Instructional design in e-learning

As one of the fastest growing discipline, e-learning was widely used in training and education. Without doubt, developments in Internet and multimedia technologies are the basic enabler of e-learning. However, technology is not everything for e-learning. The need for instructional design is being noticed in e-learning. An Increasing number of corporate training departments and educational institutes begin to recognize that instructional design play a vital role in e-learning. Many people regard e-learning as the marriage of technology and education. Instructional design must serve as the bridge between the two worlds.

Instructional design

What is Instructional design? Many definitions exist for instructional design. According to Moore, Bates and Grundling, instructional systems design is a combination of science and an art. A science because it is rooted in learning theories and an art because the designing instructional materials is a highly creative process.(2002).While other scholars consider Instructional design to be a discipline that concerned with research and theory about instructional strategies and the process for developing and implementing those strategies. Generally, instructional design was accept as the “process by which instruction is improved through the analysis of learning needs and systematic development of learning materials. Instructional designers often use technology and multimedia as tools to enhance instruction.”

Instructional design models

An instructional design model is a representation of a view on how people learn. It is also the guideline by which an instructional designer creates instruction. (Gustafson & Branch, 2002). Of cause, there is more than one excellent model that can be used to guide the design of instruction. Each of them has different orientations, which is manageable for the particular situation or task. For example, one model may be more effective for designing an academic course, and other models are more effective for designing soft skill course. (Like managing people and communication, etc). Here is three major models for instructional design for e-learning.

  • ADDIE Model (process-oriented)-This is the best-known design model, which can be represented as five phases: analyze, design, develop, implement and evaluate. (Hannum, 2005). This model put a high level of emphasis on the process of learning. It provides effective and efficient education and training through step-by -step implement. ADDIE Model is frequently used in academic circles.
  • Dick and Carey Model (Systems-oriented)-The Systems Approach model is based on an instructional theory that says, “There is a predictable and reliable link between a stimulus (instructional materials) and the response that it produces in a learner (learning of the materials).” (McGriff, 2001). This model emphasis that every component (i.e. teacher, students, materials, and learning environment) is crucial to successful learning.
  • Kemp, Morrison, and Ross Model (Classroom-oriented)-It is also known as nine-step instructional design model. The nine elements are: identify instructional problems and specify goals; example learner characteristics; identify subject content and analyze task components; specify the instructional objectives; sequence content within each instructional unit; design instructional strategies; plan the instructional message and develop the instruction; develop evaluation instruments; and, select resources to support instruction and learning activities. (Morrison, Ross & Kemp, 2001). This flexible model is designed to focus on content and appeal to teachers. The model emphasizes management of the instructional design process.

The growth and success of e-learning is greatly depend on the quality instructional design. Thus, we need to carry out an in-depth analysis of different instructional design models. Making the best use of advantages and bypass the disadvantages of each model. Sometimes, we can also combine different models in accordance with situation. In short, better understanding of instructional design will make a difference in e-learning.


Hannum, W. (2005). Instructional systems development: a 30 year retrospective. Educational Technology, July-August, 5-21.

Moore, Dermot, Bates, Annemarie, & Grundling, Jean. (2002). Instructional design. Skills development through distance education, p.71.

Gustafson, L.& Branch, M. (2002). Survey of instructional development models, p.1, Syracuse University.

McGriff, S. (2001). Instructional systems design models.

Morrison, G., Ross, S., & Kemp, J. (2001). Designing effective instruction (3rd ed.). p .6,New York

By nancyzhangedpc5003

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