Importance of Instructional Design in Adult Learning Theory

Importance of Instructional Design in Adult Learning theory Final

There is no specific area that defines the instructional design. It’s an outstanding technique that makes a big difference in audience lives by creating courses that motivate, inspire, and streamline the learning process.

With the paradigm shift to learning level, Instructional design has synthesized neurological facts and realities of adult-learning which hit the mark every time in its effectiveness. However, eLearning courses prove best with the user-comfort zone, but here is the challenge due to the different nature of the audience.

As an instructional designer, one must invoke in understanding the curriculum of learner, because, here learners are adults with previous knowledge and fixed goals. Due to hectic environment and stressed-out folks, eLearning has revolutionized the adult learning by facilitating with trouble-free and facile courses.

In this article, you will understand:

  • What is adult learning theory and the principle involved in it.
  • The role of Instructional designer in creating an adult-learning course.

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Importance of Instructional Design in Adult Learning Theory

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Novices: The Missing Link

When performing our initial learning needs analysis, if the opportunity allows, I highly recommend setting aside some time to speak with a novice because their opinions of the workplace can be very different from that of a SME.

While chatting with novices, I try to build a complete profile of the prospective learner. Afterward, I can usually give the main character in the learning module a name and begin to conceptualize their background story.

However, gathering accurate information starts with gaining access to the right novice. Therefore, I request a novice who is generally representative of the target learner population in terms of educational background and prior work experience, as well as diversity characteristics such as gender, age, and ethnicity. The resulting learning curriculum needs to resonate with and produce the desired performance change within this distinct population.

I like to form my own impression of their work environment, so whenever feasible, I will visit onsite. Since I often conduct interviews remotely, I use video conferencing as much as possible.

If I can see their surroundings, I take note of how busy it is. I note how close they are to the physical resources that support their role. I also note any unconscious skills they utilize to be productive within that particular setting.

When I cannot see the workplace, I listen carefully. Background noises (or lack thereof) can also provide valuable insights into the workplace culture and social interactions.

During our chat, I ask them to describe the typical skill sets a novice would be expected to have in that specific role. I use open-ended questions to encourage a natural flow and gain added insights such as whether they are comfortable using technical jargon or corporate acronyms or if they have access to formal or informal support structures. They frequently also describe internal online resources or social networking tools, of which I might have been previously unaware.

This conversation can be very fruitful in terms of generating content for a more immersive learning experience. Most importantly, though, it helps me to establish a more realistic baseline for the minimum level of knowledge and support a learner would be expected to have as they embark upon their learning journey.

I like to think that while interviewing SMEs provides a roadmap of the destination, interviewing the novice informs the distance learners have to travel to get there.

In my opinion, these are both significant yet separate contributions to the design of a more robust and relevant learning curriculum.

What do you think?

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Best Practices to Switch From Instructor Led Training to eLearning

Instructor Led Training- this word gives you a picture of Instructor in the classroom with a PowerPoint (PPT) and the learners with their notebooks. This was the leading traditional learning method used for employee training and development. But the trend shows steady decline in instructor led training over the last few years. As new learning…

Slide breakdown question

In Captivate, is it better to have fewer slides that are more complex or more slides that are less complex? For example, i’m working on a course introduction and i’m wondering if it’s better to create a title slide, an introduction slide, a how to use this course slide that seamlessly auto-advance or to create one slide that’s all those things before advancing to the objectives.

Would love to hear your guys’ thoughts.

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Compliance Simplified: Using Creative Instructional Design Approaches To Instill The Spirit Of “Why Comply”

Compliance Simplified: How To Use Creative Instructional Design Approaches To Instill The Spirit Of Compliance

In this article, we will look at this challenge in detail. As a response to mitigate this, I will outline how we can instill the spirit of “why comply” by using examples that feature compelling creative Instructional Design approaches.


High profile areas of business –especially anything connected to revenue and markets– are governed by regulations. These are sets of rules set out by government bodies on how businesses should operate – covering trades, financial dealings, competition rules, safeguarding, and more.

For example:

  • Rules on insider trading, antitrust, or competition are in place to ensure that financial markets operate fairly, so no party has an advantage over another.
  • Rules on workplace behavior and health and safety are in place primarily to safeguard the people at work.

How And Why Rules Can Be Misunderstood

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples that explore how and why rules can be misunderstood – either because they try to set standards for personal behavior which is complex and can be challenging, or because they set out strict methods of operation, based on market behavior.

Compliance Simplified Example 1: Respect in the workplace.

