Successful Instructional Design Models: Top ID Skills And Strategies For Newcomers

Successful Instructional Design Models: Top ID Skills And Strategies For Newcomers
Summary: If you're new to the world of instructional design, you've come to the right place. However, even seasoned ID professionals can use these insights to refresh their memory and fine-tune their workflow.

Skills, Strategies, And Best Practices For Instructional Design Success

Successful instructional design models are flexible, backed by pedagogical research, and learner-focused. They should also help your team create a solid framework and simplify the development process, without having to completely restructure their work practices. Unless, of course, there are glaring issues with the current system and you want to challenge the status quo. If your ID models lack these common characteristics, you might consider implementing new approaches. But how do you evaluate the benefits and drawbacks as well as the critiques? You need a comprehensive overview of an eLearning model to ensure it aligns with your priorities and L&D talents.

This ultimate guide has all the insider secrets you need to hone ID skills and implement best practices. I'll recap common characteristics of successful instructional design models and walk you through every stage of the instructional design process.

What's Inside This Guide...

  1. Common Characteristics Of Successful Instructional Design Models
  2. Beyond ID Models: Crucial Instructional Design Skills To Cultivate
  3. Essential Questions All Instructional Design Models Must Address
  4. Stages Of The Instructional Design Process Every ID Pro Should Know
  5. Instructional Design Models For Learner-Centered Training Experiences
  6. Engage And Inspire: The How And Why Of Motivational Instructional Design
eBook Release: Successful Instructional Design Models: Top ID Skills And Strategies For Newcomers
eBook Release
Successful Instructional Design Models: Top ID Skills And Strategies For Newcomers
Discover winning ID theories and methodologies to take your eLearning design skills to the next level!

1. Common Characteristics Of Successful Instructional Design Models

The instructional design process varies based on your demographics, training requirements, and objectives. Even personal preferences, work practices, and your budget have an impact on the ID models you implement. How do you know which instructional design process is right for your L&D strategy? Which model will boost learner engagement and allow you to track performance metrics so that you can improve ROI? Successful ID systems have 7 things in common, key traits that cover every aspect of the development process, from creating content to monitoring employee proficiency. Add these characteristics to your selection criteria to find the best eLearning models today.


Successful instructional design methodologies are, first and foremost, geared toward knowledge assimilation and retention. They’re learner-centered and tap into your audience’s primary sources of motivation, which prompts them to actively engage. In most cases, successful instructional design models involve training needs analysis so that you can disclose learner backgrounds and expectations, as well as areas for improvement. Instructional design best practices stipulate that every employee training should be personalized and allow for some degree of autonomy. Even ID models that are intended solely for backend development should take learner demographics into consideration because that’s the only way to facilitate knowledge transfer and meaning.

Founded On Pedagogical And Psychological Principles

eLearning models provide structure and scientific backing. They outline all the behaviors, drives, and motives behind the training experience so that you’re able to create a connection with corporate learners and fulfill their requirements. For example, the ID model suggests that empowered learners who have the ability to choose activities are more likely to participate. They feel like they’re in control, which prompts them to try harder and achieve the objectives. Successful instructional design models are rooted in tried and tested psychological principles that explain human behaviors and cognitive limitations. Lastly, the pillars involved must be supported by evidence. This may be in the form of case studies, research papers, or real-world results. Most eLearning models have critics, but it’s your job to determine if the pros outweigh the cons.

Maps Out The ID Steps Involved

Instructional design methodologies should give your L&D team direction, but not limit their eLearning creativity. They should map out all the steps involved in the development process so that everyone understands their role and individual tasks. For example, backward design starts with the end result. Your team must determine what they need to achieve and which behaviors employees must exhibit by the end of the course. They have the freedom to fulfill this component in any way they like, based on their preferences and work ideologies.

 Simplifies Information Processing

Employees must be able to understand the information and apply it in the real world. Thus, your instructional design process needs to simplify processing and prevent cognitive overload. This is a two-fold strategy. First, the model should clarify how learners assimilate information and why then explain how to deliver ideas and concepts in a way that’s easy to consume and retain for later use. It should also simplify the design process for your L&D team and give them a good grasp of employees’ cognitions.

