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Understanding Instructional Design

Instructional Design is the process of using our knowledge of how people learn to guide our choices of instructional sequences and strategies to meet the needs of the learners and desired learning outcomes.

Instructional Design can be applied to anything that involves Human Performance Improvement. The Instructional Designer is a learning expert who can use their knowledge of the principles of learning and instruction to find the optimal method of instruction. This means finding the most effective, appealing and cost-effective solution. The Instructional Designer analyses the instructional problem, the task, learning needs and learning environment. By clearly defining the learning objectives the Instructional Designer can sequence the content and choose strategies to meet the learning goals. These decisions are based on both knowledge of proven learning strategies and practical experience.

Research has shown that particular ways of delivering instructions are more effective than others. Different kinds of learning goals require different approaches to instruction. The Instructional Designer can determine the best instructional conditions or methods to deliver learning outcomes. The Instructional designer develops instructional strategies that are tailored to the learning objectives and the needs of the learners.

The Aim of Instructional Design

The aim of instructional design is to make the instructions effective, efficient, appealing and cost-effective. The instructional designer uses a variety of interactive media to improve learning and address learning objectives. Traditional face-to-face teaching methods can be enhanced by, or even replaced by innovative e-learning methods. The instructional designer is the expert in finding the right technology to support good pedagogy.

The Information Age is making new demands on us all. Education must find ways to face these new challenges. We can no longer see learners as empty vessels that can be filled with information. The information now resides out there, distributed across a vast network and shared between all people. The challenge now is to help people to use this information safely, wisely and productively as they adapt to a rapidly changing world. We need to prepare “students to learn, work and live successfully in a knowledge-based, global society” (Newhouse, 2002). The Instructional Designer is there to facilitate learning in this new epoch, The Knowledge Age.

Instructional Design, Educational Design or Learning Design

The terms Instructional Design, Educational Design and Learning Design can be used interchangeably.  Learn more. 

What Do Instructional Designers Do?

Instructional Designers draw on adult learning principles to design and develop effective learning programs. This encompasses a wide range of tasks, and will vary depending on the learning solution. We’ve summarised the key job tasks and responsibilities of Learning Designers.

Learn more

Key Instructional Design Skills

We’ve summarised some key skills and qualities that make a great Instructional Designer.

Influences On Learning Design In The Modern Workplace

Infograghic showing learners preferences in a modern workplace

ADDIE Instructional Design Model

Instructional Design Australia (IDA) draws on the ADDIE model of Instructional Design when delivering its learning design services to clients across Australia. Watch the video below to learn more on how IDA apply the ADDIE model.


Instructional design is the process of applying our understanding of how people learn to drive our decisions of instructional strategies and sequences to meet learning needs. It’s the method of drawing on adult learning theory and instructional design models and principles, to create learning programs that most effectively help learners achieve the learning outcomes.



The aim of instructional design is to make learning effective, engaging, efficient and cost-effective.

The three major components of instructional design are:
1. Learning objective
2. Instructional activities
3. Assessment

Curriculum design is ‘what’ learners will learn, whereas instructional design is ‘how’ that will learn it. In other words, curriculum design refers to the knowledge and skills – the learning outcomes, while instructional design refers to the learning methods and experiences.

Exceptional Instructional Designers are learner-focused, creative and have excellent communication skills. They keep project on track, meet deadlines and maintain high quality standards. Instructional Designers are eager learners and constantly explore innovative and evidence-based strategies to improve their practice.

Become an Instructional Designer

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Embrace the freedom of working remotely or as a digital nomad.

Join a thriving industry, where your new skills are in demand! 21.7% projected job growth in 5 years (Seek, 2023)

Constantly expand your knowledge and skills in a dynamic role.

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Make a meaningful impact by helping others to learn and grow.

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Say goodbye to monotony - every project requires curiosity and new thinking.

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Channel your creativity and problem-solving abilities into designing effective learning experiences.

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Explore the versatility of freelancing or collaborating in a team.

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Enjoy flexible hours that fit your lifestyle.

