Instructional Design Defined

28 Aug

Formal Definition:

Instructional design (ID) encompasses a wide array of activities to improve human performance, learning, products, processes, and overall return on investments.  ID includes the use of research, theory, and common sense.  Instructional designers work closely with organizations and subject matter experts to solve problems, determine needs, improve outcomes, and/or find opportunities through systematic analysis and model-based approaches. For example, to produce a learning object, designers will systematically breakdown the skills, subskills, and entry level skills of learning goals and objectives for analysis to inform subsequent design decisions.

Informal Definition:

Instructional design utilizes critical thinking, expert knowledge, best practices, and technologies to improve an organization either system-wide or in discrete work units.  Technology refers to any tool, software or hardware, or process.  For example, simple writing tasks can be improved with an ergo-dynamic fountain pen, desk, and workstation.  From this example, even a pen is considered technology.  It’s the role of the instructional designer to take all matters, including potentially insignificant ones like a writing tool, into consideration when developing a plan of action.

Sandra Rogers

Graduate Student

Instructional Design & Development

University of South Alabama

3 Responses to “Instructional Design Defined”


  1. Instructional Design of an Online Course « TeacherRogers - January 6, 2013

    […] some of the basic concepts of instructional design and development. Read my blog post about my formal and informal definitions of ID, as I continue to learn about it in my doctoral […]


  2. Transitioning from Educator to Instructional Designer « TeacherRogers - November 3, 2012

    […] Instructional design (ID) is a bit of a misnomer because it means more than designing instruction. In fact, oftentimes it means using nontraining solutions if after conducting a problem analysis there were alternative methods better suited to solve the issue or opportunity. Here’s an excerpt from my previous post defining ID: […]


  3. The Field of Instructional Design Defined | TeacherRogers Blog | Maverick Learning Designs | - September 1, 2012

    […] Formal Definition: Instructional design and development (IDD) encompasses a wide array of research-based or innovative activities to improve human performance, products, processes, and overall return on investments.  […]


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