Instructional Design for E-learning: Why it Matters

Designing e-learning courses takes more than graphic design skills and an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter. For an online course to impart knowledge effectively, it must follow the principles of instructional design. This is where many organisations go wrong when designing bespoke training programs.

Custom e-learning design is both an art and a science. It is a multidisciplinary field which requires expertise in educational psychology, learning models and communication, not to mention artistic talent. You could be the world’s leading expert in whatever you are trying to teach, yet still produce completely ineffective custom training material because you are not an experienced e-learning instructional designer.

In this article, we’re going to address a question that more training professionals should be asking: what exactly is instructional e-learning design, and why does it matter?

What is instructional design for e-learning?

E-learning design matters because it determines how and to what extent learners engage with your training content. It isn’t enough to simply cram in all the right information and learning outcomes if that information is not presented in a way that encourages students to recall and apply it.

Instructional design is a system of e-learning content development used to maximise information retention and encourage practical application of knowledge. To put it simply, instructional design ensures your custom training program is effective, by starting the development process with the following questions:

How does instructional design work?

Don’t be won over by a few rave reviews or a fancy website – the proof is always in the pudding. Review your potential provider’s custom e-learning portfolio, and consider the following:

  1. Who are the learners? (age, educational background, subject matter experience etc.).
  2. What new skills or knowledge should the learner be able to demonstrate having concluded the training program?
  3. What method of presenting the training material will facilitate maximum learning?
  4. How can we evaluate the e-learning course to determine how effectively learning outcomes are met?

Ask the custom e-learning design experts

Our team of education experts use instructional design techniques to build results-focused content that your learners will love. If you’re not sure where to begin with your custom e-learning design project, drop RealFruit a message and get a free e-learning project estimate.


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