Respect in the workplace, or in any place, can be a difficult subject to discuss. People do not like to think they are behaving disrespectfully – most people believe they behave well with colleagues and others they encounter in the workplace. That’s because respect is not regulated – it is set by an internal bearing, based on our morals and ethical perspectives, which are in turn derived from our upbringing, past experiences, home lives, and even faith.

Telling someone their behavior is disrespectful to you or to others can be difficult. Respect is often only noted by its absence and by the person who is not being treated with respect. Huge developments in anti-discrimination movements have made discussions about respect (or a lack of it) in the workplace easier to lead.

What can be done: Let me share how we have handled two important aspects to meet the mandate of respect in the workplace.

  • Recognizing disrespectful behavior.
    In the first instance, we have shown how we can build sensitivity to recognize disrespectful behavior. Alongside, we have added a simple test to guide the learners and help them not cross the line.EI Design Compliance Simplified
  • Responding correctly to disrespectful comments.
    In this instance, using a situation analysis approach, we highlight the consequences of each choice made by the learners. Making the learners see the impact of their choices, we can increase the probability of right action.
    EI Design Compliance Simplified Course 1

Compliance Simplified Example 2: Combating bribery in business.

Bribery and corruption is another contentious area. While it is simple to explain the concept and what constitutes a bribe or corrupt behavior, the difficulty lies in ensuring that learners apply the concept and demonstrate expected standards of behavior.

Bribery can easily become the norm – a standard way of doing business with people. While to an outsider, bribery or corruption may be obvious, it may be invisible to someone who thinks it is normal business practice. Gift-giving, hospitality, and entertainment are also tricky areas to negotiate – when does a gift become a bribe?

While many countries have national legislation on bribery and corruption, and the laws of some countries cover behavior beyond their jurisdictions, there are no monetary limits on what constitutes a bribe. Understanding when a gift could be considered a bribe is crucial to understanding the entire concept – and this can be a minefield for employees and managements.

What can be done: In case of combating bribery in business, a very significant aspect is to have employees recognize the red flags and trigger the required action. This is how we have handled this aspect:

EI Design Compliance Simplified Course 2
EI Design Compliance Simplified Course

How Can We Handle These Dynamics?

Through our creative Instructional Design approaches for compliance courses, we have defined an approach we term as Compliance Simplified. The examples shown in this article have been picked up from this approach.

To help learners understand tricky legal premises using this approach, we:

  1. Take complex concepts and demystify them for learners.
  2. Use simple explanations, placing learners into challenging scenarios and asking them to choose a way out – an opportunity to choose the right path.
  3. Explain the consequences of each choice made before posing another similar dilemma – testing the learners’ understanding along the way.

I hope this article was useful in seeing value in our mandate Compliance Simplified and how it can influence and trigger the right behavior. We believe only when this objective is achieved, would the compliance mandate hit the bull’s-eye.

Using innovative and creative Instructional Design techniques for compliance is a very significant practice at EI Design.

Acknowledgement:This article was conceptualized by our business associate Helen O’Gorman who shares my passion to make compliance courses immersive and engaging.


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Creative Instructional Design: Featuring 3 Innovative Onboarding And Induction Examples

All of us are aware of the impact of well-designed onboarding and induction programs. Today, several organizations prefer an eLearning-based approach to deliver them. They seek learning strategies that can deliver high impact programs that can induct new team members quickly and efficiently. With changes in learner demographics that now include Millennials in significant numbers, organizations are looking at more engaging and immersive formats that appeal to this profile.

3 Innovative Onboarding And Induction Examples Of Creative Instructional Design

In this article, I will outline sticky learning designs featuring the creative Instructional Design approaches through 3 examples. These examples feature learning strategies ranging from gamification to active learning and the more recent microlearning (uses video-based nuggets and guided exploration). I have picked these examples from diverse industry verticals like Insurance, Oil and Gas, and eLearning.

What Are The Advantages Of Well-Designed Onboarding And Induction Programs?

Well-designed onboarding and induction programs provide new team members with a quick understanding of their role and what the organization/employer expects from them.

    • Investment in such programs results in a shorter learning curve owing to quicker and better comprehension of the required knowledge and skills, faster coordination, interaction, and communication with others when compared to achieving of these objectives without a program.
  • Effective onboarding and induction programs also enhance the productivity of employees in a company in a short span saving the organization the trouble of waiting for the new employees to familiarize themselves with their jobs. They also prove beneficial in reducing lower employee turnover due to lack of information or clarity in expectations.

What Learning Approaches Can Enhance The Impact Of Onboarding And Induction Programs?

