructional design for eLearning that can properly visualize the eLearning module, instructional designers must acknowledge a few things.

  1. Set clear learning objectives: While creating an instructional design for eLearning, instructional designers must set clear learning objectives. Learning objectives generate a structural base and provide learners with a vision of what to expect from the course.
  2. Research the target audience: Instructional designers should always have a clear idea about the learners who are going to use that learning module. It ensures that the learners are following a personalized training plan so that they get the most benefit possible.
  3. Break it up: An eLearning module should always be flexible in nature. Instructional designers should not design extended modules. Breaking up the lesson into pieces and delivering short lessons allow learners to learn independently at their own pace.
  4. Use audio-visual content: Audio-visual contents have high retention power. To hold the maximum attention, instructional designers must include relevant audio-visual details in their content, such as images, data charts, audio explanations and videos.
  5. Use scenario-based learning: In scenario-based learning, the learners are presented with a scenario or a situation and are then asked how to go forward from the scenario. It is a technique of teaching through storytelling. Instructional designers must try to include scenarios in the eLearning module to make it more relatable for the learners. The scenarios must force the employees or learners to employ their critical, analytical, and evaluative powers. They must encourage the employees or learners to think creatively and put themselves in the middle of the scenario before taking any action.
  6. Create storyboards: To maintain the effectiveness of the course, instructional designers create storyboards to generate an efficient learning environment for the learners, generally using PowerPoint. The PowerPoint storyboard includes images, points, videos, transition effects, and animations to create a visual representation of content. It is a structural guide that helps the instructional designers throughout the course development phase.
  7. Modify according to mobile learning: Mobile learning could reach $80.1 billion worldwide by 2027 (Source: Globe News Wire). Therefore, eLearning content should be accessible anytime, anywhere, regardless of device. Instructional designers should allow content to be accessed on mobile devices to better enable learning at the point of need.
  8. Include immersive experience: Statistics on eLearning trends for 2022 show that augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are key trends that could drive the eLearning sector forward in the future (Source: Globe News Wire). Both AR and VR provide an opportunity for trainers to better engage their learners using immersive experiences that make learning programs much more practical, effective, and enjoyable. Instructional designers must therefore leverage this modern technology to create an effective learning experience.
  9. Include a variety of learning activities: At the beginning of each lesson, tell the learners a fascinating fact. To get learners to participate in the learning session, begin with a warm-up activity. Assign group tasks that require them to collaborate. Use collaborative whiteboards and embedding games or some scenario to allow learners to connect. Introducing a variety of learning activities will help to generate their curiosity, hold their attention, and as a result, they will learn more with greater retention.
  10. Provide instant feedback: It is important for learners to evaluate the learning journey in every step. It not only considers the learners’ progress but also evaluates the efficiency of the eLearning course in general. Instructional designers can leverage the power of information and data to understand and assess how well learners are responding to the content and continuously improve their learning experience. Therefore, instructional designs for eLearning must include assessments for the learners that will keep providing them with feedback.

Benefits of Instructional design for eLearning

The instructional design makes eLearning content, which is full of data and information, more engaging and impactful to the learners. It is highly interactive and engaging in nature. It promotes active learning among its learners. It, therefore, enhances the process of solving problems. Here are some ways in which instructional design for eLearning adds value to a learning journey:

  1. Motivates the learners: A well-aligned instructional design stimulates human curiosity. Curiosity helps humans to want to know more about what happens next. The storytelling nature of scenario-based learning intrigues human psychology. Therefore, naturally, this type of learning generates a sense of motivation in the learners.
  2. Prepares them for real-world situations: Compared to other traditional learning experiences, using instructional design for eLearning has a higher likelihood of producing successful outcomes. Learners always develop more extraordinary cognitive abilities than traditional learners. They exhibit better problem-solving skills, better memory, higher retention power, and excellent attention control. Employees who need to upskill at their jobs find it more appropriate as it also prepares them to solve real problems.
  3. Affects the thinking and behavioral patterns: It enables learners to influence the behavior taken in real life and helps them achieve the desired outcomes. However, instructional design for eLearning must be well designed, accounting for all the variables in the learner’s real life.
  4. Better completion rates: This type of learning is exceptional for keeping the learners engaged throughout the learning journey. It cultivates more real experiences from augmented reality than virtual ones.
  5. Has higher recall and retention power: Visual effects are highly appreciated when it comes to learning. Therefore, by creating audio-visual techniques as a reality, by using scenario-based learning, instructional designers transform how learners used to learn and make it a more easily graspable form of eLearning.
  6. Promotes learning through experience: Instructional design for eLearning ensures that knowledge is fundamental and relevant to people by facilitating knowledge through expertise. It generates essential skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, teamwork, and communication.


Instructional design for eLearning

Instructional design for eLearning


Due to the above-mentioned reasons, eLearning developers favor the instructional design for eLearning. It leverages effective learning that prepares learners for life in the real world and can benefit them. Therefore, when it comes to corporate training, instructional design for eLearning is widely preferred by employers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is instructional design?

Instructional design for eLearning is a process by which instructional designers plan out the structure and flow of the online courses, ensuring that they have included all steps and parts to achieve the learning goals.

What makes a good instructional design?

To effectively create an instructional design for eLearning that can properly visualize the eLearning module, instructional designers must set clear learning objectives. Learning objectives are an essential element of any eLearning course. It generates a structural base and provides learners with a vision of what to expect from the course.

What is the most effective instructional design model?

ADDIE is arguably the most important and influential instructional design model for eLearning. ADDIE stands for the five key stages of the instructional design process: Analysis, Design, Development, Imp Why is instructional design important in eLearning?

Why is instructional design important in eLearning?

Instructional Design plays an important role in eLearning, as it helps the learners with higher retention of knowledge. It motivates the learners, prepares them for real-world situations, and promotes learning through experience.

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