Easily Adaptable

You should be able to apply your chosen ID models to virtually every L&D scenario instead of having to do your homework and find a new method every time you launch a new online training course. Ideally, successful instructional design models will outline the general system and allow you to customize each phase based on your objectives and desired outcomes. For example, the first step is to analyze your current approach. Your team is able to choose evaluation methods that resonate with them in order to conduct a training needs analysis and spot gaps. They aren’t forced to follow new protocols or processes that are irrelevant or cause unnecessary stress.

Includes Learner Assessment

Every ID model must include some form of evaluation, both in terms of employee performance and the approach itself. For example, how do you assess employees' progress? Are there measures in place to gauge the effectiveness of the method? It’s also essential to make learners aware of the criteria they’ll be judged on, such as how you will test their knowledge and skills in online training. Once again, the assessment methods should be customizable so that you can adapt them for new training topics and objectives. For instance, testing communication skill proficiency and gauging compliance knowledge require distinct evaluation methods.

Incorporates Revisions And Ongoing Analysis

There’s always room to improve your strategy based on feedback, metrics, and assessment scores. As such, ID models must include revision rounds, ongoing analysis, and opportunities for L&D reflection. Some even include revision sessions after each phase of the project. Even if your eLearning models omit pre-launch analysis, you should always bookend development with content evaluation. Assess your needs and gaps beforehand, then ensure you’ve met the requirements prior to rolling out the program.

2. Beyond ID Models: Crucial Instructional Design Skills To Cultivate

Skills are a hot commodity, regardless of your industry or job title. However, eLearning pros require diverse talents to tackle every aspect of training development, tracking, and administration. They wear many L&D hats, from conducting a TNA and creating training support tools to monitoring learner performance. And every role calls for unique competencies to achieve the best results. Which instructional design skills should you cultivate? How do you know which talents are worthy of your time and energy? Below are 8 ID skills that can help you achieve your eLearning potential and maximize L&D collaboration.


Some projects involve solo work, but most require a team of eLearning professionals to develop, deploy, and track employee training. Thus, one of the most essential instructional design skills is teamwork. The ability to lead and follow in equal measures. Can you delegate tasks and bring out the best in your collaborators? Does everyone respect each other’s opinions and suggestions? Can they effectively resolve conflicts instead of letting a simple argument derail the entire project?

Time Management

There are only so many hours in the workday. You must be able to manage your time effectively and organize your tasks to achieve the desired outcomes, especially if you don’t want to stress in the eleventh hour thanks to procrastination. This ID skill is usually gained through real-world experience. You figure out a workflow that suits your preferences and personality and then discover new ways to improve proficiency and streamline the development process.


Communication is involved in every aspect of instructional design. Can you communicate with your team so that everyone is on the same page? Are you able to articulate your thoughts to employees and deliver the information in a clear, concise format? If you work with other organizations, you must also be able to sum up their objectives and clarify their expectations throughout the project. Communication even extends into conflict resolution, delegation, and problem-solving. Are you able to provide input tactfully without causing offense? Can you assign tasks without making co-workers feel less-than or slighted?


Successful instructional design models are usually seen as a more scientific approach. They use that part of the brain instead of sparking creativity. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Think of ID strategies as the groundwork. They provide guidelines and help you better understand your learning audience and their behaviors. But you still need a good dose of creativity to develop meaningful eLearning content and grab learners' attention to create a connection with your learners and help them assimilate the information. The best way to build creativity is to learn by doing. Try out different tools and approaches to discover fresh ways to deliver information. Engage in brainstorming exercises that help you delve deeper into learner backgrounds and ID principles.

Lateral Thinking

The most successful ID pros are able to think outside the box. Of course, they aren’t opposed to taking the most direct route if it’s also the most effective. But they also test out new approaches to see where they lead and if it’s a better way to achieve the outcomes. This lateral thinking also applies to problem-solving. Their team members come to them for guidance if a problem is seemingly impossible to tackle. Because they know that their collaborator/co-worker is able to approach the issue from every angle.