In the last 13+ years, we have created hundreds of onboarding and induction eLearning and mobile learning or mLearning courses. Over the last year particularly, there is a clear shift towards responsive designs to offer these programs on tablets and smartphones.

I have selected 3 onboarding and induction examples that use very different learning strategies:

    • Gamification.
    • Active learning.
  • Microlearning nuggets (extensive usage of videos and guided exploration).

Onboarding And Induction Example 1: Gamification (Industry Vertical – Insurance)

This is my favorite example that showcases how you can use gamification for an induction program. We chose the 100 days onboarding and induction plan to map to a theme of a mission that needed learners to clear various levels within the stipulated time. It also had leaderboards to enable them to assess how they are faring against the other team members.

You can also refer to my earlier article What Are The Benefits Of mLearning? Featuring 5 Killer Examples where this example had appeared first.



Onboarding And Induction Example 2: Active Learning (Industry Vertical – Oil And Gas)

This example features industry-specific, high impact visuals. Our customer needed to train their globally spread out workforce from different geographies, different cultures, and of course varied age groups. We felt the thread of the specific industry-based visuals would be the right approach to engage all employees in spite of this diversity.

EI Design Onboarding and Induction oil and gas 1

EI Design Onboarding and Induction oil and gas 2

Onboarding And Induction Example 3: Microlearning (Featuring Video-Based Nuggets) And Guided Exploration (Industry Vertical – eLearning)

This example is from our own onboarding and induction program. This features microlearning media pieces (largely videos) and guided exploration through very simple and intuitive interactivities. Action images of team members and video nuggets make the learning interesting, sticky, and easy to internalize.

New team members are enrolled to the onboarding and induction program on day 1 of joining with the flexibility to access it on the device of their choice. The course uses a responsive design and can be accessed on tablets and smartphones as well. The average age in our organization is 28 and we have taken this approach (videos, microlearning, learning path that can be customized, and so on) that appeals to this age group. We have used photographs of our facility, our team members, and our advisors so that new team members can easily connect and get integrated into the organization.

EI Design Onboarding and Induction 1

EI Design Onboarding and Induction 2

EI Design Onboarding and Induction 3

I hope this article helps you visualize how you can enhance your existing onboarding and induction program. At EI Design, we have a wide range of custom solutions that can create high impact eLearning and mLearning programs for any industry vertical. Each of these uses creative Instructional Design approaches that make the learning stick. Do contact us if you have any questions.


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Instructional Design Strategies to Design eLearning in 2018

As we witness the transition of traditional eLearning to mobile learning and macrolearning– to microlearning-based training, Instructional Design strategies are also evolving to keep pace.

In this blog, I outline some of the Instructional Design strategies we use at EI Design that are in sync with the current trends and help us create high-impact learning experiences.

I have been an Instructional Designer for nearly two decades. While I keep pace with the current trends and watch out for the new and emerging ones, I am very conscious of using older models by adapting them to the current scenario.

For instance, most of the Instructional Designers would be familiar with Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction that was presented first in 1965. It has been the core of my learning design approach, and in this blog, I use it to present Instructional Design strategies that are relevant for 2018.

Note: While I have used Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction as the core, I have modified some of its aspects for online training.

  1. Gain attention of the learners: A book is judged by a cover, and the introduction to the online course needs to be as arresting for the learner to be motivated to take the course. To gain the learner’s attention, you can use Instructional Design strategies like:
    • A teaser video to create an awareness of the online course—this can be shared before the course is launched.
    • An interesting animated video to set the context and outline WIIFM (What Is In It For Me).
    • Begin the course with thought-provoking questions to help learners channelize their attention on what follows.
  2. Inform learners about the learning objectives of the course: After you have created an arresting introduction, the focus shifts to what are the learning objectives of the course. You can use the following Instructional Design strategies to outline the learning objectives:
    • Highlight: What will they walk away with post this course?
    • Add: What gains will accrue, and how will this help them perform better or acquire a new skill?
  3. Stimulate recall of previous knowledge or learning: As you introduce new concepts that have a bearing on what the learners already know, stimulate the knowledge or learning that they already have. To achieve this, you can use Instructional Design strategies like:
    • Provide a personalized learning path based on their proficiency or preference. This can be set based on a pre-test or a survey.
    • Use Information Highlights to draw their attention to what they know (for instance, use “Did You Know” and connect them back to the current schema).
  4. Use immersive and engaging strategies to present content: You are spoilt for choice here, and you can pick from Instructional Design strategies including:
    • Microlearning (including learning journeys): For both formal training as well as Performance Support intervention.
    • Active learning featuring guided exploration.
    • Scenario-based learning: Including Videos and Interactive Videos and complex, branching simulations.
    • Storytorials or story-based learning.

