Below you will find various approaches to course design to include in your course. View and choose the design that speaks to you. If you need assistance, please feel free to contact you Instructional Technology Consultant.

Instructional Design & ID Models of Learning

Instructional Design And Development Process

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Abstract: The only way to make the e-learning experience attractive and interactive is to infuse digital tools with effective instructional design models.

What Is Instructional Design?

Instructional design is a process in which instruction is improved through the systematic development of learning experiences. In simpler terms, instructional design is about using knowledge of how people learn and using instructional sequences and strategies to help students’ reach optimal learning outcomes through the design, creation, and delivery of instructional resources, experiences, and courses. This discipline, also known as Instructional Systems Design (ISD) which follows a multi-phase approach to creating diverse, effective and successful online courses.

Instructional Designers are specialists who implement and develop educational materials, create effective learning experiences, presentations, support materials, and much more. This is why Instructional Designers can be of value when designing your course(s). The list of responsibilities of instructional designers also includes the following items:

  • Conducting a needs analysis to identify what precisely the students’ needs are
  • Analyzing those needs and how they can be met through training
  • Determining the learning goals and how to measure them
  • Collecting information about the target group of students (motivational factors, behavior patterns, background knowledge, and much more)
  • Developing an educational strategy, curriculum, and the most effective teaching methods
  • Monitoring learning outcomes to assess the success of the entire learning process

One of the traits of instructional designers is material neutrality, which means they can work with any topic. This makes them very flexible and indispensable professionals.

Instructional Design (ID) Models Of Learning

Instructional design is one of the most fundamental and creative ways of building and delivering an engaging learning experience to users. Instructional design is a rather extensive process that includes various design models with specific characteristics which are worth discussing separately.

Today creating an online course without interacting with instructional designers can be very challenging for course creators. What does the instructional design process look like during the training and development stage? Below are a few fundamental models Instructional Designers use when creating courses.

Here are a few models used at UNCG:

Quality Matters (QM) & QM Checklist

What is Quality Matter? image

3 Components of Quality Matters

  1. Research supported rubric
  2. Professional Development for faculty and staff
  3. Peer reviews of courses and programs

5 types of rubrics for online and blended courses in

  • Higher Education
  • K-12
  • Continuing & Professional Education

Quality Matters is...

  • A Rubric consisting of 8 General Standard areas
      1. Course Overview and Introduction

      2. Learning Objectives

      3. Assessment and Measurement

      4. Instructional Materials

      5. Learner Interaction and Engagement

      6. Course Tools and Technology

      7. Learner Support

      8. Accessibility

      Note: In the Higher Education Rubric, within the 8 General Standards there are 42 Specific Review Standards.

      Alignment: Critical course elements that work together to ensure that students achieve the desired learning outcomes.

      NOTE: To learn more about Quality Matters UNCG offers Online and Face-to-Face workshops. Please click on Workshops & Events.
  • A Peer Review Process dedicated to continuous improvement
  • Professional Development to support the activities of Peer Course review and continuous improvement

Underlying Principles of QM

QM is a faculty-driven peer review process that is:
  • Collaborative - designed by and for faculty to share expertise and experience relative to the design of an online or blended course.
  • The course review process is a Collegial discussion between faculty peers who are committed to
  • Continuous improvement. QM is NOT an evaluation!
QM is Centered on National Standards of best practice, the research literature, and Instructional Design principles designed to promote student learning. QM is about Design not Delivery or Faculty performance. To gain a more in-depth knowledge of QM you may check the Workshops and Events page for QM course offerings.
This section provides articles and other resources regarding Quality Matters and Accessibility.

Articles - Quality Matters

  1. Brown, V.S., Lewis, D., & Toussaint, M. (2018). Students’ perceptions of quality across four-course development modules. Online Learning, 22(2), 173-195. doi:10.24059/olj.v22i2.1213 Retrieved from - Link to article


The ADDIE model is considered one of the most popular instructional design models and the unspoken standard for developing learning experiences. ADDIE stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation.
  • Analysis
This is the first stage without which further development of educational material is impossible. Instructional designers work in partnership with SMEs to define your requirements, the main objectives of your course, its purpose, and more. In addition, this stage includes an analysis of the target audience of future students, their age, gender, existing education, work, and other facts that affect the formation of future content.
  • Design
The second step is to outline your course, its concept if you wish. This helps to outline an abstract idea and roughly understand the look and feel of the course. Besides that, specific practical learning goals are written during the design process and a storyboard for the future course is created.
  • Development
Once the course concept is ready, it's time to start developing the content. This stage includes the entire creative process: writing educational material, structuring it, creating pictures, writing scripts for video, shooting, editing, developing practical assignments, and much more.
  • Implementation
All materials are ready and now the main task is to pack all this into a full-fledged online course and implement it into the educational platform. This process can be handled by both the course owner and a hired professional team of specialists.
  • Evaluation
If you thought that the work on the course was completed at this stage, then this is not entirely true. The main work is over, but now a persistent assessment of the effectiveness of your efforts comes along. You collect feedback from students, monitor learning outcomes, monitor assessments, and based on all this information, you form a report that will clearly show whether your learning goals have been achieved.

Backward Design

The idea of Backward Design comes from Wiggins & McTighe and suggests that learning experiences should be planned with the final assessment in mind. One starts with the end – the desired results (goals or standards) – and then derives the curriculum from the evidence of learning (performances) called for by the standard and the teaching needed to equip students to perform’ (Wiggins and McTighe, 2000, page 8) By beginning with the end in mind, teachers are able to avoid the common problem of planning forward from one unit to another, only to find that in the end some students are prepared for the final assessment and others are not. There are three stages in backward design:
  • Stage 1: Identify Desired Results
  • Stage 2: Determine Acceptable Evidence of Learning
  • Stage 3: Design Learning Experiences & Instruction

Teaching to the Test vs. Teaching the Test

One criticism of this approach is that is appears to promote “teaching to the test”. Yet despite the negative connotation that comes along with that phrase, arguable teaching to the test is exactly what the role of the instructor should be. This does not mean teaching the test itself, of course. But if a known final test or assessment is required, then the backward design can be a useful way to prepare learners to perform well on the final assessment.

Instructional Design Blog & Archived Articles

This blog will feature various strategies you can use in your face-to-face, hybrid, and online courses. I will work to update this site at least a few times a month with different articles/podcasts etc.
Popular Podcasts from Faculty Focus

If you believe you have an inspiring topic to talk about or know your voice can motivate the teaching audience, reach out to Tierney King at with your podcast topic ideas!

Archived Blog Posts

This page will include links to previous articles posted in the SON ID Blog. If a link is broken, please contact your ATS in the hope the link can be restored.