instructional design
instructional design

Instructional Design


gas-like elements


What is Instructional Design?

Instructional design is a practice by which learner or organizational needs are identified leading to a learning solution being crafted, implemented, evaluated and refined.

Other Common Names

  • Instructional Systems Design
  • ADDIE Instructional Design Model

Key Properties

Instructional design is the intentional process of deciding how (or if) training can help solve a problem, determining the best way to create a learning experience that will address the problem, and then evaluating the effectiveness of the learning experience. These are some core properties of instructional design:

  • A structured approach
  • A needs analysis, program design, and assessment (at a minimum)
  • An engaging learning experience intended to meet an individual or organizational need

Freeing Up More Time To Spend On Better Instructional Design

Have you ever wished you could have more time in your day to develop better, creative, more engaging and effective training programs? Brian’s podcast with Megan Torrance doesn’t magically teach you how to get you more time, but she does talk about some key ways to save time and avoid time suckers during your next training project.

instructional systems design

Resources From The Train Like a Champion Blog

Thoughtfully designed insights from What's Your Formula?

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Order your copy to learn more about instructional design and all of the related elements.

Elements that Bond with Instructional Design

measuring for effectivenessMeasuring for Effectiveness

Regardless of the instructional
design model that you choose to use, the final piece of the process will always involve evaluation, assessing, or measuring for effectiveness. The key is to include any sort of measurement into the design of the
program so that it is a natural part of the learning experience and not simply an add-on after the fact.

learning boostsLearning Boosts

One of the biggest challenges of looking at a two-dimensional visual representation of a model on paper or your computer screen is that it’s easy to lose sight of the depth that goes into a process like instructional design. Steps such as design or implementation should not be thought of as one-time components. Incorporating an element such as learning boosts will mean that implementation is not a one-time event, but rather a series of pieces that make up a larger, more comprehensive learning experience.


You can learn a lot about people—the way
they respond to pressure or adversity, work within a structured environment, adhere to rules, or choose to problem solve—through game play. Incorporating a string of game-based elements into the design of a learning experience can be a particularly useful strategy, as long as it aligns with the learning objectives that have been established to address a challenge or problem.

learning objectivesLearning Objectives Taxonomy

As you’ve read earlier in this chapter, choosing the right learning objectives and connecting them to the appropriate learning activities is a core piece to any effective design step.


This element is a kind of alpha and omega when it comes to instructional design. Data will be an essential piece when kicking off an instructional design project and performing the initial assessment. Collecting good data during and following the implementation of a learning experience will be crucial when evaluating the effectiveness of the program.

Learn More About Instructional Design

Books on Instructional Design

These are some of the best books on instructional design because they focus on the practical application of instructional design.

Design Thinking for Training and Development approaches instructional design challenges from a design thinking perspective. Sharon Boller and Laura Fletcher challenge L&D professionals to look first at the learner experience.

In the Accidental Instructional Designer, Cammy Bean provides a roadmap for professionals new to instructional design and, more specifically, elearning development. 


Download the Element Sanity Check

Even if you haven’t yet purchased the book (what are you waiting for?!) you can get access to worksheets that will help guide you through the use of the elements of amazing learning experiences.