Instructional Design

Good instructional design requires focusing on three things:

  1. identifying the outcomes of the instruction
  2. planning and preparing the instructional content
  3. designing measures to assess the effectiveness of the instruction. 

Each is equally important although most attention is usually addressed to number 2

Identifying teaching outcomes

The outcomes of instruction (“learning objectives”) should be identified in terms of measurable actions and behaviours of the learners following the instruction. Bloom’s Taxonomy provides a way to write robust learning objectives using descriptive and assessable action verbs.

Planning and preparing teaching content

When teaching materials are prepared, especially online materials, several questions need to be addressed by the instructor: “Will the online instruction replace face-to-face teaching or will it be used in a blended approach?”; “What is expected of the learner-users and how will the instructor know that it has been done?”; “Will the design require the learners to do more than memorize text facts?”; “Are the materials reasonable and can the online instruction be done in a reasonable period of time?”.  Some "How Do I...? sheets which address these questions are available on our How Do I... page.

Designing questions for student assessment

For the most part, student assessment will require that the instructor write examination questions that test the learning objectives. Download an independent learning module on how to design good multiple choice questions. Very thorough manuals to guide the writing of multiple choice questions are available, and downloadable, from the National Board of Medical Examiners.