Instructional Design Methodology and Strategy

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So, a new buzzword has arisen on the internet, in training circles, that being instructional design methodology. Is this something real, or is it just another fluff word that means nothing, used as a sticker to make a product seem shiny or trendy? If it is real, what is it, and can we use it? Is it useful at all?

The instructional design methodology entails acquiring specifically requested information from experts, and then organizing it in a structure of knowledge which pupils can learn in a specific order of internal relevance. It involved marking points for effective and engaging quizzes that ensure grasp of knowledge as well. In short, it’s what goes into writing an educational book on a given topic.

Yeah, at its heart, all it is, is interview-sourced research and presentation of acquired material in a teaching environment of some sort. So, it is a bit of a fluffed term, as buzzwords are wont to be, but it is one with a kernel of real meaning behind it.

So, when you consider this, the other questions become humorous to a degree. It is indeed real, it is indeed useful since it’s … research for teaching in its purest form, and we use it by the way it was described.

This structure can be applied to anything, from organizational learning to gamified knowledge management or the controversial and holistic practice of corporate talent development. It can be used in school styled classrooms, lectures or in writing self-teaching literature, any way you need to train, this is your backbone.

So, when you hear talk of methodology for this particular topic, know it merely means your chosen way of dispersing the information, vis a vis your chosen learning model, and how you go about research.

This isn’t to say I can’t give you a few pointers about methodology here, though. Choosing your questions and expert sources is very important and you really don’t want to mess that up. Having a good way of compiling and sorting the information for your own preparation is important too. In the old days, we used index cards for this, but now computers have software that works just as well, really.

You also need to choose how well you prioritize the information, and how you design your quizzes. How your information is prioritized will change how your learning model must flow, regardless of which one you chose, and quizzes are one of your primary metrics if you use them, so you must design them well. Bad metrics make for false progress and ruined experiments, never forget that.

So, really, instructional design methodology is all in how you go about getting and sorting your information before you choose how to present it. This was more of a demystification than a set of tips on how to use the system, though I think the pointers I did give are very useful ones to remember. This is a step that’s often not regarded as its own step, and is as such treated flippantly. Perhaps this is a good thing, this fluff name giving it its own identity.

Jason Silberman
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog
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