Tech Troubleshooting

Sometimes you want to carry out your vision but tech stands in the way of the ID process. Authoring tools, LMSs, and other eLearning software present a challenge. Maybe the UI is too complex, or the platform is simply flawed. Maybe the features and functionalities are limited. Thus, you need to build your tech troubleshooting instructional design skills in order to be at the top of your game. First and foremost, you need to find authoring tools that align with your successful instructional design models. Take a test drive to verify that it suits your team’s talents. That way, you’re less likely to encounter glitches and tech roadblocks along the way.

Project Management

In some cases, you may have to take on the role of project manager. This involves task delegation, active listening, communication, planning, and a variety of other essential skills. However, even ID pros who are in a supporting role must have strong PM abilities to get the job done. For example, you must complete a task that involves other members of the team, or you simply need to organize your own assignments and determine which resources/tools are ideal for the task. These are all nuanced project management skills you must hone. This also prepares you for upcoming projects that do require your leadership abilities.


I’m not suggesting that you should try to experience everyone’s emotions and get all "warm and fuzzy" about eLearning. In instructional design, empathy is all about seeing things from the learners’ perspective. Stepping inside their shoes to develop content that’s easy to absorb and creates an emotional connection. You must be able to understand their personal drives and design materials that resonate with them rather than taking the "clinical" approach to ID and just covering the key takeaways.

3. Essential Questions All Instructional Design Models Must Address

Successful instructional design models simplify eLearning development by breaking the process into distinct stages and steps. They also explain the "why" behind learning. Why learners are motivated to learn and how they assimilate information. A truly successful ID model delves into back- and front-end implementation. For example, it provides your L&D with a road map to follow for content creation and deployment while also taking learner preferences and behaviors into consideration. So, how do you find the best instructional design process for your next project? Ask yourself whether your ID approach of choice addresses these 9 questions:

What Are The Steps In The Design Process?

Does your ID model map out all the steps involved AND the reasoning behind them? Most instructional design strategies outline the phases you must implement to develop effective training experiences. Then it’s your team’s job to determine which tasks are necessary to achieve the objectives. Thus, you have the flexibility to customize the ID model based on your desired outcomes, resources, and goals.

How Will This Approach Facilitate Knowledge Transfer?

First and foremost, the instructional design process must get the point across. You need to break the information into easily consumable parts so that learners understand and retain it. How do these successful instructional design models prevent cognitive overload and facilitate knowledge transfer for your learners? Does it involve an individualized approach so that they can go at their own pace? Are there clear and concise protocols to help you analyze their needs and expectations? What are the learning behaviors, cognitions, or motivational factors involved?

What Are The Delivery Methods?

How will you deliver information in a way that’s easy for learners to understand? Does the ID model suggest deployment methods? For example, the Cognitive Apprenticeship approach recommends social interactions, which may consist of social media groups, collab projects, and live events. Furthermore, do the delivery methods align with your objectives, budget, and asset library?

How Do You Evaluate The Effectiveness Of This ID Model?

There must be a way to gauge ID success and pinpoint areas for improvement. Do your top successful instructional design models specify evaluation methods? How will you assess learner performance? Are there built-in revision rounds or prototyping to help you fine-tune content as you progress? For example, the Rapid Prototyping Model involves a "barebones" strategy so that you can test the waters followed by user evaluation and refinement before reimplementation.

Are Learners Able To Move From Theory To Real-World Application?

The final outcome always involves personal relevance. Learners must be able to assign meaning and put the information into context. How does the ID process move from theory to practice? It’s one thing to memorize the concepts, but another to apply them in the real world and trigger active recall. This also involves mitigating cognitive overload risks. For instance, the ID model recommends hands-on experience and virtual apprenticeships to drive the point home. They see how the ideas pertain to real-world challenges and are more driven to participate since the training experience is relatable and personalized.

How Do You Delve Into Learner Backgrounds And Characteristics?

