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Instructional Design Principles: Transforming Ordinary Teaching into Extraordinary

Learning is critical, and so is teaching. Here are 9 Instructional Design Principles to transform your ordinary teaching methods into extraordinary ones!

Table of Contents

As an instructor, the learning of your students is your responsibility. How can you assure they learn effectively and fast, acquiring knowledge and skills needed in the future of the workforce?

To achieve this, a well-structured and thoughtfully designed curriculum is essential. Instructional Design principles offer a systematic approach to creating engaging and impactful learning experiences.

In this article, we will delve into each of these principles and demonstrate their application in your curriculum, utilizing Teachfloor's learning platform as a reliable and versatile tool for instructional delivery.

What is Instructional Design?

Instructional Design is the systematic process of creating effective and efficient learning experiences. It involves analyzing learners' needs, defining clear learning objectives, developing instructional materials, and designing instructional strategies that facilitate effective knowledge acquisition.

The goal of instructional design is to create engaging and interactive learning environments that optimize learners' understanding and retention. By employing various methodologies, technologies, and pedagogical techniques, instructional designers ensure that the learning experience is tailored to meet the specific needs of the target audience, resulting in successful learning outcomes and improved performance.

Robert Gagne and the Nine Principles

Effective instructional design is crucial for creating engaging and impactful learning experiences. Robert M. Gagné, a pioneer in educational psychology, proposed the "Nine Events of Instruction" framework, which serves as a solid foundation for designing effective training programs.

“Nine Events of Instructions”

  1. Gain Attention
  2. Inform Learners of the Objective
  3. Stimulate Recall of Prior Learning
  4. Present the Content
  5. Provide Learning Guidance
  6. Elicit Performance
  7. Provide Feedback
  8. Assess Performance
  9. Enhance Retention and Transfer

9 Instructional Design Principles

Principle 1: Gain Attention

The first step in effective instruction is to capture learners' attention by engaging them in different activities such as:

  • Icebreakers and energizers. Start the class with a learning activity that can boost students’ intellectual energy. HyperIsland Toolbox has several activities both for group and individual work. If you want to be fancy, then use free whiteboard tools that you can later embed in a learning platform.
  • Begin with thought-provoking questions or prompts. Grab their attention with a question related to your topic. Ask them to share their insights in front of the class.
  • Share stories, real-world scenarios, or mind-blowing facts. These are the common ones used to set the learning environment of your class. With Teachfloor, you can effortlessly embed a video or a Google slide to present in your class.

Principle 2: Inform Learners of the Objectives

Learners must understand what they are about to learn and why it matters. Clearly stating the learning objectives sets expectations and motivates learners by showing them the value of the knowledge they will gain.

How to apply?

Place the learning objectives prominently at the beginning of each module or learning unit within Teachfloor’s course builder. This not only informs learners but also helps them track their progress throughout the course.

Principle 3: Stimulate Recall of Prior Learning

Prior knowledge serves as a foundation for new learning. Linking the existing knowledge of your students regarding the topic allows them to approach the new topic with confidence.

How to apply?

Encourage learners to share their relevant experiences or knowledge in discussion forums or group activities, fostering a collaborative learning environment.

Create pre-assessments or knowledge checks using Teachfloor’s quiz/survey feature to identify learners' existing knowledge.

Principle 4: Present the Content

The core of instructional design involves presenting the content effectively. This can be achieved through a mix of multimedia content, such as videos, infographics, and interactive presentations. Additionally, incorporating peer-generated content or user-contributed resources encourages active participation and shared knowledge.

How to apply?

Utilize Teachfloor’s course builder to organize content into digestible modules or micro-learning segments. Provide learners with opportunities to create and share their content, contributing to a vibrant and dynamic learning community.

Principle 5: Provide Learning Guidance

Guidance in the form of coaching and mentoring plays a pivotal role in learners' success. You can add special classes such as weekly review classes, group coaching, and 1:1 mentoring—depending on the needs of your students.

How to apply?

Implement discussion boards or chat features using Teachfloor’s Built-in Community, enabling learners to seek guidance from peers and instructors. Facilitate mentorship programs, connecting experienced learners with novices to foster a sense of community and support.

Principle 6: Elicit Performance

Active learning enhances retention. Incorporate gamification elements, quizzes, simulations, or group activities that challenge learners to apply their knowledge in practical scenarios.

How to apply?

Integrate gamified assessments and scenario-based quizzes using Teachfloor. Encourage learners to participate in group projects or collaborative problem-solving activities to apply their newly acquired knowledge in real-world situations.

Principle 7: Provide Feedback

Feedback is critical for reinforcing learning and correcting misconceptions. Providing timely feedback on assessments, discussion contributions, or peer interactions can make the learning experience better.

How to apply?

Automated feedback using Teachfloor’s peer review and instructor review features. Instructors can also offer constructive feedback to learners, promoting continuous improvement.

Principle 8: Assess Performance

Assessment is essential to evaluate learners' progress and ensure learning goals are met. Offer diverse assessment methods, such as self-assessments, peer assessments, and instructor-led evaluations.

How to apply?

Leverage Teachfloor’s dashboard to track learners' progress, completion rates, and engagement metrics. Provide learners with self-assessment tools and encourage them to evaluate their understanding and progress.

Principle 9: Enhance Retention & Transfer

The ultimate goal of instruction is to facilitate long-term retention and transfer of knowledge to real-life situations. Implement spaced repetition techniques, knowledge-sharing events, or access to performance support resources.

How to apply?

Teachfloor offers spaced repetition quizzes or refresher modules to reinforce key concepts. Organize virtual events or webinars to encourage knowledge exchange among learners, consolidating their understanding.

Other Instructional Design Processes and Models

In addition to Robert M. Gagné's Nine Events of Instruction, there are several other well-known instructional design processes and models used by educators and instructional designers to create effective learning experiences. The most prominent ones are:

  1. ADDIE Model: The ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation) model is one of the most widely used instructional design frameworks. It involves a systematic approach that starts with analyzing learners' needs and ends with evaluating the effectiveness of the instruction.
  2. SAM Model: The SAM (Successive Approximation Model) is an iterative and agile instructional design model. It emphasizes collaboration and continuous feedback to develop effective learning solutions.
  3. Merrill's First Principles of Instruction: Developed by David Merrill, this model focuses on five principles: task-centered learning, activation of prior experience, demonstration of skills, application of knowledge, and integration of learning into real-world tasks.

These models and approaches offer different perspectives and methodologies for instructional design, and instructional designers often combine elements from multiple models based on the specific needs and goals of the learning program.

To sum it up!

Instructional Design principles are invaluable tools for educators seeking to create impactful and effective learning experiences. Backed by reliable research and studies, these principles guide instructors in crafting well-structured curricula that cater to the diverse needs of their students.

Utilizing Teachfloor's learning platform as a medium for instructional delivery enhances engagement and interactivity, leading to enriched learning outcomes and better preparation for the challenges of the future workforce.

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