5 Instructional Design Principles to Improve Online Courses

Success in eLearning does not happen by chance; in fact, effective online learning is an outcome of a well-planned and strategized process. It is certainly not enough to be a subject expert while creating your online course. Knowing the principles of instructional design is equally vital in registering the success of your platform.

Have you wondered why 40-80% of the learners drop out of an eLearning course? That is mainly because of poor course design that leads to an unsatisfactory learning experience. Your online courses may have the most amazing content, but if the course design does not please your target audience, your course will not achieve its purpose.

Are you looking for the secrets to a successful online course? Stay with us till the end, as we will share the five proven instructional design principles that guarantee improvement in your online course. You can also schedule a free consultation session with our experts for a personalized solution for your eLearning platform.

What is Instructional Design in eLearning?

An instructional design in eLearning is the process that directs the development of an online course or educational product. It plays a pivotal role in the design and delivery of an online course on an eLearning platform. To understand the concept of instructional design in detail, let’s explore the ADDIE framework of the instructional design process.

Addie Model

The ADDIE framework guides the entire course creation process. It starts from the analysis stage in which goals are set after analyzing the target audience’s primary needs. The next step is the design and development of the course lessons in which course content and grading system are finalized; ultimately finalizing the course. The course is implemented and evaluated in the end which includes a quality assurance test. It is also evaluated whether the set goals are met or not.

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The Five Instructional Design Principles to Improve Online Courses

The real challenge to create a successful course is to generate high-quality course content. With the five instructional design principles, producing high-quality courses has become much easier. Here are the five instructional design principles that you must follow:

1. Structure the Course at an Effective Pace

Structure the Course at Effective Pace

The secret recipe behind a successful course is the structure of the course and how it is designed and paced. The question to answer is how to determine what is the best pace for a successful course. We recommend you analyze the following factors to determine an effective pace for your course:

  • Consider the learner’s background while creating the course. Include quizzes and challenges in your course content that can be handled by the students effectively without overburdening them.
  • Include additional course reading material. There are always some fast learners among your total enrolled learners who are looking forward to learning more. The curious ones will benefit from it and further enhance their skills and gain knowledge.
  • Organize the content into smaller modules. Maintain a standardized format of the entire course and divide longer sections into smaller subsections. Learners find it easier to retain information when it is shared in small portions.

2. Provide Study Material with Context

Provide Study Material with Context

Learners learn quicker when relevant and relatable real-life examples are shared and linked with the theory. Contextualization makes the hardest concept look easier and learners tend to retain the information much quicker and for a longer time.

Here are some tips that you can follow while designing your course:

  • Always give multiple examples as your group of enrolled learners can have different backgrounds, interests, and preferences. Students should be able to relate and apply the examples in their real-life situations.
  • Connect theory with practice. Learning becomes limited if it is restricted to its theoretical understanding. The more you practice and apply the theory in real-world situations, the more you learn. You can achieve it by giving practical assignments or projects to your students.

3. Create Community-based Courses

Create Community Based Courses-Instructional Design

Every instructional design principle helps your learners understand the course content better; consequently, helping you achieve your set goals. Building a community of learners on your eLearning platform yields a positive impact on your online courses. It is very simple to create a community-based course by following the below-mentioned tips:

  • Encourage discussion threads on your eLearning platform. It will enable the learners to interact and share their feedback on their enrolled courses and the instructors. Furthermore, you would receive first-hand feedback from your learners that you can process to bring improvements in your courses.
  • Promote teamwork among your learners. Working in groups with fellow learners is itself a learning experience. Sooner or later everyone will have to work in an environment where collective work is demanded. Your aim should be to provide good practice and exposure to each learner to collaborate and work together on assignments and projects.

4. Encourage Students to Generate Original Content

Encourage students to create original content

Don’t you think we are at our best when given the freedom to be creative and allowed to think out of the box? Well, try this principle of instructional design and encourage your students to explore different possibilities and scenarios. To achieve such an environment, consider the below-mentioned points:

  • Assign assignments that aid the opinions of the learners. Do not restrict the learners in assignments and quizzes that limit the learners to multiple choices. Allow them to share their solution to a problem through presentations and reports. Promote constructive argument among the learners.
  • Provide opportunities to learners to apply the classroom knowledge outside the classroom. Connect your learners with relevant organizations and involve them in projects to help them gain a real-time experience.

5. Establish a Detailed Evaluation Mechanism

Establish a detailed evaluation mechanism-Instructional Design

Design a system of evaluation that ensures that your learners have retained the most out of your course. Let’s go back to the first principle and review the goals we have set. Here are some tips that you can use to establish a successful mechanism:

  • Make sure your assessments are not lengthy and time-consuming. The more time you allot to an assignment the higher chance that your learners will find it difficult to retain and recall the previous lesson.
  • Ensure a two-way feedback loop that will help you as well as the learners in understanding the areas of concern. The extensive feedback will help you improve the course content and enable learners to work on their weaknesses.


Edly Instructional Design Advantage

We design, create, and deliver the best learning experiences that help you develop engaging courses to keep learners hooked. Upgrade your learning experience with Edly as we empower you with various rich content formats that go seamlessly with your course outcomes by creating truly learner-focused experiences. Here are some exclusive features that you can enjoy by choosing Edly:

  • Beautiful edX-Style Courses
  • Crystal-clear Roadmaps
  • Post-training Evaluations
  • Unparalleled edX Expertise
  • Watertight Security

How Can Edly Help You?

We understand these principles can become too hard to absorb at first and we are here to help you learn about the salient features of our instructional design process, get a Free Demo, and start producing high-quality courses right away.

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