Personalization hinges on learner expectations, backgrounds, and experience levels. Do your eLearning models include learner analysis and evaluation? Are there steps to delve into their demographics, preferences, and pre-existing knowledge? All of these crucial aspects of ID development allow you to set the benchmark to understand what your learners know and what they need to focus on in online training, as well as how to deliver the information and make training easily accessible.

Can You Identify Underlying Issues And Gaps?

Many successful instructional design models have feedback, assessment, and evaluation protocols in place. Not just for your new approach, but your existing strategy. For example, the Dick and Carey model includes instructional analysis early on in the process so that you’re able to identify areas for improvement long before you write the objectives.

Is There Room To Grow?

Nothing is set in stone. You should be able to expand and personalize the ID model to adapt to your evolving needs. For example, you can blend multiple models or theories to achieve your objectives. Keep in mind that successful ID models should give you some creative leeway instead of dictating the terms. They provide an outline for your team to follow instead of limiting their workflow.

Does This ID Approach Align With My Team’s Skillset?

The instructional design process you choose must capitalize on your team’s talents instead of making them feel out of sync. Is there a steep learning curve? Does the process support their existing work practices and behaviors? Are there unnecessary steps based on your outcomes or objectives? Get their feedback to find an approach that works best for them and your resource library. Does the new model call for complicated and costly tools? Are there vague concepts or stages that may hinder their workflow and/or team collaboration?

4. Stages Of The Instructional Design Process Every ID Pro Should Know

The beauty of instructional design is that there’s no shortage of models, theories, and methodologies to choose from. You can even piece together different ID strategies to suit the subject matter and desired outcomes. That said, there are 9 crucial stages of the instructional design process that virtually every project has in common, regardless of the goals, current L&D work practices, or tools of choice. Following this flexible formula can help you achieve better ROI and meet the expectations of your learning audience. Not to mention, improve knowledge retention, engagement, and real-world recall. Here are 10 steps to add to your eLearning workflow:

Clarify Goals And Objectives

Goals, objectives, and desired outcomes are the thread that runs through the entire eLearning project. They help you choose the right ID model for the task and the ideal delivery methods. So, meet with your team to clarify your objective statements and make sure they’re still relevant and results-driven.

Analyze Your Current Training Plan

I know what you’re probably thinking…oh no, it’s time for the dreaded training needs analysis. But analyzing your current plan enables you to choose the best ID approach, spot gaps, and continually improve your strategy. Take a deep dive into LMS metrics, assessment scores, and survey results to identify areas for improvement. You should also conduct an asset inventory to look for resources to repurpose.

Choose The Best ID Model

Select successful instructional design models that support your objectives, work practices, and learner preferences/demographics. You can also blend different ID models to achieve the desired outcomes, as well as draw on instructional design theories to better understand learning behaviors and motivational factors. Weigh the benefits and drawbacks of every model and analyze their major critiques to ensure it aligns with your needs.

Develop An L&D Game Plan

Determine the best course of action and the phases involved in the project. The ID model provides a general outline to follow. However, you must still identify the tasks, assign roles, and map out the risks. The game plan should include individual tasks, completion times, and learner characteristics you must consider during the design process.

Determine The Ideal Delivery Method

You’ve already determined the best instructional design framework and have a basic implementation outline in place, but you must identify the best way to deliver the information to your learning audience. How will you simplify complex subject matter and improve knowledge retention? Which activities will you use to facilitate knowledge transfer and active recall? Give your learners some variety to avoid boredom and cater to different styles and preferences.

Create Content

Effective content creation starts with a storyboard and/or style guide. Develop a road map for each activity and support resource so that you know all the elements involved, which also will makes things easier for your L&D team. The content creation phase of the instructional design process is usually divided into multiple stages. It starts with authoring tool evaluation to ensure you have the right software for the job. Then it moves on to role and task delegation based on team talents. Based on the ID model you choose, there may be rapid prototyping, revision rounds, and feedback meetings involved.

Define Evaluation Criteria

How will you evaluate learner performance and progress? Are they aware of these expectations and responsibilities? Every organization has their own version of success. Will you conduct qualitative evaluations to gauge their real-world performance and skill development? How will you test their compliance know-how? In addition, there must be assessment criteria in place for your online training strategy to determine its effectiveness.

