5 "Old Fashioned" Instructional Design Tools You Will Never Throw Away

5 "Old Fashioned" Instructional Design Tools You Will Never Throw Away
Summary: There may be more gadgets, software, and technologies than ever before, but some of the most valuable Instructional Design tools have been around for decades. In this article, I will highlight 5 old fashioned tools that every Instructional Designer should still use on a regular basis.

5 "Old Fashioned" Instructional Design Tools You Should Still Use

You know the saying: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." The simple truth is that there are some Instructional Design tools that may be considered "old fashioned", but they still have a wide range of uses in modern eLearning design and development. Sure, there may be a myriad of eLearning technologies at your disposal. However, these devices and eLearning platforms should still have a prominent place in your Instructional Design toolbox.

  1. A pen and paper.
    Sure, we may use our laptops, mobile devices, and other gadgets to jot down notes and create eLearning content these days. However, there is still a place for the pen and paper in our tech-centric world. These "antiquated" tools gives you the power to put your thoughts onto the page and brainstorm ideas in a more tactile way. Instead of just typing on a keyboard or tapping on a screen, a pen and paper gives you the power to interact directly with your form of media away from technological distractions. Let’s face it, many of us end up searching the web or chatting on social media sites when we really should be working. Pen and paper takes those online elements out of the equation so that you can just focus on the task at hand. It may even be a good idea to create your storyboard and eLearning course outline with these "old fashioned" tools.
  2. Books/Newspapers. 
    There is just something about being able to hold a textbook or newspaper in your hands and flip through the pages. Though ebooks are a valuable source of information, there are some titles that are only available in printed form. This is why books still have a place in an eLearning professional’s tool box. In fact, it may be wise to collect a few titles that cover the basics of Instructional Design, such as titles that delve into Instructional Design models and theories, as well as basic eLearning terms and psychology, particularly those that cover learning behaviors and cognitive processes. If filling your book shelves with printed copies is out of your budget, you can always venture to the local library. They may also have out-of-print editions that you can’t find elsewhere.
  3. Planner/Agenda.
    There are plenty of online agendas and planners to choose from. Many project management online platforms even offer a built-in scheduling feature. However, having your own printed agenda on-hand gives you the opportunity to keep track of your personal assignments and due dates without having to hop online or use your mobile device. Some people actually prefer planners because it allows them to quickly jot down important dates or reminders. To get the most out of your printed planner or agenda you should opt for one that offers the ideal layout and features. For example, if you would prefer a monthly overview of your upcoming eLearning projects or deadlines you should opt for an agenda that provides a month-at-a-glance section.
  4. Face-to-face networks.
    Social networks are big these days, but face-to-face networks are still a valuable asset that you should utilize on a regular basis. This may be in the form of in-person meetings, eLearning conferences, seminars, trade shows, or even eLearning focus groups to get essential feedback from your online learners. Despite the fact that many tasks can now be carried out through video conferencing platforms, meeting with other eLearning professionals face-to-face and interacting with them can offer a wide range of benefits. Just think of the last time you received an email or instant message that was completely misconstrued, simply because you weren’t able to see their body language or hear the tone of their voice. In-person networking injects a more personal and human element into your conversations. It may not be possible to do this for every meeting or conversation, but you should seize the opportunity whenever you get the chance.
  5. Instructional Design Models.
    This may not be a tangible tool, per se, but Instructional Design models, theories, and principles can offer real value when you are creating eLearning courses. They give you a better understanding of how the mind works, how online learners absorb and retain knowledge, and how you can deliver information more effectively. The simple truth is that Instructional Design theories and models are at the heart of every eLearning experience. You can use every technology that is available and include a myriad of interactive multimedia activities, but you aren’t going to see any real results if you don’t know why or how people learn new concepts or ideas.

Many Instructional Design models have been around for decades, but they still hold true today. This is due to the fact that they tap into the power of cognitive processes and explain the nature of learning behaviors. So, learn as much as possible about Instructional Design theories, so that you can discover the motivations and learning needs of your audience.

These tools may not be tech-forward or modern, but they will always have a purpose in the world of Instructional Design. This is primarily due to the fact that some things are simply not possible with technology, despite its many advancements. It cannot give us the opportunity to put the pen to paper and jot down our thoughts or flip through the pages of an old textbook. These are the tangible tools of our trade, and they are here to stay.

As the saying goes: “Knowledge is power”, but you have to develop the necessary skill set to use that power of knowledge effectively. Read the article 5 Tips To Improve Your Instructional Design Skills In 30 Days to discover how to become a better Instructional Designer.