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EME Introduction to Instructional Design: Home

This is a five course series that leads to a certificate in Instructional Design. Students will develop an overview of the field of instructional design as it relates to training, development, and education. Studenst will compare and constrast instruction

Instructional Design Toolkit

This guide was designed to help you discover, explore, learn and manage new tools that you could apply to your Instructional Design course.

word map of emergin technology key words

Instructional Design Keywords

Instructional systems -- Design

Educational technology

Blended learning

Distance education

Internet in education

Internet in higher education

Computer-assisted instruction

Open learning

Educational innovations

Web-based instruction

Instructional Design Defined

Woman in lotus position juggling tech tools

Formal Definition

Instructional design (ID) encompasses a wide array of activities to improve human performance, learning, products, processes, and overall return on investments.  ID includes the use of research, theory, and common sense.  Instructional designers work closely with organizations and subject matter experts to solve problems, determine needs, improve outcomes, and/or find opportunities through systematic analysis and model-based approaches. For example, before producing a learning object, designers will systematically breakdown the skills, subskills, and entry level skills of a learning task for analysis to inform design decisions. 

Informal Definition

Instructional design utilizes critical thinking, expert knowledge, best practices, and technologies to improve an organization either system-wide or in discrete work units.  Technology refers to any tool, software or hardware, or process.  For example, simple writing tasks can be improved with an ergo-dynamic fountain pen, desk, and workstation.  From this example, even a pen is considered technology.  It’s the role of the instructional designer to take all matters, including potentially insignificant ones like a writing tool, into consideration when developing a plan of action.