A Reflection on Instructional Design in Online Learning

Debbie Morrison (2017), author of Online Learning Insights, defines instructional design as “creating an environment for learning by structuring content and creating activities that engage students and facilitate meaningful learning.” Some of these models include ADDIE, SAM, Action Mapping, Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction, Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction, Bloom’s Taxonomy, Dick and Carey, Kemp’s Instructional Design Model, and finally, Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation (Instructional Design Central, 2017). Although most of the models are both comparable and diverse in structure, they all lend themselves to the development of online learning environments. Depending on the instructional designer and his or her ideals, some models may be favored over others.

For more information on the instructional design models listed above, visit https://goo.gl/RhO9bc.

In my case, because I had already developed my My Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) and Learning Outcomes 3-Column Table, which outlined the entire six units of my course, and my Understanding by Design’s (UbD) Backward Design template which outlined and detailed the first unit of my course, AND both templates had some elements that were addressed in certain instructional design models, I had a limited amount of instructional design models that I could use to guide the design and implementation of my Project Based eLearning (PBeL) course on Schoology. So, the models that best fit my instructional course design on Schoology was the ADDIE and Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction models.

For more information on the ADDIE model, visit https://goo.gl/yU6bpU.
For more information on Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction model, visit https://goo.gl/13UbAp.

I would also like to mention that the foundational theories behind my focus on designing a blended learning course for project based learning derive from my being a social constructivist. If you want to know more, my learning philosophy is detailed here.

For more information on social constructivism, visit https://goo.gl/MEIljQ and https://goo.gl/NfjC45.

As I have mentioned before, I implemented my UbD Backward Design template that outlined and detailed the first unit of my PBeL course on Schoology. Because my course is designed for 3-5 teachers that want to begin implementing a project based e-learning approach in a blended learning environment while still integrating their own curriculum, I incorporated the UbD template inside the course as an individual page on the homepage. This would allow the instructor a view of what the entire first unit would look like. The established goals, understandings, essential questions, performance tasks, other evidence, and learning plan, which are all components of the UbD template, facilitated the process of designing the course objectives, goals, materials, and assignments. Most importantly, it formed the basis for creating the learning opportunities for the students. AND it reminded me that the learning opportunities were all about the students and their choices and voices. This all helped shape the questions, reflections, and assignments that are now part of the students’ learning opportunities within the course on Schoology.

Per Project Tomorrow, Blackboard, Inc.’s (2014) report, Trends in Digital Learning: Empowering Innovative Classroom Models for Learning, states that “innovative classroom models empower more engaging and purposeful learning environments for students and teachers.” According to Morrison (2017), online learning should promote interaction, motivate learners, and above all, facilitate learning. But should technology just be thrown at our students? Some do. Others, well, those others are learning, just like me. We are learning to apply teaching and learning theories and instructional design models to the online learning tools that we have chosen to showcase our instruction. Here, I’m talking about Learning Management Systems (LMS) and those subsidiaries that help our LMS improve with content and delivery. Learning Management Systems may include Schoology, Blackboard, Adobe Captivate Prime, Infrastructure Bridge, Cornerstone OnDemand, NetDimensions Talent Suite, Litmos, Infrastructure Canvas, Brightspace, Moodle, and Digital Chalk. Online learning tools that might enhance your LMS might include Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, TechSmith Camtasia, Trivanta Lectora Publisher, and Articulate Presenter. Other simpler and free tools include Kahoot!, Google Classroom, Quizizz, Clever, Edmodo, Skype, Khan Academy, Crash Course, iTunes University, Prezi, and Pear Deck. There are endless online learning tools that are out there. You kind of just have to do some little digging or a lot of digging. But I’ll be nice and give you a head start:

The objective of designing and implementing online learning for our students is to get their attention and keep their attention through effective online learning tools that enhance both the content and delivery of our curriculum. These online learning tools should also be able to track and evaluate our students’ progress throughout the course. There are various considerations you have to take before choosing the LMS and tools for your online learning environment. You have to take into account what is best for your students. And every year, you will need to reflect on those considerations because each and every one of your students is a unique learner-just like you.


Instructional Design Central. (2017). Instructional Design Models. Retrieved from https://www.instructionaldesigncentral.com/instructionaldesignmodels

Herrera, I. (2016). Understanding by Design’s (UbD) Backward Design. Lifelong Learning in a Changing World. Retrieved from https://isauraherrera.wordpress.com/2016/09/18/understanding-by-designs-ubd-backward-design/

Herrera, I. (2016). My Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) and Learning Outcomes 3-Column Table. Lifelong Learning in a Changing World. Retrieved from https://isauraherrera.wordpress.com/2016/09/11/bhag-and-learning-outcomes-3-column-table/

Morrison, D. (2017). Why Online Courses [Really] Need an Instructional Design Strategy. Online Learning Insights. Retrieved from https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/why-online-courses-really-need-an-instructional-design-strategy/

Project Tomorrow. (2014). Trends in Digital Learning: Empowering Innovative Classroom Models for Learning. Retrieved from http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/2015_ClassroomModels.html


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s