What Are Instructional Design Models And Their Best Practices?

Understanding Instructional Design Models
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Summary: Using Instructional Design models is a basic step in the creation of impactful learning materials.

Instructional Design Best Practices

It’s not only renowned in the academic field but also has undeniable popularity among professionals. But, if you are merely beginning with Instructional Design, then it becomes quite necessary to recognize and follow its best practices from the core. Undoubtedly, the eLearning industry is larger than one can imagine and several different theories, models, and other resources can be found based on what has worked for distinct experts. But let’s start with some of the most used, yet basic eLearning Instructional Design models acknowledged by brilliant designers while understanding their uses and the techniques to get trained in them.

What Is Instructional Design?

First thing’s first, what do we mean by Instructional Design? Is it something typical, can it only be learned with some sort of expertise, or can anyone understand it? Then, let’s inform you that Instructional Design is nothing more than the process to develop instructional or learning material.

While using it, you can easily detect gaps in skills, attitudes, and knowledge of either your students or employees; mindful learning material can be implemented that will eliminate any gaps present among them. Not only that, but Instructional Design assists in providing adequate instructions to learners so that training can get easier for them.

Step-By-Step Instructional Design Process

Before you can move ahead with the process of outlining any training courses, it’s necessary to know some mandatory steps that can’t be avoided when moving forward with Instructional Design. This way you can acquire a far better and desired outcome regardless of what you are focused on.

  • Requirement analysis
    When it comes to the Instructional Design process, an utterly valuable step is analyzing requirements of learners' needs: business/training, technology, content, and most importantly, branding. The analysis will help in thoroughly learning all the needs so the best material can be created.
  • Learning objectives detection
    Once you are all set with the analysis, move ahead to the next step, which is detecting the real learning objectives. This will guide you in differentiating between “must-know” and “good-to-know” content and evaluating the piece of information required.
  • Designing
    Designing an entire course can be hectic but having all the related information on learning objectives and requirements can lead to sequencing the whole detail in the best and most useful manner.
  • Storyboard
    Develop a meaningful flow of content along with visuals to make your topic flow uniformly. To get started with the storyboard you must differentiate the type of topic that needs to be dealt with.
  • Development
    After deciding on the storyboard, get ready to develop an operational prototype that can help in the visualization of how the storyboard will be converted into a practical module. Next, you need to start with the training development, which will be uploaded to the eLearning web application development system.
  • Testing and evaluation
    The last step in the Instructional Design process is testing and evaluating all the material that you have developed to ensure all needs are fulfilled. Besides, if there are any errors, testing will help in determining as well as resolving them in a matter of time.

Understanding Instructional Design Models

Instructional Design models are the guidelines that explain the complete design and development process instructions. They enable you to know the reason and purpose behind the approach and also give you an excellent view of all the essential elements that need to be indulged. There are numerous models, but let’s get to the most basic and familiar ones.


ADDIE is among the first few design models, but there is still much debate about whether it’s effective or not. Although, the reality is that still many of the designers are using it for the creation and development of eLearning courses. It is a five-step process and stands for Analysis, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate. In every step, you get the chance to repeat and change prior to moving onto the next one. Let’s check them out:

  • Analysis
    The question that Instructional Designers use for analysis is: “Why is the training needed?” While analyzing, data is gathered to improve the development of learning material. Without analysis, one cannot move forward to the design and development processes.
  • Design
    Analyzing leads to the next process: design (i.e., choosing a strategy that has to be followed when opting for relevant media, writing objectives, and delivery methods).
  • Develop
    The information gathered from the previous two processes is used by Instructional Designers for the development of eLearning materials.
  • Implement
    Completion of the development step leads to the release of the course, and once it reaches the learner, then the impact of the material is determined.
  • Evaluate
    In this process, Instructional Designers evaluate the impact of the course on learners using different surveys, feedback, and analytics.

After all these processes are completed and the evaluation results are transformed into practical results, the entire process is repeated again.

Merril’s Principles Of Instruction

Merril’s principles of instruction were proposed by David Merril in 2002, and include 5 principles for learning:

  1. Task-centered principle
    The task-centered principle states that learning initiates from the problems/tasks of real life. Learners need to be able to connect themselves with problems and tasks.
  2. Activation principle
    According to the activation principle, a course should be able to activate already existing knowledge among learners (i.e., it must relate to the knowledge and understanding they already have with what is being taught).
  3. Demonstration principle
    The demonstration principle focuses on describing the knowledge not only through storytelling but also through visual content, as it will provoke different regions of the human brain and remain there for a long time.
  4. Application principle
    The main purpose of the application principle is to enable learners to apply new information by themselves. It can be achieved by letting them practice and learn from the errors they make.
  5. Integration principle
    The learning material that has been designed must offer possibilities for integrating knowledge into the world of a learner through the discussion, presentation, and reflection of new details.

Gagne’s Nine Events Of Instruction

This framework of nine events of instruction, which was proposed by Robert Gagne, is entirely associated with the behavior approach of learning. This model has a systematic Instructional Design process and is one of the most utilized models until now.

The steps include:

  1. Acquiring learners' attention
    This principle provokes the emotional side of the learner either with questions that strike their thought or storytelling.
  2. Informing learners of objectives
    It is important to state clear learning objectives and desired results to the learners so that they can determine the success or failure by themselves.
  3. Encouraging recall of previous knowledge
    Uses the already gained knowledge and experience of the learners to introduce new knowledge and develop it. It can be easily done by connecting learners' previous experiences with the information you are about to provide.
  4. Offering content
    Offer content in small pieces of information rather than overloading the learners.
  5. Guiding learners
    Always include practical examples with the content along with case studies, as it helps in motivating and engaging the learner.
  6. Evoking performance
    Keep the learners engaged throughout the session with different activities that enhance learning.
  7. Sharing feedback
    Improve the knowledge a learner has with rapid feedback.
  8. Examining performance
    Examine the overall performance of the learner based on the already decided criteria.
  9. Improving retention and conveying knowledge 
    Amplify the retention ability of learners by using content retention strategies that helps in conveying knowledge in real time.

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Proposed by Benjamin Bloom in 1956, Bloom’s Taxonomy was then modified by Krathwohl and Anderson in 2001 and it is known as the "Revised Taxonomy." The core aim of this taxonomy is to assure that learners are pushing through lower levels of grasping the new information and analyzing, remembering, and evaluating its effectiveness and using it so that they can easily use the details to solve problems.


I hope that the information provided here will help you in better understanding Instructional Design and its best practices in eLearning web application development. Besides, these models can be used to create instructional educational material to help learners with an excellent way of learning.