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Instructional Design in Education

Instructional design is one of the most important aspects of teaching in the classroom. It focuses on how course materials are taught to students. While those outside of education may think it only consists of developing weekly lesson plans, instructional design includes multiple elements to ensure students receive an effective, quality education.

What Is Instructional Design?

Instructional design is thought to have been developed during World War II, when the U.S. military contacted psychologists and college professors to develop training and assessment materials for U.S. troops. Considered one of the fathers of instructional design, Robert Gagné, an aviation psychologist during WWII, developed a model of instruction that was based on how individuals process information and the resulting learning outcomes. His nine-step model provides structure to lesson plans to “ensure an effective and systematic learning program.” Later, in 1954, Harvard University psychology professor B.F. Skinner mentioned the concept of programmed instructional materials in his article, “The Science of Learning and the Art of Teaching.”

The field of instructional design in education is growing. As administrators at higher education institutions identify growth of online program enrollment, the need for faculty to develop quality instruction that works well in the online classroom is increasing as well. In 2016, a study conducted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation estimated about 13,000 instructional designers employed at college campuses, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment will increase 11 percent through 2026.

Types of Instructional Design in Education

The basic instructional design process is as follows: determine instructional goals through analysis, develop a strategy, implement strategies, assess the learning outcomes of students, and make revisions to instructional materials. As this process works with different mediums of instruction, it can be applied to courses taught in the classroom on campus or online. While lesson plans are an important, if they don’t address student learning outcomes and serve as a teacher’s agenda, then the purpose of effective teaching is lost.

There are two types of instructional design in education: one centered around the teacher and the classroom, and another focused on the student and learning. What’s perhaps the most common type of instructional design, especially among those teachers who are recent graduates, the teacher- and classroom-centered type focuses primarily on the teacher’s time in the classroom. It concentrates on what activities students will be doing each day and teacher performance.

Earn Your Degree in Instructional Design

Conveniently offered online, Shawnee State University’s Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction can be completed in as little as 18 months.

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The student-centered method is fixated on what students will take away from classroom activities, how they think and develop skills, and their long-term learning outcomes. Educators who follow this approach consider how the student will learn the material and goes beyond simply selecting activities and tests. While it doesn’t focus on what teachers must do while in front of the chalkboard, it helps detail what should happen in the classroom.

Instructional design allows teachers to understand their students through how they’re being taught and how to adjust instruction to achieve the best results. Effective instructional design ensures that students are absorbing the material they need to learn, and it encourages student engagement and helps meet program objectives across the board.

As technology plays a more important part in education and the popularity of online classes grows, there is a greater need for educators who are experienced in instructional design and teaching. Ideal for current educators who want to transition into an administrative role and explore planning, instruction, and assessment methods, Shawnee State University Online Campus’s Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction online program will prepare you to meet the needs of all students. Conveniently offered online, you will learn from experienced faculty as you complete the program in 18 months.