Instructional Design Principles – How to Improve Effective Learning

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We need to understand what the instructional design (ID) is before moving on to know what Instructional design principles are…

ID is aimed at creating learning materials/tools and experiences in a way that leads to one acquiring knowledge and skills as well as applying them. In doing so, the principles of instructional design are followed.

What Are the Principles of Instructional Design?

In view of the above definition of ID, one would have an idea of how to define instructional design concepts, and that’s what we’ll be doing with the definition of instructional design principles. The principles of instructional design are precepts that educators keep to in designing instructional materials. It’s as simple as that.

For example, ID is done in adherence to certain psychological precepts which have been stated below.

  1. Behavioral psychology
  2. Cognitive psychology
  3. Constructivism

Importance of Instructional Design Principles

In a study, it was revealed that the difficulty in collaborating with faculty is among the greatest challenges in instructional design. This is because many administrators and educators haven’t understood the importance of partnering with an instructional designer. If only they knew enough about instructional design concepts…

If educators don’t know the right precepts to follow in designing instructional materials, it can be a problem for the education sector. See why the principles of instructional design are important below.

  • They’re necessary so that instructional designers will go through the right processes in drafting the appropriate materials for teaching and learning. Apart from that, ID experts will know the bases for testing the effectiveness of a learning process.
  • They’re beneficial to students looking for high quality courses, especially the ones offered online. It’s advisable for students to have basic knowledge about instructional design concepts.
  • They’re used for the optimization of the student’s learning experience over time. This is done by utilizing certain techniques to recognize areas which need to be improved after assessing students.

Best Instructional Design Principles

Keep the following in mind in order to recognize the best instructional design principles for you:

  1. It is drafted in line with the needs of students.
  2. It is drafted based on organizational necessities.
  3. It has specific objectives.
  4. Its structure and sequence are well-arranged.
  5. It utilizes the right delivery channels.
  6. It states approaches for feedback and evaluation.

Frank’s Instructional Design Model

Frank’s ID Model is relevant in having the best instructional design principles to follow. It consists of sequential questions that need to be answered before developing and creating educational programs and materials. Each of the 8 questions in the model is based on the following points:

  1. Purpose of the program
  2. What the students need
  3. Audience
  4. Achievable knowledge and skills
  5. Topics
  6. Delivery media
  7. Effective learning
  8. Assessment techniques

Robert Gagn’s Instructional Design Model

Robert Gagn’s Instructional Design Model gives 9 logical steps for effective learning and improvement in performance. Learn them to adopt the right principles of instructional design. Check below.

  1. Gaining attention
  2. Informing students of objectives
  3. Helping to recollect what was learned earlier
  4. Presenting materials to learning
  5. Providing guidance to students
  6. Evoking performance
  7. Providing feedback
  8. Evaluating performance
  9. Improving memorization and encouraging practical

Other Models

There are other models apart from the ones explained earlier. Read them below to adopt the right principles of instructional design.

  1. “Learn and Apply” Model: This model requires you to continue learning until you get the application right.
  2. Roger Schank’s Goal-Based Learning: This fast-learning model allows the learner to do things independently and only receive guidance when a mistake is made.
  3. Mnemonic PETER HASSLE: This is based on the works of Malcolm Knowles and Robert Gagn. The acronym PETER stands for the following principles of instructional design:
    • Prepare
    • Engage
    • Tutor
    • Explore
    • Review

HASSLE stands for

  • Help
  • Assess
  • Study
  • Share
  • Learn
  • Enter

How to Improve Effective Learning

The instructional design concepts explained above will be useful in improving effective teaching. But what about effective learning? Take a look at the following tips that can help you become an effective learner:

  1. Improve Your Memory
  2. Practice what You Learnt
  3. Try Various Approaches to Learning
  4. Don’t Learn Too Many Things at a Time
  5. Test Yourself

1. Improve Your Memory

A good memory will easily make you remember things you were taught or things you studied. There are many ways you can do this such as the following:

  1. Attentive listening in class
  2. Focusing better while studying
  3. Reading to understand rather than cramming
  4. Planning your study times
  5. Consuming memory boosting foods and drinks. For example; blueberries, broccoli, coffee, dark chocolate, eggs, fatty fish, green tea, nuts, oranges, etc.