Deploy Training

Implement your training program to test users beforehand this way you have the opportunity to address issues early on and launch content without any major glitches. Keep in mind that learners may need some time to acclimate to new tools. This also requires internal marketing to raise awareness and stress the benefits of engagement.

Assess Learner Performance

Incorporate pop quizzes and formal assessments to identify emerging gaps and fine-tune your strategy. This also gives you the ability to intervene if learners need additional support. For example, you can pair them with a peer coach or host live events to address common areas for improvement. Boost their motivation with personalized praise for notable accomplishments. You should also provide targeted recommendations for those who underperform, like simulations, scenarios, and other support tools they can use to bridge gaps autonomously.

Collect Feedback

There are numerous sources of feedback to draw from, including LMS reports, employee input, and team brainstorming sessions. Use the data to continually improve your strategy and identify hidden pain points, such as emerging gaps or issues with the ID model you currently employ. Feedback can also come from business reports, like customer satisfaction surveys and sales metrics, as they help you zero in on skills and knowledge employees may be lacking.

5. Instructional Design Models For Learner-Centered Training Experiences

Employees must form an emotional connection to achieve the objectives. They need to immerse themselves in real-world scenarios and tap into intrinsic motivation. But how do you grab their attention and custom tailor training when they hail from different backgrounds? Is there a strategy to bridge the geographical gaps and cultivate a supportive online community? The key to L&D success is to use tried and tested eLearning models to lay the development groundwork to give your team design guidelines they can follow during every phase of the project. This also offers them a better understanding of the behaviors and psychological principles behind employee engagement. Here are 7 successful instructional design models for learner-centered training experiences:


Keller’s ARCS model is all about motivation and how the learning environment factors into the training equation. Firstly, instructional designers must ensure they meet four essential requirements: pique their interest, make it relevant, set expectations for success, and satisfy learners with rewards (both intrinsic and extrinsic). The second part of the process enables ID pros to develop motivational components for their learning audience. This strategy also centers on building self-confidence in that trainees are made aware of the goals and requirements ahead of time as well as evaluation criteria.

Dick And Carey

Also known as the Systems Approach model, Dick and Carey’s instructional design strategy follows a more linear structure. However, there is ample opportunity for revision and reevaluation during every stage of the process:

  1. Identify the goals
  2. Analyze your current instructional strategy
  3. Determine learner characteristics, pre-existing knowledge, and underlying behaviors
  4. Develop performance objectives
  5. Create assessment criteria/testing materials
  6. Develop your ID plan of action
  7. Create instructional resources and activities
  8. Develop and implement summative and formulative evaluation

Rapid Prototyping

Rapid Prototyping involves a cyclical or layered strategy that allows you to continually develop and revaluate training content. As such, you’re able to improve resources based on evolving goals and objectives as well as learner preferences and characteristics. It involves 5 key stages:

  1. Create a skeletal framework that maps out the design
  2. Evaluate and refine your new concept
  3. Enact the changes and updated requirements
  4. Evaluate users and further refine your ID concept and strategy
  5. Implement updated requirements

Cognitive Apprenticeship

Brown, Collins, and Duguid are the main proponents of Cognitive Apprenticeship. However, it’s rooted in Albert Bandura’s modeling theory. This learner-centered training model involves coaching, scaffolding, and self-reflection. Learners are encouraged to engage in social activities to build their knowledge and experience, as well as apply what they’ve learned in real-world contexts. The primary goal is to facilitate knowledge sharing through firsthand demos and practical problem-solving. These are the core pillars of Cognitive Apprenticeship:

  • Tasks should utilize pre-existing "implicit or tacit" know-how so that learners can gradually build their knowledge base as they progress through the training program
  • Instructional designers must break the problem down into its basic building blocks so that learners can apply the information in real-world settings
  • The content must introduce rules, known as "algorithms," that are commonly used by experienced practitioners in the field, but this must occur after learners have gone through "enculturation" so that they’re able to assign meaning

Discovery Learning

Discovering Learning is all about asking questions and drawing on past experiences. Learners are encouraged to solve problems by utilizing pre-existing knowledge and connecting the L&D dots. For example, examining the relationship between two training concepts and challenging personal assumptions. They are encouraged to immerse themselves into real-world scenarios, organize information, and conduct experiments. There is actually an entire subset of successful instructional design models that include guided discovery and simulation-based learning.

