So, what is it?
Instructional design is a systematic and iterative results-focused process. It begins by determining the expected learning outcomes which enables the identification of appropriate instructional strategies to support learners in achieving the desired outcomes.
The instructional design process is one that is applied at various levels - macro, meso, micro. These levels are relative to the context in which they are being addressed. The following describe the relative nature of the design levels:
- For example, macro-level design can be thought of in terms of curricular revisions, while meso-level could be focused on course re-design in relation to the curricular revisions, and micro-level, in this context, could be changes in course assignments.
- Another example, that we often see in e-learning implementations, is one that considers course re-design at the macro-level, with course components, such as assignment creation, as meso-level, and sub-components, such as assignment task delineation for learner-content interaction, as micro-level.
Why are these levels important to keep in mind?
Because of Alignment. The instructional design process enables the creation of connections and the weaving of paths for reaching the desired learning. When these connections and paths for learning are present, within the process of design and among the levels of design (macro, meso, micro), then alignment is present. Therefore, alignment is the glue that holds the parts together. When misalignment occurs, the connections and paths for learning no longer lead to the desired learning outcomes.
Within e-learning environments, especially in distance education settings, good instructional design offers learners and faculty effective and time-saving ways to manage their learning and teaching respectively.
Next week, I will explore the intersection between instructional design and technology acceptance in relation to e-learning.