2. Practice what You Learnt

You shouldn’t just learn the theoretical aspect of something and not gain practical knowledge of it in a workplace, laboratory, research institute, or anywhere else. Implement what was learned in practical situations and try to improve your skills over time.

Even Science supports practicing what you learned: A study showed that gray matter in the occipital lobes (the part of the brain connected with visual memory) of individuals increased when they practiced new skills. However, the gray matter disappeared when they were discontinued.

Furthermore, specific brain pathways are wiped out when you don’t practice a skill after a significant period. Regular practicals and rehearsals are important. For example, you need to keep practicing the graphic design techniques you’ve learned if you don’t want to lose the skill level you’ve attained. Skill levels can drop as time passes.

3. Try Various Approaches to Learning

Use various means of learning that you’re comfortable with such as video, audio, and written formats. Bullet journaling, mind maps, explaining to others, recalling, and so on are learning techniques you can try.

Ascertain the learning strategies that work for you. Take note of how you learn and make improvements or changes if it isn’t effective enough. See some learning style theories below.

  • Carl Jung’s Learning Style Dimensions
  • Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences
  • Kolb’s Learning Styles
  • VARK Learning Styles

4. Don’t Learn Too Many Things at a Time

Learning too many things at the same time can be ineffective or not useful, especially when the subjects are unrelated. It can also lead to slow learning processes due to the sharing of your time among various interests.

However, there are people who learn a range of things at the same time such as lifelong learner Elon Musk who studies various subjects related to technology. It has worked for him and he has been able to diversify his business interests because of that practice. You can also be like Elon with the right limit for your strategy.

5. Test Yourself

According to a study, testing yourself can be effective in helping one remember something that has been learned. In fact, it’s even more effective than using all the time to study (only). You’ll be able to push your brain to better recall what you learned or read earlier.

Watch this YouTube video to learn more about how to improve effective learning:

Supporting Effective Learning

Best Ways to Learn Instructional Design

The course described below is suitable for learning instructional design principles for online courses:

Description: Students will know the principles of instructional design for online courses that can be implemented quickly, as well as strategies to help them get their first one thousand learners.


The answers given to the frequently asked questions below will help you understand instructional design concepts better.

What Are the Three Basic Elements of Instructional Design?

The three basic elements of ID are given below.
– Analysis
– Design
– Development and Evaluation

What Are the Stages of Instructional Design?

We will base this on the ADDIE model which has 5 stages as listed below.
– Analysis
– Design
– Development
– Implementation
– Evaluation

What Are the Key Elements of Instructional Design?

The key elements of ID are related to the basic elements we listed earlier. See them below:
– Analysis of organizational and student necessities
– Determination of instructional aims and objectives
– Establishment of methods for assessing student progress
– Designing and selecting instructional approaches
– Implementation of training
– Evaluation of training

What Is the Best Instructional Design Model?

The best ID model is the ADDIE model which is an acronym for analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation as stated in the answer to question 2. It’s the most popular ID model and it’s what many recently constructed models are based on.

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We hope that you found the instructional design concepts explained in this guide understandable enough. Also, the answers in the FAQs section should give you more ideas for research on principles of instructional design. Take advantage of the YouTube video and courses suggested to improve effective learning and know the best ways to learn ID.

It’s obvious that instructional design principles are very beneficial to the education sector. The ball is in the court of any educator to find out how he/she can partner with instructional designers to achieve better results in students’ learning processes.

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Kalpataru Biswas

Kalpataru Biswas is a writer with a focus on business and career-related subjects. He has been writing for various websites since 2018 and has more than ten years of experience in driving revenue through data-driven Sales & Marketing.

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