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What is instructional design?

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Quick Answer

Instructional design is the systematic planning and practice of creating the components of an instructional course. The process is used to determine the needs of the learner and the end goals of the necessary instruction.

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The instructional design process begins with an analysis of the learning outcomes for the intended student. The process then identifies the teaching strategies and student activities most likely to achieve the desired outcomes. The process also develops multiple methods to assess whether the outcomes were achieved and the extent of their effectiveness. The purpose of instructional design is to build courses and course components that achieve deep and positive student learning. This is done by utilizing research on how students learn information and the best practices to use to teach and learn information.

Instructional design, also known as Instructional System Design, makes the process of acquiring knowledge more effective, efficient and appealing to students. The process typically takes place in student-only, teacher-led or community-based settings, and has numerous models that it follows. Many of the models are based on the ADDIE model, which is named for the five phases that it consists of. These phases include: analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation. The outcome of the process may be directly observable and scientifically measured, or the outcome may turn out to be completely hidden and only assumed. The instructional design process is rooted in cognitive and behavioral psychology, although learning theory also influences this field of learning.

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