B.F Skinner was one of the first people to publish on instructional design. On an early article, he mentions the importance of didactic materials, including steps to follow, questions and feedback. This contribution is based on one of the author’s theories called Operant Conditioning Theory, which consists of learning through rewards and punishments, drawing the conclusion that reward and punishment have a connection that leads to learning.

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Benjamin Bloom developed the “Taxonomy of Educational Objectives”. Better known as the “Bloom Taxonomy”. This is a theory that consists of the equal classification of educational objectives based on the complexity of the cognitive process they require. To understand it better, is to visualize a pyramid, at the bottom will be the less complex cognitive processes and at the top of the pyramid will be the most complex, the teacher must be aware that the student can not move from one level to another until the previous one is mastered. Bloom’s Taxonomy is divided into a series of equal levels, from bottom to top: Understand, apply, analyze, evaluate and create. 

David Merrill developed Component Display Theory, which focuses on methods of presenting instructional materials. CDT or “Instructional Design theory” is a set of steps to determine appropriate strategies for the purpose of enabling educators to achieve instructional objectives. That is, determining which strategies work best for the learning, development, and design process. This theory has a several principles, including integration, application, demonstration, activation and problem.

Florida State University’s Center for Educational Technology developed an instructional design framework for the U.S. military called ADDIE, which has since been adopted in educational contexts. To this day it remains popular in the corporate and educational learning space. ADDIE stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation. This model provides instructional designers with a clear process for managing the creation of effective learning experiences.

In the 90’s the constructivist theory became more active. Constructivists asserted that the learner must be authentic and must produce learning experiences that allow the learner to form his or her own knowledge. The constructivist theory proposes the need to offer students a series of tools so that they themselves construct and define their own learning, the purpose being that they can face any problem that may occur in the future.

In 1982 the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute of California introduced its first distance education program. Since then, online learning has experienced a steady growth in educational learning. Years later Elliott Masie, an expert in educational technology spread the term, E-Learning. 

In 2002, Nick Pelling, a game designer first spread the term gamification. And after that it became evident that gamification of online learning environments increased user engagement and learning outcomes.

Any Instructional Design schools alive and thriving?

Creating learning experiences, methods and materials that are useful to learners in acquiring new knowledge is one of the scopes of instructional design. But what are the directives of an instructional designer today? In a sprawling world of responsibilities, including the creation and design of courses, tools, materials, workshops, evaluating what was learned in the course, and analyzing whether what was taught led to measurable intellectual and behavioral change, and so on, perhaps directives and philosophical frameworks aren’t a thing of the past, but something needed now more than ever.

Around the world there are different institutions that offer degrees and courses related to Instructional Design. Here’s a list of the best schools, universities, and platforms that offer Instructional Design education. Hopefully they offer high-level thinking on the profession today.

  • Harvard Extension School — Learning Design and Technology Graduate Certificate
    This postgraduate program consists of four courses with a duration of more than 12 months. With this course you learn about project planning, creation and editing of interactive content and website development.
  • Indiana University Bloomington: Instructional Systems Technology:
    This university seeks to help prepare students to design processes, systems and tools for use in different contexts. According to the university, they focus on turning problems into opportunities. 
  • Florida State University: Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies:
    Program in Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies, with a strong focus on instructional design and performance improvement.
  • Purdue University: Learning Design and Technology
    This program offers doctoral and master’s level training to serve as outstanding educators and leaders in the design and evaluation of learning experiences involving pedagogy and technology.
  • University of Wisconsin-Stout — Instructional Design Certificate:
    This program consists of four courses, which deal with trends, instructional design issues, instructional strategies, instructional design-based project management and electronic-based training design. The value of the certification course is $ 5,592 USD.
  • Instructional design video series — Youtube:
    Through a series of videos, Ph.D. Ray Pastore offers an introduction to instructional design, from training strategies to the software used to create e-learning content. What you can learn through these videos does not come with any kind of certification. 
  • Learning to teach online — Coursera:
    A 5-week beginner’s study plan containing videos, reading material, self-assessments and graded homework. Certification costs approximately $50 USD. 
  • Instructional Design for eLearning — Udemy:
    Introductory course for beginners, for those who want to become part of the terminology and context of digital capture. This course has a value of $95 USD.
  • Learning design basics: pedagogy into practice — Open Learning:
    This course is about the principles of learning design. In this course you learn about the most effective way to teach and how to make students retain the information and apply it. The certificate for this course has an additional cost, and it should be noted that it does not have international accreditation. 
  • Gamification — Coursera:
    This course focuses on the technique of gamification, exploring its meaning and analyzing why games influence people to learn new things. The student will learn about game design and will be tested on their knowledge related to instructional design.
  • Instructional design essentials — Linkedin learning :
    This short course is developed in a 50 minutes video, where methodologies used by instructional designers, such as ADDIE, are explained. Recommended for intermediate level learners and those who have experience in creating eLearning content. 
  • Become an L&D Professional: Learning Path — Linkedin Learning: This curriculum contains 11 video courses with different authors sharing information on different developmental and learning directions to encourage learner participation and gamify the learning experience.
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