4 Basic Elements of Instructional Design

4 basic elements of instructional design

When creating an instructional design course, there are four basic elements that are always included. These four elements are learning objectives, learning activities, summative assessments, and formative assessments.

Whether it’s the ADDIE Model or Bloom’s Taxonomy, these four elements will be built into any instructional design course

Read below to learn more about the purpose and benefits of each element, as well as how it fits into a learning course.

Learning Objectives

The learning objective is the expected outcome for students when they take a course. Basically, it is what students should be able to learn and comprehend once the course is completed. 

The learning objective is the sole reason an instructional design course is being created, therefore making it the most important element. The learning objective must be decided on before anything else is created, as it acts as the foundation and guide for the rest of the learning course. The learning objective affects what types of content, teaching strategies, learning activities, and assessments that will be implemented throughout the course.

An example of a learning objective would be if a course was about songwriting, the learning objective could be for students to write their own song. Therefore, the content would be about writing lyrics and crafting melodies.

Learning Activities

The learning activities are the ways in which students will be taught the course content. The learning activities are decided upon in the design phase, based on the learning objective and the target audience. 

There are a few different types of learning activities, which can be more or less beneficial depending on the subject and audience. The most commonly used being content-focused activities, which typically consist of readings and lectures. Another being collaborative activities, which could be class discussions or group projects. Other learning activities include videos, games, infographics, and so forth. 

An example of a learning activity would be if an educator wanted to highlight two sides to a matter, they could split up the class and orchestrate a debate, giving each group a different side to argue for. This is a fun and engaging activity for students, that also encourages them to conduct their own research and work as a team.

Formative Assessments

Formative assessments are a way to evaluate a student’s progression and knowledge throughout a course. It allows an educator to see where their student’s strengths are, and what areas need improvement. 

Formative assessments can come in multiple different forms, and at times may not even be graded. These assessments can consist of critical thinking questions, presentations, live multiple choice polls, learning and response logs, pop quizzes, class discussions, and so forth. 

An example of a formative assessment would be if an educator focuses on teaching a specific matter throughout one class, and at the end of the class they may require the students to hand in an exit slip before they leave. An exit slip typically only requires a student to answer one question, which allows the teacher to evaluate if they comprehended the material that was taught that day.

Summative Assessments

Summative assessments are graded material given at the end of a course as a final assessment of knowledge. A summative assessment evaluates if the learning objective was met.

Summative assessments are typically given in a standard testing format, like multiple choice questions, short answer questions, and fill in the blank questions. They are graded through pass or fail, or an A-F grading basis. 

Summative assessments are considered to be controversial, because not every student may be able to perform their best in the standardized testing format. Educators try to ensure success by issuing pre-tests for students to practice with, as well as applying feedback to the course from previous students.

Conclusion – 4 Basic Elements of Instructional Design

In conclusion, these four basic elements of instructional design allow for students to be set up for success in a course, as well as the designers to receive feedback for course improvement.

Instructional design is refining the future of education, as it creates new delivery and teaching methods. JazzJune offers accessible learning courses for a variety of different subjects, which are created by instructional designers.

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