Introduction to Interactive Digital Media: What is Instructional Design?

Instructional Design has many roles, all of which are only slightly different. Instructional  Design is primarily the responsibility of relaying information to an audience in a way that they can follow and understand. This is often done through flowcharts, diagrams, or procedures such as a recipe, or even a video.

Origami Crane (Video)

A basic and common form of instructional design is a video tutorial which allows the audience to visualise and hear instructions, often following along. In this example, we see that the instructor is demonstrating the fold, while also displaying a diagram in the top right corner as a secondary reference for the step.
Note: there is audio in the video.

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 10.46.14 pm.pngImage 1 (Tavin’s Origami Instructions, 2010).

IKEA Assembly Manual

Ever bought a piece of furniture and you had to assemble it yourself? Well, that is where an Instructional Designer steps in. It’s his/her role to design a system which you – the consumer – can understand. The Instructional Designer must consider how the procedure of constructing this piece of furniture can be passed onto another person in the simplest and shortest of ways. The things this designer must consider are:

  • Your knowledge of furniture parts
  • Your literacy skills
  • Your knowledge of tools and appliances
  • Your ability to identify objects
  • Your access to technology and internet

All of these things are taken into account so that the Instructional Designer can determine the best possible solution to helping you build your new piece of furniture without stress, or having to call or search online for solutions.

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 10.36.26 pm

Example 2, Image 2 (Inter IKEA Systems B.V., 2017)

Working a Camera

Another common, yet effective form of instructional design is written instruction accompanied by an image – sometimes, this image may be labelled. The image below provides an example of this, and while not exactly a ‘design’ based example, the idea or instruction is still communicated.
Text and images work great together because it allows the user to read the process and refer to an image to visualise the step, item or final product. Instructional design takes skills and techniques from areas of design such as photography, videography, graphic design and illustration. A notable reference is a recipe or ‘How to Draw…’ book, which use text and imagery together to represent a specific definition or final concept within the process.

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 11.01.15 pmImage 3 (Whole Lifestyle Nutrition, 2017)

The designer must also consider what form of instruction is best, would it be a diagram, or a flowchart, or a video? In this case, I am referring you to a video for you to expand your understanding. This video is a form of instructional design, made by an Instructional Designer about an Instructional Designer – odd, isn’t it?

Watch this video here.Screen Shot 2017-02-26 at 5.49.24 pm.png


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