Sauk Valley Community College

an institution of higher education that provides quality learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of its students and community

Instructional Design

What is instructional design? Instructional design can be defined as systematic steps in which we plan, develop, evaluate, and manage the instructional process. The instructional design process often considers the student perspective as an approach to learning rather than the content perspective.

The instructional design process considers the following:

  • Is there a need to improve or develop instruction? (Needs Assessment) This is often the analysis of "what is" and "what it needs to be" and then filling in that "gap" between the two. One way to achieve this is to administer a needs assessment survey which can identify strong and weak points in instruction.
  • Who is the audience? (Audience Analysis) Maybe one of the most important things to consider when designing instruction is who is the instruction going to be designed for? Who is the target audience for the instruction, and ultimately who will be using the materials? Would you include basic definitions in your advanced biology class?... Probably not because those skills would be assumed. Would you include a lot of animations and sounds in your PowerPoint slides for your presentation on Accounting? Probably not because your audience would most likely be adult learners. These are the things to consider.
  • What is the context of instruction? Where will this instruction take place? This will dictate what types of delivery options can be considered. For example, if the course is to be taken online, the content may be different or have to be developed differently than if the course was in a traditional setting. What are the internet connection speeds? Will the students meet online or in the classroom? Will the class be on a CD-ROM? Will the classroom be too hot? too cold? All of these factors should be considered for optimum performance.
  • Development of Instructional Objectives - After the initial questions have been answered, it is time to start development. Most designers develop their instructional objectives before developing the materials which seems to be the best method. The instructional objectives are used as a guide to aid in the development of the materials. What is it that the learners will know or be able to do after this instruction has taken place? After those objectives are defined, the content can then be created based on the objectives.
  • Development of Materials - If the objectives are clearly stated, it makes the development of materials a more enjoyable process. The materials are based on the objectives so the more clear the objectives, the clearer it is to develop the materials based on those objectives.
  • Evaluation- How well did the students reach those objectives? The evaluation tool should be aligned with the objectives. We call this instructional alignment. This is a form of measurement for the given objective or given module. This is sometimes down with pre-post-tests and other forms of evaluation. The assessment however, is more geared toward the complied evaluations throughout the course based on the objectives you sought to teach and achieve.
  • Revision- Revision is a constant process. You may have found an objective that was consistently hard for students to grasp. Maybe the objective was unclear? Maybe the materials to learn the objective were inadequate? Revisions act as a screwdriver that is constantly tweaking the loose areas.

If you need help designing your course, the ITC has a full time instructional designer ready to help. If you need help in the areas of online development, we can also help. Please contact x229 or visit 3M15 for more information.