Learning Materials IDA Create

Case studies

In-depth investigations of a single person, group, event, or community used to apply concepts, foster critical thinking and bridge the gap between theory and real-world application.

Powerpoint presentations

Slideshows using visuals to support facilitated sessions.

Embedding activity resources

Materials like flashcards, simulations, reflection questions, discussion questions and activities crafted to reinforce and cement concepts post-training.

Curriculum maps

Visual representations of course structures, mapping content and assessment tasks to learning outcomes.


Live, web-based video sessions focusing on specific topics.

Role-playing activities

Interactive acting exercises mimicking real-world situations.

Quizzes and assessments

Tests to gauge understanding and retention against learning outcomes.

Quick reference guides (QRG)

Compact sheets or cards highlighting essential tips, such as software shortcuts or procedure reminders.

Peer pod activities

Small group exercises where learners collaborate, share insights and learn from each other's experiences.

Learning pathways

Structured routes guiding learners through a sequence of content.

Learning architectures

Visual representation of the overall structure and design of the end-to-end learning program, including learning outcomes, delivery methods and assessment tools.

Learner workbooks

Printed or digital materials with modules, exercises, activities and case studies to guide learners through content.

Leader kits

A collection of activities, team huddle sessions and discussion guides to facilitate group reflections or sessions to support learning transfer.

Job aids

Handy tools or references aiding performance on tasks.

High level designs

A ‘blueprint’ of the learning solution, including topics, timings, key activities, resources, learning materials to be developed and the evaluation strategy.


Flowcharts, decision trees, hierarchies and other diagrams to visually communicate complex processes or concepts.

Activity resources

Tools and materials facilitating hands-on experiences, enhancing engagement, and supporting practical skill application in learning.


Short, focused learning segments designed for quick consumption and immediate application of specific skills or knowledge.

Pre-work activities

Tasks like preliminary readings or online quizzes designed to prime learners for the main content.

Scenario-based activities

Real-world challenges mimicked for decision-making practice.

Feedback tools

Methods to collect and analyse learner feedback to refine and improve a program.

Coaching tools

Guides and templates to help coaches support their staff through effective coaching conversations.

Facilitator guides

Guides consisting of a program overview and session plan/s to support facilitators in teaching and delivering content.

Evaluation tools

Tools used to measure the effectiveness of a program.

Self-paced learning

Content and activities to be completed at a time and place that suits learners.

What Our Customers Say About Us

I’m so happy to have found Instructional Design Australia to design and develop our bespoke learning program. We wanted to create a program consisting of online learning, face-to-face workshops and on-the-job training. IDA aced it! We’re extremely happy with the end product.


IDA consistently exceeds our expectations. Their learner-focused approach have turned made programs fun and effective! We’ve received outstanding feedback from the participants. Thanks IDA!


IDA was a pleasure to work with – excellent communication, great attention to detail, fantastic ideas for hands-on engaging learning whilst meeting our tight deadlines. We are looking forward to working with IDA on future projects.


I recommend this course with the coaching sessions to any Instructional Designer looking to start their career or uplift their skills. The personal coaching and in-depth feedback gave me clarity and boosted my skills. It’s been a real game-changer for me.


I was fresh out of completing a Master of Adult and Vocational Education when I got a job as a company’s first in-house Instructional Designer. Having little to no templates to work from, the ADDIE Toolkit was a godsend. The templates and guides within the Toolkit are comprehensive, yet concise. They guide you through the learning design process step by step – perfect for someone with limited experience in the L&D industry. I highly recommend this Toolkit for anyone starting out in Instructional Design.


I recommend the ADDIE Toolkit to any Instructional Designer that is looking for elegant and easy to use templates. I have received many complements from my clients since purchasing the Toolkit.


Articles on Instructional Design and Learning Design

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Instructional Design Australia (IDA) provides services to support workplace learning and change. With team members in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth IDA will enable your people to engage, learn and perform.

Contact Details

Ph: 1300 528 736

Michael Peart
Ph: 0434 075 231

Bianca Schimizzi
Ph: 0416 013 623

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