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What Are The Differences Between Educational Design, Learning Design And Instructional Design?

Whilst these terms may be used interchangeably within organisations, the definitions do highlight some differences. An Instructional Designer may have difficulty carrying out the work of an Educational Designer, but may manage Learning Design roles. The Learning Designer can usually carry out the role of an Educational Designer as long as they have formal trailing in the Learning Sciences. Educational Design is at the top of the ‘tree’ because they definitely need formal training in learning and teaching as well as current knowledge of the Learning Sciences.

Within universities, Educational Design and Learning Design do have some differences. Educational Designers tend to work on a variety of projects from a wide range of subjects whilst Learning Designers focus on one Subject or one course. This means that an Educational Designer needs a greater variety of skills to meet the demands of their varied work. The Learning Designer may need to work more closely with the content so would need greater attention to detail.

Interesting in Australia there are almost double the monthly google searches for the term Instructional Design compared to Learning Design.

All three of these roles can be applied to eLearning. ELearning covers the full spectrum of digital learning and teaching. Information and communication systems are the media used to implement the learning process.

Looking for a Job as an Instructional Designer or Learning Designer in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane or Perth?

We are always looking for talented instructional designers to join our team in Melbourne, Sydney,  Perth and Brisbane on an independent contractor or casual employee basis to provide instructional design support on specific projects.  Our projects typically vary in length from 1 to 12 weeks, so we may be able to offer flexible engagements around your other commitments and availability (including work from home, flexible days and hours). Learn More

What Is Instructional Design?

Click on the links below to learn more about instructional design.

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.

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What Our Customers Say

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!


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 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 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.


We appreciate IDA’s ability to create engaging and interactive eLearning programs with tight turn arounds. I always feel relaxed with IDA on board, knowing our program’s in good hands.


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.


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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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    Learning Design FAQs

    What are the objectives of learning design?

    The purpose of learning design is to make learning effective, efficient and engaging. It ensures the structure and sequence of experiences scaffold learning, building on learners’ current understanding and skills to increase capability.

    What are the characteristics of learning design?

    Learning design is:
    1. Learner-centred: it focuses on the learner’s knowledge, skills and behaviours.
    2. Goal-oriented: it aims to achieve specific learning outcomes.
    3. Theory-driven: it is underpinned by learning theories (including andragogy) and instructional design principles.
    4. Focused on creating meaningful experiences: learning experiences are engaging, effective and relevant to the real-world.
    5. Data-driven: it targets the learning needs identified through the learning needs analysis (LNA), and includes a program evaluation to determine the strategy’s effectiveness and how it can be improved.

    How many types of learning design are there?

    There are four common learning design models:
    1. The ADDIE Model
    2. Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction
    3. Bloom’s Taxonomy
    4. Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction

    The ADDIE Model guides Instructional Designers through the instructional design process. ADDIE stands for Analyse, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate.
    Merrill collated numerous learning theories and models to establish the First Principles of Instruction which Instructional Designers draw on to ensure their learning strategy reflects best practice.

    Bloom’s Taxonomy is a hierarchical model of six levels of cognitive skills; Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. Instructional Designers use it to define learning objectives and design activities that build higher-order thinking.

    Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction is a list of sequential actions used to structure learning sessions. They are:
    1. Gain the attention of the students.
    2. Inform the learner of the objective.
    3. Stimulate recall of prior learning.
    4. Present the content.
    5. Provide learning guidance.
    6. Elicit the performance.
    7. Provide feedback.
    8. Assess the performance.
    9. Enhance retention and transfer.

    What are the basic steps to prepare a good learning design?

    The ADDIE Model is a five-step process used to create an impactful learning design. ADDIE is an acronym for: Analyse, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate. To prepare a good learning design, firstly complete a learning needs analysis (LNA). The information gathered will help to identify the learning needs. These are used to determine the learning outcomes the program aims to achieve. You’ll then be able to recommend (and design) an appropriate learning solution.