    Also, offer flexibility to learners to learn on the go and on the device of their choice.

    • Today, you can opt for adaptive designs (mobile friendly) as well as fully responsive designs (mobile first). Both approaches feature multi-device support enabling learners to move across devices (from laptops/desktops to tablets/smartphones).
    • You can leverage on mobile learning to offer “learning as a continuum” and push both formal training and informal training nuggets.
  5. Provide guidance: To aid the learners during their learning journey, you can use Instructional Design strategies like:
    • Scaffolds/hints and cues as they progress through the learning path.
    • Scenarios to help them relate to real-life situations.
    • Examples and non-examples.
    • Analogies and metaphors to comprehend complex concepts.
  6. Provide room for practice: We cannot ignore the rigor of practice to help us internalize and apply. You can use Instructional Design strategies like:
    • Craft an assessment strategy that pushes the cognition from recall or understanding to application.
    • Provide adequate room for practice (without consequences).
  7. Provide feedback: Feedback is necessary for learners to know where they stand and, more specifically, how can they improve their performance. To aid this, you can use instructional design strategies like:
    • Formative and corrective feedback.
    • Analytical feedback.
    • Redirect for remediation, if required.
    • Provide just-in-time learning aids to reinforce.
  8. Assess performance repeatedly: Repeated assessments keep the learner aligned to their learning goals. You can use Instructional Design strategies like:
    • Pre-test.
    • Interim check-points.
    • Summative test: Include a comparison of gain vs the pre-test.
  9. Enhance retention and its application on the job: You can use following instructional design strategies to meet this crucial aspect:
    • Performance Support intervention: To aid recall and application on the job.
    • Nudges to mastery: Share challenges (quizzes) that help the learners keep their information current, and they can be progressively fed tougher challenges



I hope this blog provides you with Instructional Design strategies that you can use to engage the learner and help them achieve the desired performance gain. If you have any further queries in this regard, do contact me at

Need More

Want more insights on how you can enhance the impact of your online training through creative Instructional Design strategies?

Schedule a call with our Solutions Architecting Team.


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Microlearning: The Emerging Instructional Design Strategy in Elearning

Microlearning The Emerging Instructional Design Strategy in Elearning

“As an Instructional Designer, I Feel Learner Engagement Is a Big Deal And One Cannot Afford to Ignore It…”

Microlearning is an emerging instructional design strategy and has been a buzzword both in eLearning Industry and Learning & Development landscape. In this blog, we will dive deep into microlearning to find its characteristics.

Today’s millennial workforce is overwhelmed, distracted, stressed out and disengaged more than ever. And this younger generation wants to have a complete control over what they learn, how they learn and when they learn, provided the learning is completely relevant. Given their low attention spans and heavy distractions, long and boring content (aka information dump) makes no more sense in the present context. So it’s time to design eLearning with a more holistic learner-centered approach, and that’s what we call “Microlearning” (micro-learning or micro learning). It is an ideal eLearning solution for corporate learning environment that supports blended learning / mobile learning strategy / formal training.

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning is a learning strategy that involves bite-sized learning nuggets (small and focused segments) designed to meet a specific learning outcome. To put it simply, the learning content is chunked to reduce learner’s cognitive overload making it easy for learners to absorb and recall. And this results in better learning retention. On top of that, it is easily accessible via mobile devices providing just-in-time performance support.

Microlearning could be anything that provides a brief learning experience. For instance, it could be a mini eLearning module with a smaller chunk of learning content or a video tutorial or even a quiz or an infographic.

How Does an Effective Microlearning Course Look Like?

An effective microlearning course:

  • Provides deeper learning on a specific concept or a performance objective
  • Is bite-sized, effectively chunked and easily digestible
  • Designed for exact moment-of-need – Right information at right time
  • Ideal for extended performance support providing a better mobile learning experience
  • Focused on a single performance objective, concept or idea
  • Is usually 4 to 5 minutes in length, or shorter


Well, microlearning is going to be one of the hottest eLearning trends in 2017. Most of the organizations have already started implementing microlearning as part of their corporate learning culture.

Are your training strategies not meeting the current learning requirements? Are you unable to keep your modern learners engaged? Then it’s time you switch to microlearning for a more targeted learning and performance support. After all, training programs need not be boring and tedious. We, at Swift, help you devise better microlearning strategies that fit your learning culture whilst driving your learning and development programs with the better completion rates. This means a better eLearning return on investment (ROI) with better business results.

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