Designing Successful e-Learning by Michael Allen

Volume 2 of Michael Allen’s e-learning library, published in 2007, this time focusing on instructional design.

Although a necessary and worthy topic, it is still a horrible term in my view. Instructional designers are becoming an endangered species, and good ones are very highly prized in our industry. Allen does a good job in bringing the topic to life and challenging IDs to be eclectic. Sadly, there is still a perception that instructional design is boring resulting in the industry failing to attract enough talent to this important role. It may be that the job title “instructional designer” needs a re-brand.
The author gives many examples of the tried-and-tested but boring training and instructional programmes that are used today. There are several key elements necessary in effective instructional design. The author suggests, and rightly so, that instructional programmes need to be ‘Meaningful, Memorable, and Motivational’. Within each element there are four factors involved: feedback, activity, challenge, and context. When the design encompasses all of these elements and factors, it is useful, functioning design. Instructional programs that fail in any one category tend to fail overall.
More information on this subject: an introduction to instructional design for e-learning can be found on The Designer Site.