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D4L Foundation Module

Instructional Design for Online Learning: Techniques and Pedagogy

The Importance of Instructional Design and the 7 Step Instructional Process

The Importance of Instructional Design and The 7 Step Instructional Design Strategy - Transcript(pdf) an

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Additional Comments from Diane Kovacs on The 7 Steps for Effective Online Teaching and Learning

My Process

I developed these very practical instructional design steps by merging Robert M. Gagne's steps for instructional design with my own formal Web site planning and design strategy: Plan First; Design Next; Implement Last; Repeat. It is also influenced by the ideas and experiences of other instructional designers.

This synthesis (and simplification) of formal instructional design steps is intended to give you consistent and practical steps to follow to plan more effective instruction whether it is online instruction or face-to-face or blended. The design steps are derived from actual practice and are a distillation of instructional design perspectives and other special purpose instructional design strategies.

These seven steps are the simplest and most basic instructional design factors essential for good instructional design. Please feel free to expand or add additional factors that occur to you when you consider the learning domain you will be designing instruction for.

This 7 Step Instructional Design Strategy serves as a useful model to build upon for those who do not have a formal background in designing instruction. As you begin designing instruction, you will want to focus on the individual instructional design components. Later, as you become more comfortable with designing instruction and have internalized the components you will find that you are not following the model in the lockstep fashion you were at first.

About the Steps

Notice, that there are five planning and design steps before we even begin developing instructional materials or choosing instructional tools and delivery mechanisms. Don't put the cart before the horse. Design the instruction, the teaching and learning, establish goals and objectives, and the information presentation and interactions that you want to take place. Then consider the options and tools you want to use develop and deliver your instructional materials.

In online teaching it is essential that you choose the best tools available for communicating with your learners as well as for making instructional materials accessible for your learners. Step 6 of the 7 step instructional design strategy is where you will take all of the design decisions you've made in steps 1 through 5 and decide what instructional materials you're going to develop and what online teaching and learning tools you'll use to create your materials and which tools you'll use to communicate your instruction.

Instructional design is always a continuous process. The steps are linear,, do Step 1 before Step 2 and Step 3 before Step 4 and so on, but the instructional design plan is iterative and reiterative. I think that these steps are implicit in most instruction: even when people just teach 'off the top of their heads', there is still a design process.

Optional Recommended Readings:

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