Backward Design

Wiggins and McTighe are the founders of Backward Design, which suggests that successful ID projects begin with the outcomes. First, you must determine the final outcome. What you hope to achieve in online training. Then move on to the evaluation and assessment criteria. In other words, how you will determine if you’ve achieved success. What evidence do you need to prove that your approach is working? The final step is actually designing the learning resources and activities to accomplish the goals.

Individualized Instruction

Individualized Instructional (II) is the epitome of learner-centered instructional design models. Learners are encouraged to train at their own pace and focus on personal gaps. It also takes unique learning styles, behaviors, and preferences into consideration. Effective II strategies possess 4 key characteristics:

  1. Learners must be able to train autonomously and concentrate on personal strengths and weaknesses instead of trying to fit into an L&D mold.
  2. Every activity is followed by learner evaluation/assessment to monitor their progress.
  3. ID pros should opt for written training materials versus lectures or presentations. This may be in the form of infographics, guides, or charts to help learners assimilate and retain the information.
  4. Facilitators are present to support trainees and encourage social interactions to enrich the experience. For example, set up social media groups or host live events to facilitate peer-based feedback and knowledge sharing.

6. Engage And Inspire: The How And Why Of Motivational Instructional Design

Motivational Instructional Design is a two-pronged approach. The first involves Keller’s ever-popular ARCS model to take care of the personal component while the second pertains to the Expectancy-Value theory, which states that perceived success and satisfaction trigger internal drive, thereby prompting employees to actively participate in the experience to meet their personal needs. But how can you fuel employee motivation and get them to actively engage in online training? Let’s look at the ARCS essentials you can implement in your development strategy. Then, we'll move onto the fundamentals of fulfilling the Expectancy-Value requirement for busy, distracted, and stressed staff members.

What Is Motivational Instructional Design?

John Keller is the founder of the ARCS model of Motivational Design, which outlines how to not only grab learners’ attention and tap into their sources of motivation but maintain that momentum over time. There are 4 key pillars you must implement to engage and inspire online learners:


This is the time to pique their interest and challenge their assumptions or perceptions. Keller suggests there are two attention-grabbing methods you can employ: perceptual arousal and inquiry arousal. Perceptual involves the element of surprise, while inquiry focuses on curiosity and/or challenge. Here are a few examples of how to fulfill this ARCS component in your instructional design strategy:

  • Tell trainees a story that challenges their preconceived notions about the topic or issue. Personal anecdotes and real-world examples can also be used to create an emotional connection and generate more interest.
  • Develop serious games and simulations that immerse learners in the subject matter. Active participation is essential for trainee engagement, as it makes the experience more memorable.
  • Incorporate humor to catch them off guard and make them take notice. Just make sure the subtle jabs or satires aren’t offensive or controversial.
  • Introduce the topic with a question or statement that challenges what learners already know or think they know. This breaks down their mental barriers and forces them to rethink their position and personal biases.


Learners need to know that the information you provide is relevant and useful in their everyday lives. In short, you need to address one all-important question: What’s in it for them? Keller maps out 6 distinct strategies to facilitate meaning and draw learners into the experience:

  1. Pre-existing knowledge and past experience
    Explain how learners will benefit from training based on their current skills and knowledge base. For example, how it will help them hone their communication abilities or problem-solving skills. This shows them that the new activities/resources build on assets they already have.
  2. Current worth
    How will the training be of use to them right now? Will it help them overcome a common challenge? Can they increase their customer service stats by acquiring new information or building their interpersonal skills?
  3. Future worth
    How does the training benefit them in the near future? Can they use the information to achieve a long-term goal?
  4. Matching needs
    Make the of most of power, social affiliations, and sense of achievement to motivate learners to achieve the objectives.
  5. Choice
    Learners should be able to take different routes toward goal achievement. For instance, choose their own activities or support tools.
  6. Modeling
    Set the example so that learners know what to expect and what to strive for. For example, host live events with notable industry leaders or demo videos to show them what they can achieve.


