Thoughts about instructional design

Prompt: What do you think about instructional design so far?

At this point in the semester, I have completed the Analysis, Design, and Development phases of the ADDIE framework for my project. So far, I am really enjoying my hands-on experience with instructional design. My client is awesome and extremely receptive. Not only is he patient with my mistakes and me because he understands that this is my first foray with instructional design but also he is willing to adapt. He considers my changes and ideas even if they are not what he first proposed. We listen and learn from each other. This really helps the instructional design process to progress smoothly and stay on track. I think that client/instructional designer relationship is the key to a good (or bad) design experience.

With this brief introduction into instructional design, I have learned so much! I have learned that analysis is without a doubt the most important step in instructional design. You must know your users and the tasks that they are expected to accomplish in order to move forward with the instructional design process (Leidner & Jarvenpaa, 1995). If a thorough understanding of users and the tasks is ignored or skipped over, the instructional design is pretty much guaranteed to fail. How is one expected to best meet a client’s needs without first learning about the client and the client’s constituents? The short answer is you cannot.

I have also learned that while media can and does influence learning (Kozma, 1994) the instructional designer  should first choose a learning theory that best matches the learning goals and objectives (Clark, 1994). In my opinion, it is backwards thinking to start with the educational technology first and design the lesson around that. Kozma’s (1994) examples clearly showed how the educational technology used furthered the learning. A great example from the reading were the videos and how they helped mitigate cognitive burden as users did not need to memorize everything and could refer back to the video when needed. In addition, they helped learners transfer knowledge. Students who watched the videos were able to apply those skills to similar learning situations (Kozma, 1994). It was also just as clear that those examples were based upon a sound learning theory. The instructors chose the learning theory first and then decided upon the technology to achieve the learning goals (Clark, 1994; Kozma, 1994).

I also am beginning to understand how instructional design functions. By this, I mean that I realize it is always an ongoing process. True instructional design never really ends. Yes, at some point, a product must be delivered to the client; however, the instructional designer still needs to monitor how the product functioned. Did it meet the client’s and the users’ needs? Did any trouble spots occur? What worked well and what did not? Then, the process begins anew. Changes are made and a new version is delivered.

I look forward to continuing my journey. I hope that the remainder of this project continues to be a joy and the second one follows the same path. I know that each project will bring its own challenges but I hope that my experiences stay positive. Learning is more productive when I am having fun.


Clark, R. E. (1994). Media and method. Educational Technology Research & Development42(3), 7-10.

Kozma, R. B. (1994). Will  media influence learning? Reframing the debate. Educational Technology Research & Development, 42(2), 7-19.

Leidner, D. E., & Jarvenpaa, S. L. (1995). The use of information technology to enhance management school education: A theoretical view. MIS Quarterly, 19, 265-291.

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