Instructional Design Elements Every eLearning Course Must Include


Creating an eLearning course has never been simple. No matter how modern your eLearning authoring tools are, whatever can go wrong will go wrong.

For example, missing out on including important eLearning elements is a common mistake. Even seasoned professionals can forget to include certain elements in their courses. With this article, we aim to help you avoid this mistake. 

This article outlines a comprehensive list of 10 elements of effective instructional design every eLearning course must include. 

Before we get to the list, let us start with the basics.

What Does “Instructional Design For eLearning” Entail?

Instructional design, also known as instructional systems design, is the systematic procedure of developing and delivering learning experiences and materials to learners. The learning objective is the central component of the instructional design process. Ideally, the learner’s desired outcome should align with this learning objective. 

The instructional designer’s responsibility is to develop and present instructional content and insights that effectively aid the learner in achieving their goals.

The instructional design process begins with an evaluation of the needs of the learners and an understanding of their learning styles. This helps instructional designers produce the most effective instructional materials to support the learning process. 

Following the delivery of these materials, learning administrators can monitor the effectiveness of the integrated program by assessing observable outcomes, such as a change in behavior or increased performance.

Now that we have understood what instructional design is, let’s look at the most important elements of instructional design:

Clearly Defined Learning Objectives

Defining learning objectives and goals is a crucial component of eLearning design. Goals and objectives enable the eLearning teams to guarantee that each exercise, assessment, and interactive media component yields the desired outcome. With clearly defined and well-laid-out objectives, you can also ensure that your course content is being designed while considering the preferences and expectations of the learners. 

Messing up this one element can compromise the effectiveness of the rest of your eLearning development efforts. For this reason, it is advisable to spend some time thinking about your goals. Once you are absolutely sure about your goals, move on to the next step.

Illustrations And Visuals

An essential component of an online learning course is visual stimulus. Information, when visually prompted, is easier to remember in the long term. Videos, infographics, illustrations, and graphics are common visual stimuli used in eLearning. Besides deciding what visual elements to use, you must also pay attention to how you use them. 

A seasoned eLearning development partner can help with this. For instance, using charts and diagrams to communicate complex numbers and stats is a good idea. 

While adding visuals to your course content, it is important to ensure these elements align with your brand’s colors and theme. This way, your awesome course will not just produce desirable results for your learners, but it will also contribute to your brand image.

Use Of Interesting Multimedia

Today’s learners adore multimedia. Since most of us consume a lot of multimedia content, using it in training content can increase learner engagement. 

The best part is there are many interesting and smart ways to use videos and other multimedia content for training. For instance, you can turn lengthy and complex lessons into a series of quick video courses. Similarly, instead of making a video from scratch, you can integrate audiovisual content from other sources like YouTube.

Practical eLearning Exercises

Learning by doing is better than learning by viewing or reading. Practical exercises improve knowledge retention. They also provide learners with the practice they need to successfully implement what they have learned in the real world. Such exercises also help employees understand the relevance of learning, prompting them to pay more attention and be more involved with training.

Drag-and-drop interactions, virtual scenarios, simulations, and learning games are great examples of engaging eLearning exercises. 

The biggest advantage of such exercises is that they allow learners to make errors in hypothetical situations instead of actual ones and learn from them.

eLearning Evaluations

It is crucial to test online learners’ knowledge to measure the impact of your training. Instructional designers often include assessments after an online course. However, it does not permit learners to track their growth. When evaluating learners at the end of the eLearning course, neither managers nor instructors can determine their progress.

Besides conducting regular tests at the beginning and conclusion of the course, it is also a good idea to have periodic tests and assessments during the course. These assessments will act as a point of reference and help you and the learners notice visible and verifiable differences in their knowledge and/or performance.

Additional Resources On The Internet

It might not be possible to cover every skill or subtopic in an eLearning course. But including more links to complementary online resources can allow online learners to explore related topics on an individual level. Including online resources like news, blogs, videos, and eBooks within the interface of your course can help foster a culture of learning.

In some cases, such resources may even help struggling learners understand complex topics and catch up to their peers. 

Concise eLearning Materials

Breaking up complex and long lessons into small, focused, easily-digestible chunks of knowledge is a great way to combat the lack of attention. This practice is known as Microlearning and it has been scientifically proven to improve comprehension and retention.

Every content section should ideally support its own learning goals and function as a stand-alone eLearning resource. It should, however, also align with the eLearning course’s overall objectives and desired results. In essence, you divide the knowledge into manageable eLearning modules or tutorials.

Bottom Line

Interactive elements that make learning enjoyable will set your online training course apart from other sources of knowledge on the web. These elements should be a part of every eLearning course. Without these, your course is just a piece of text on the web.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.