Benefits Of Personalized eLearning – Featuring A Case Study For Instructional Designers

The Impact And Benefits Of Personalized eLearning

Personalized eLearning is customization of eLearning so that it can meet the specific needs of learners.

While the concept of personalization of learning is not new and has been in existence since the 1960s, its adaptation for online training or eLearning is a recent phenomenon. The concept continues to evolve and there is no single definition that is widely accepted. I feel that the United States National Education Technology Plan 2017 defines personalized learning effectively:

Personalized learning refers to instruction in which the pace of learning and the instructional approach are optimized for the needs of each learner. Learning objectives, instructional approaches, and instructional content (and its sequencing) may all vary based on learner needs.In addition, learning activities are meaningful and relevant to learners, driven by their interests, and often self-initiated.”

What Are The Techniques That Can Be Used To Create Personalized eLearning?

Personalization of eLearning is typically done in the following ways:

  1. You could begin the eLearning course by personalization through an avatar-based selection. This could then be followed by customized elements, like themes, fonts, backgrounds, and so on.
  2. Another way to offer customized eLearning is through customization of the format of content deliveryto suit varied learning styles. For instance, options to use audio/video, or otherwise, bring in changes in the degree of interactions, and so on.
  3. The highest degree of customization is at the learning path level that is personalized for each learner through pre-assessments or surveys. For instance,
    • A pre-assessment can help us understand the baseline proficiency, and the learner can be given a personalized learning track that corresponds to the competency gaps.
    • Alternatively, we can use a survey to assess where the learners’ interests lie and then offer a personalized set of recommendations on how to “consume” this module (that is, which parts could be skipped and which should be taken with special attention).

What Are The Approaches That Can Effectively Personalize eLearning?

As I have highlighted, personalized eLearning can be crafted through a variety of measures that can help us customize the learning experience for each learner.

The 2 approaches that are useful in creating an effective personalization are:

Approach 1

Adaptive learning: This approach uses techniques like pre-assessment to offer customized feedback and a specific path to each learner. The advantage of this approach is its ability to match the varied learning proficiencies of learners to the most relevant learning path.

Today, microlearning techniques can be used to provide tremendous granularity to break down the primary eLearning course and offer highly customized or personalized learning paths.

Approach 2

Control to the learner: In this approach, rather than taking control through a pre-assessment, we empower the learner to create their own customized learning path (based on their interests and their own assessment of their proficiency). This approach is increasingly gaining popularity on account of its learner-centricity.

We can integrate checks and balances through assessments to redirect the learners, so that while they get the flexibility, they do not skip the sections they may not be good at.

What Are The Benefits Of Personalized eLearning For The Learners And The Organization?

Instead of a “one size fits all” approach, personalized eLearning uses various approaches to engage the learner more meaningfully, and helps them set and achieve their specific learning goals.

This is not all; personalized eLearning also enables learners to set their own learning paths and gain exactly what they need.

Learners’ perspective: As I have highlighted, personalized eLearning empowers the learners and offers them control through the following measures that allow them to:

  1. Set their own goals.
  2. Set manageable milestones.
  3. Select their own learning path.
  4. Select the device they wish to learn on.
  5. Learn at their own pace.
  6. Select the kind of interaction levels they feel is relevant for them.
  7. Get personalized feedback and use it to assess their progress.
  8. Use the offered recommendations to enrich the learning path.

Organizational perspective: Personalized eLearning provides the following key benefits:

  1. You can use the personalized eLearning approach to promote a culture of learning as a continuum.
  2. You will see better learner commitment and higher completion rates.

What Are The Approaches To Offer Personalized Learning?

At EI Design, over the last two years, we have been adding approaches that focus on crafting learning designs to offer control to learners. Essentially, we want to create learning experiences wherein learners can “pull” what they want rather than be “pushed” into a prescriptive learning journey. The personalization of eLearning is a significant part of this practice.

We have created various approaches to offer personalized eLearning, which map to 4 levels, ranging from simple personalization techniques, including Avatar selection, custom themes, and so on, to highly customized learning paths that offer learners the control to choose the learning interactions that match their interest and learning styles.

Let me share a case study that uses several of these personalization techniques in a training course intended for newly joined Instructional Designers in our team.

  • With personalization, we are now able to scale the usage of our existing training courses to ongoing learning (learning as a continuum).
  • For the learners, personalization provides them the required control to decide on the most effective approach to learn and come back for enrichment.

Case Study

Here’s a short video that showcases a case study on using personalization techniques in a corporate training course to double the impact of learning.

Additionally, I am sharing the highlights of our approach to personalize eLearning.

Before – The Traditional eLearning Approach

Designed to induct and onboard newly joined Instructional Designers into our team at EI Design, we had created a suite of 15 courses. Although, our audience comprised team members with different profiles, the approach mandated that all Instructional Designers needed to go through all the courses. Goes without saying, the approach used the classical “push” model to train rather than enabling the learners to “pull” what they need.

