Instructional Design and Development – Part I

Quality instructional design and development are the first key pieces of understanding good virtual learning experiences.  Just as all face-to-face courses are not equal, likewise not all online courses are equal.  Let’s learn more about what has been proven to be effective, what to look for, and how to design a little yourselves.

This mind map, from Rich James at, demonstrates some of the inter-related concepts of instructional design and development.

instructional design mind map
The above mind map connects instructional design to core concepts such as teaching and learning problems, communication, student motivation, Bloom’s Taxonomy, global outcomes, learning theory, design theory, and online labs.

Now that we’re all caught up with our structure for our ePortfolio and where this mysterious beast called “Distance Learning” was born, we’re going to dive right into “the good stuff”.  What is “the good stuff”? It’s about quality.  Not all online courses are created equal.  We – in higher education – are responsible for making sure the virtual learning environments are the best they can possibly be for student learning.  This includes the design of courses, of modules for student orientation, of access to virtual student support services.  This pretty much includes everything and the kitchen sink.  Instructional design is part common sense, part brain science, part efficiency and utterly focused on the objective – achieving competencies.

GPS Icon denoting course and module-level objectivesCOURSE-LEVEL OBJECTIVE:

2)  Synthesize the genesis of instructional design, including major theories, models, and quality tools as well as OER and accessibility through a multimedia format.


  • 2a).  Describe the genesis of instructional design theory and application.
  • 2b.)  Explain the major theories and models of instructional design.
  • 2c.)  Explain the application of contemporary tools/rubrics for quality instructional design through accepted tools and processes.

I’m a former instructional designer.  I tried to limit the information and activities in this and the next module, so I was selective, but I cannot over-emphasize that Quality is the missing link.  (That works on two levels – think about it;))  Instructional designer humor – I apologize. Enjoy!

Clipboard denoting to do list for the lessonYOUR ACTIVITIES:

For this level, you will be completing the following activities:

  • Engage in the Module:  Basics of Instructional Design
  • Engage in the Module:  Tools and Processes for Quality in Online Learning Design and Implementation
  • Take notes on both modules in your Reflection and Participation Journal
  • Prepare and Post:  First half of Presentation on Instructional Design and Development in the discussion forum

Tree icon denoting reflection journalTake notes in your Reflection and Participation Journal on each of the Learning Modules in this Level.  Be sure to take notes on content as well as your thoughts and application of that content.

Your notes for these Learning Modules should include the title of each section, an outline of the information presented in that section (i.e. the text or the video, etc., on each “page” of the paginated Learning Module.)  Reflect at the conclusion of each of these posts on the content, answering the following questions:  1) How much did you know about this topic before?  Be specific – which names, theories, processes, etc., 2) What did you find most surprising or what was most new to you from the information?, and 3) How would you, as an administrator within higher education, be using this knowledge in the administration of a distance learning program, or working with online services or supports?

Open icon indicating opening a moduleThe Basics of Instructional Design

Open icon indicating opening a moduleCurrent Tools for Quality in Online Learning Design & Implementation

Open icon indicating opening a moduleProject:  Instructional Design and Development, Part I

Note – icons taken from