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3 Types of Design Applied to Instructional Design

The common misconception that instructional design is akin to creating glorified PowerPoint presentations severely undermines its true essence and complexity. In reality, instructional design is a multifaceted discipline that embodies the principles of real design. Whether it's a series of online courses, a three-day instructor-led course, or a simple video followed by a quiz, each is a testament to the principles of design.


But to understand instructional design's depth, it's crucial to explore how it aligns with three recognized design disciplines: industrial design, interaction design, and experience design.



Industrial Design

Crafting Functional Learning Experiences


Industrial design focuses on optimizing the function, value, and appearance of products and systems for the benefit of both the user and the designer. In instructional design, this translates to creating educational programs that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also functionally effective. All training should be optimized to provide maximum value to the learner and the business. The goal is to design learning experiences that are intuitive, meet educational objectives, and are accessible to a diverse range of learners. As an instructional designer, consider how your materials meet the functional needs of learners and the business.


Interaction Design

Enhancing Learner Engagement with Technology


Interaction design delves into how people interact with technology, aiming to enhance understanding and engagement. It draws from psychology, design, art, and emotion. Instructional design often leverages technology to deliver content, and understanding interaction design can significantly improve how learners engage with these materials. Think about how your courses facilitate interaction, provide feedback, and create an immersive learning environment. To improve, focus on creating intuitive navigation and incorporating elements that prompt learner engagement and interaction.


Experience Design

Fostering Enjoyable Learning Journeys

Experience design centers on the quality and enjoyment of the experience, whether it's a product, service, or event. Instructional design, in this light, is about creating a learning journey that is not only educational but also enjoyable and memorable. It involves considering the learner's emotional journey, the environment in which learning takes place, and how the content resonates with them. As an instructional designer, strive to create courses that are not just informative but also provide an enriching experience.


Integrating Design Principles into Instructional Design

Understanding these design principles and integrating them into instructional design can elevate your materials from mere information delivery to transformative learning experiences. To improve your design:


  1. Focus on Function and Aesthetics: Like industrial design, ensure your materials are both functional and visually appealing.

  2. Enhance Interaction with Technology: Learn from interaction design to make your courses more engaging and user-friendly.

  3. Prioritize the Learning Experience: Borrow from experience design to create courses that are enjoyable and memorable.

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