ProductLine - Instructional Design Courses List - EI Design

After – The Personalized eLearning Approach

Using the personalized eLearning approach, we give the control to the learners (new Instructional Designers onboarding with us) who can now craft their own learning path, based on their proficiency.

Personalized eLearning - Instructional Design Courses 2

Highlights Of The Personalized eLearning Approach

  • Create learner-centered goals and objectives.
  • Assess online learners to identify knowledge gaps.
  • Offer timely, personalized eLearning feedback.
  • Provide constant online support.

Features Of The Personalized eLearning Approach At A Glance

  1. Avatar selection/Role selection.
  2. Pre-assessment on topics covered.
  3. Range of educational pathways.
  4. Personalized recommendations/feedback.
  5. Re-directs learners for remediation and for good performance.
  6. Provides resources for further exploration of knowledge.
  7. Learners are informed and empowered.
  8. Assessments are related to meaningful tasks.
  9. Reduces the achievement gap.
  10. Enhanced interaction between individual learners and individual teachers.
  11. Facilitates the “community of learning” approach.
  12. Instead of incorporating a linear navigation map, it offers online learners a clickable guide that features diverse eLearning activities and multimedia.

Personalized eLearning - Instructional Design Courses 1

The Impact

Learners’ perspective: They are fully empowered to design their own personal learning path that works best for them.

Organizational perspective: We can validate their current proficiency and provide support (remediation) as well as personalized feedback. Additional learning resources equip the learners to match the proficiency level that our organization requires. The approach also fosters a strong collaboration (between the peers and with senior managers).

Gains of the personalized eLearning approach for the learners: 

  • Let online learners choose their own eLearning activities and multimedia.
  • Set manageable milestones.
  • Incorporate online resource libraries for asynchronous eLearning.



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Jeopardy Jedi: return of the branching menu monster

In a previous post on the Adobe Help Forums, I outlined a challenge that I was facing by trying to execute a branching menu interface which would allow a user to choose from 3 paths each containing a related question pool. In the spirit of “flexible learning” the general idea was that none of the paths were meant to be sequential, i.e. the learner was not expected to complete set 1 before attempting set 2 or set 3. What that meant though, was that a path should only be available to a learner if he had not already visited it and completed the related question set.

Using question slides, I also intended to provide unique feedback to the leaner based on his performance at the end of each path. Captivate, as I soon learnt, would by default, view my output as a single quiz with a single system generated results quiz slide at the end. I created customized “checkpoint” results slides at the end of each path so that the learner could have some feedback on his performance regardless of if all 3 groups had been completed.

Just when everything looked set: (i) my user variables were running accurately and generating the right calculations, (ii) states were changing as they ought to and (iii) all other cosmetic details, I noticed that the caption at the bottom of the question slide on the final set of questions -whichever set was the last to be completed – kept reading “Question 4 of 8” -when truly this could not be the case. This caused the final results slide to return null values as well since the real values from the second set were never being stored or recorded.

I immediately reached out to Lilybiri and Ron Ward and Allen Partridge – as I am teaching myself Captivate. I experimented with the quiz scope. I experimented with “branch aware” vs. not “branch aware” but alas, it didn’t quite fit what I thought my finished product should do. For example, I included the menu in the quiz scope since I had users jumping back and forth there (remember the 3 paths?) but instead, this increased the ‘perceived’ number of questions in the output: Question 4 of 16. Though it appeared as a grey, barely visible caption that no learner would probably take seriously, I was annoyed and took it seriously because it was “not what i wanted” In the interest of time, and at my wit’s end,  I opted to give the learner a linear experience and finished 2016 feeling defeated.

 The Study Tour Project

In early 2017, I developed a content planning template: Jeopardy for the creation of a game. I had briefly glimpsed the learning interaction available in the Captivate software and initially thought that it would suffice for what I wanted. However, from the point of view of an artist, the published interaction was not at all engaging. I would have to design my own thing. Unfortunately, the branching menu conundrum was on the return – perhaps in a less complex way but nevertheless it was re-surfacing and I hadn’t worked out a solution for it. This case study is about how I did just that.  I would like to share my process with other newcomers like myself.

The Jeopardy Project

Project details:  Length 41.5 secs (1245 frames) ; Resolution 1024 x 627;  Slides = 13; Responsive project; Size: 4.3mb

I will describe the lessons learned based on individual slide designs and the reasoning behind each in the Jeopardy Game project. The slide categories in this case study are: (i) Title Slide, (ii) Instructions Slide, (iii) Menu Slide, (iv) Question Slide and (v) Results Slide.

