Every day we are bombarded with information from TV, radio, Twitter, Facebook, emails, ‘phone calls, conversations, and web conferences. We also seek out information:
What’s the policy for doing this? How many of these do we need? How can I update the system? What would be the best way to organise this? Information without structure is worthless.
It is only when you begin to collate, filter and curate information that you can use it as the basis for developing knowledge or skills. This curation is the essence of instructional design – the art and science of e-learning.
Without instructional design, e-learning would just be a collection of stuff – YouTube clips, extracts from documents, marketing brochures, strategy papers, powerpoint slides and nice pictures – with no beginning, middle or end. Without instructional design you’re publishing content, not supporting learning.
Instructional design is the story that takes you from wanting to learn how to do something, to the end point of being able to do it, and proving that you can!
The first critical step of the story is motivation – working out who your audience is and why learning this, doing this, knowing this or experiencing this is going to be of benefit to them.
In e-Learning 101, for example, we are providing you with the know-how and skills to help you better design and manage e-learning projects. But what does that mean to you? Smoother projects? Better outcomes? Successful programmes? Kudos for demonstrating leadership and expertise in learning and development? Hopefully all of the above!
The second step of instructional design is working out what individuals are going to learn. Many e-learning companies say they don’t work with objectives because they aren’t really necessary. We wholeheartedly disagree!