Instructional Design and Learning Technology: What’s the Difference?
Instructional design and learning technology overlap more than they diverge. Instructional designers design learning experiences using the tools of instructional design (software, graphics, videos, exercises, assessments etc.) that are then integrated with learning technology to create an immersive experience that learners can engage with as they follow an educational path or track. The barriers between these two fields are also beginning to blur – this is evident in the growing number of resources available for both fields. Designers in either field should be well versed in the other’s terminology and practices lest they risk creating designs that don’t meet learners’ needs or integrate seamlessly with learning technologies. Here we explain a few terms and basic differences between instructional design and learning technology so that you are equipped to work effectively on projects across these fields.
Instructional design is the process of helping learners achieve specific learning goals through the design of learning experiences. It can fall under the domain of education, training, or assessment, and it might be used to teach a broad range of topics, including science, math, business, and technology. Instructional design is a field that uses evidence-based research to develop learning experiences. For example, an instructional designer might work with a professor to create an online course that teaches students how to use a new program. In this course, the designer might include materials like quizzes, assignments, and quiz results to give students feedback on their progress and help them gauge the effectiveness of their learning. The designer might also use diagrams, graphics, and videos to help students understand concepts and make connections between ideas. In this course, the designer might use a content management system to manage the course materials.
Read More: Designing Instructional Materials for the Digital Age: The Biggest Trends, Tips and Tricks
What is Instructional Design?
Instructional design is the process of designing learning experiences. It is an approach to design that focuses on learning outcomes, and it is an integral part of the broader field of learning sciences. Instructional design is used in a variety of settings, including education, training, corporate training, and assessment. Instructional designers work with stakeholders (professors, managers, or students) to design learning experiences that help learners achieve specific learning goals. The design process involves understanding learner needs and designing experiences around those needs to create effective learning paths. Once the design has been created, it must be tested to ensure that it works well in practice. The design process is iterative and recursive, and it relies on a variety of research methods.
Differences Between Instructional design and learning technology
Instructional designers use a variety of tools and techniques to create effective learning experiences. When working with learning technology, designers will select a platform or app, or create their own learning platform. In general, these tools help design and create learning experiences and make it possible for designers to create engaging and effective content. Some popular learning technology platforms include: – Google Drive – It is a productivity suite that provides cloud storage, email, and other tools for business and education. It also has the Google Docs tool that allows you to create and edit documents online. – Canva – This online graphics editor makes it easy to create attractive images, charts, and infographics. It also has templates and themes you can use to customize your graphics. – Microsoft Office 365 – This suite of apps makes it easy to create and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. It also has the OneNote tool that allows you to create to-do lists and track your work across multiple devices.
Online course or eLearning program?
Online courses and eLearning programs are a common manifestation of the shift from on-paper learning to online learning. These programs are often designed for both institutional and individual learners and are often free or have some type of free content. Online courses are also often hybrid courses that include some in-class activities and activities that happen online. Online courses allow learners to choose their own pace and schedule, which may increase their engagement. In addition, online courses often allow learners to earn credit or pursue degrees that are not offered in a classroom setting. This type of learning can also help reduce costs associated with in-person learning, such as tuition, equipment costs, and travel expenses.
While the instructional design is largely grounded in evidence-based research, learning technology platforms and apps are often data-driven and grounded in algorithms. As a result, these tools may be effective at helping learners complete specific tasks, but they are often less effective at helping learners understand concepts, make connections, and create meaning. As a result, it is important that designers look beyond design to ensure that learning experiences are more than just a series of tasks with no connection between them. It is also important to consider the context and nature of the learning experience when designing for long-term engagement.
Instructional design is a domain that uses evidence-based research to design learning experiences for specific learning outcomes. Learning technology platforms, however, are often data-driven and grounded in algorithms. As a result, these tools may be effective at helping learners complete specific tasks, but they are often less effective at helping learners understand concepts, make connections, and create meaning. Because of this, it is important that designers look beyond design to ensure that learning experiences are more than just a series of tasks with no connection between them. It is also important to consider the context and nature of the learning experience when designing for long-term engagement.