Learners are less likely to participate if there’s a high risk of failure. For example, if they know that they cannot succeed and that their hard work is for naught. Thus, you must build their self-confidence to improve motivation. Firstly, clarify the objectives so they know what’s in store and understand their roles/responsibilities. Then clarify the evaluation criteria and encourage them to divide training tasks/objectives into management milestones. Finally, provide feedback and give them control of their own development. You must also give them continual support so that they persevere through challenges.


People are fueled by a sense of accomplishment, a pat on the back, and other rewards. Thus, the training experience must satisfy learners and show them that the effort paid off. This may also come in the form of real-world application. For example, they’re able to see that their newfound knowledge or skills benefit them in the workplace. That said, the praise and achievements must be for challenging tasks. For instance, learners won’t be satisfied if you offer personalized praise for easy achievements.

How Motivational ID Models Fulfill The Expectancy-Value Requirement

John William Atkinson founded the Expectancy-Value theory back in the 1950s. Then Jacquelynne Eccles brought it into the world of education in the 80s. The theory states that learner motivation and achievement rely on two key ingredients: expectancy for success and the subjective values of the task. When combined with Keller’s ARCS model, you can implement training strategies that engage employees on a deeper level, as well as boost staffer satisfaction and self-confidence. Learners are more motivated to learn if they are confident, self-assured, and grasp the perceived value of training.


This is based on an employee’s belief system, namely perceptions regarding their own abilities and whether they can accomplish the objectives. For example, if they’re able to successfully complete the task based on their pre-existing skills and knowledge. These expectancies form a basis for everything they do on the job because it sets their personal limitations. Let’s use the example of an employee who believes they’re a poor communicator. This directly impacts their performance on the sales floor because they don’t have the self-confidence or assurance they need to interact with customers. Their negative self-image hinders their workplace productivity because they have low expectations for themselves. You can raise those expectations by challenging their current self-concept and bolstering their confidence with online training. For instance, developing simulations and personal anecdotes that facilitate firsthand experience.

Subjective Values

This pertains to the learners’ perceptions. Do they think the training task will help them achieve a goal? What will they get from the experience? Will it be enjoyable or entertaining? There are 4 subsets of subjective values:

  1. Attainment
    Does the task improve their status? Is it important to them based on their personal beliefs? How will this achievement improve their self-concept or esteem?
  2. Intrinsic
    Will they get enjoyment or personal fulfillment from the activity? Does it pique their interest? Will it help them achieve a goal or bridge a gap?
  3. Cost
    What is the price they must pay to earn this achievement? How much time will it take? Is it worth the effort? Would they be better off completing another task that leads to better rewards?
  4. Utility
    Is the task useful to them? Is it relevant to their job duties? How does this training tie into real-world performance (i.e., increase in sales figures)?


Successful instructional design models are holistic, in that they account for behaviors, cognitions, and design methodologies. They also understand the limits of the human mind and its information processing power, instead of trying to push the brain beyond its barriers and cause cognitive overload. Use this guide to evaluate your top ID model contenders based on training objectives, team workflow, and learner motivations. Also, bear in mind that these instructional design steps are simply a springboard for your next project. Feel free to expand the process based on your team’s work habits and preferences. For example, you may need to add the "dream team" step to hire ID pros and admins to the payroll or possibly allocate time (and resources) to find a new authoring platform or LMS to improve functionality.

Last but not least, find the right eLearning authoring tool for your team using our free online directory. Filter results by deployment type, pricing model, and licensing options to quickly compile a shortlist of top solutions. Then, evaluate reviews to see who stacks up against the rest and delivers the best ROI.

Download our exclusive eBook for insider tips to choose the best ID model for your online training program. Successful Instructional Design Models: Top ID Skills And Strategies For Newcomers features motivational ID models and skills that every instructional design pro should cultivate.