Personal Planning Tips:

Tip #1. I usually refer to the eLearning Brothers website by default. One of the bonuses of working in Captivate is that you are automatically linked to their much coveted assets library. The cut-outs are hands-down every elearning designer’s joy. Unfortunately, the game templates aren’t quite as attractive at least to me. I didn’t like any ready-made option that I saw, and the Game Show Quiz Challenge wasn’t even working as it should. This proved useful in showing me what NOT to do for my particular needs.

Tip #2. I put aside the artist in me – at least at the very start – and became an amateur logician. It is always more important to know that it will work right, i.e. the logical flow, definition of user variables, selection of system variables and the writing of execution of advanced actions: shared, single or conditional. There was no need to build out the entire thing as some creative masterpiece, I focused only on the baseline structure. What were the critical/parent actions? I began with those. Which of these have children or will be duplicated/repeated? How often?  I used some basic shapes and buttons and ensured that everything was operating as they should. The idea is to embellish with transitions, animation, sounds, etc. after.

Tip #3. I have a habit of designing my graphics (as detailed as possible) in an external programme and simply importing them as static background graphics into Captivate. I have found that this reduces the number of objects that only add cosmetic value on my stage and nothing else. The was the approach used for the look and feel of the jeopardy game.

Title Slide

As a launch slide,  its purpose is to gain attention (Gagne, 1965). This can be achieved by adding music, transitions, animations etc. I included an exit button as an option to the learner.  Adding audio to the timeline tends to extend the length of the frame count. In the past, I have been advised by Lilybiri to keep this to a minimum, so instead I used the On Enter option in the Slide Properties to “Play Audio” with the continue movie at the end of audio option selected. When it was not selected, the published project appeared white and nothing was happening. Additionally, it was discovered that for most, if not all, of my buttons I would only allow users, a single attempt. What that meant however, is that if an advanced action was linked to a single attempt button, I would have to again specify the same advanced action script for the “on last attempt” dialogue.

Instructions Slide

Conveying expectations to learners/users good is proper instructional design practice. Even if users glance over instructions, they should be there as a precaution. While I’m sure everyone gets the idea of Jeopardy, I wanted to briefly indicate how performance would be assessed.

I have also used the instructions slide to achieve something that I never did before in my previous projects. I executed an advanced action on entering that has absolutely nothing to do with the current slide! The advanced action Start_Game sets up the next slide rather, by resetting any and all variables or changed states to their default or normal value. By handling the reset one slide ahead, I was free to write another advanced action, and perhaps a more pertinent one, for the coming slide.  This, was a breakthrough for me as in the past, I often tried to do too much on a single slide and an advanced action at run-time.

Menu Slide

There are a couple of design tricks here. I used shapes which I turned into buttons and positioned them against the background graphic. Because my graphic had used different coloured crowns as visual cues for the 3 levels/categories of questions, I would have to reduce the opacity of the shape to 0%. At first when I did this, the four customized states that I had assigned to each button also automatically changed to 0% – causing my heart to sink. However, I later realized that I could customize the states individually and leave the normal state at 0%. This was neat – and is a lot like the “hidden” option in Articulate Storyline.

There are 9 hidden user variables on the menu slide. These count or check if a learner/user/player has previously accessed one of the questions from the menu. These variables are important because this is a branching menu where the learner is free to choose which jeopardy question he wants to attempt. I don’t want him repeating any questions. I don’t just want them disabled, I want to give him an indication that he has already tried, and whether it was right or wrong, that question is now no longer available to him. Isn’t that how jeopardy works? 

Using those variables helped to set up a conditional action called “Menu_Checks” which I executed on Enter. What it does is loop through Q1 to Q9 by determining if “Any of the conditions true” such as [Q1 is equal to 1] etc. Change the state of Question1_Button to Attempted and Disable Question1_Button etc. As a non-programmer, I don’t profess to know anything much about variables except what I have gleaned from Lilybiri’s Tutorials on Adobe – I am sure there are other ways to do this more efficiently.

I used the system variable cpQuizInfoPointsScored to display the Game Participant’s earnings at the start and during the game.

Question Slide

As you may guess, for the branching menu to work accurately I had to ensure that the Q1 through Q9 variables were assigned the value of 1 ON ENTER – for each respective question slide.  This is perhaps the subtle difference between this Jeopardy project and the Study Tour project since here a single slide was assigned to a single variable, once it was counted, it triggered the right change.

Questions slides, in addition to having slide properties where advanced actions can be executed, also have quiz properties where more advanced actions can be added. Each question in the Jeopardy Game has a conditional action for its specific question. The conditional action that I have used takes advantage of the system variable cpQuizInfoAnswerChoice. I disabled shuffling of questions for this to work appropriately. Basically the command checks that the right answer (designated by the literal A/B/C/D that I indicated), plays a success or failure audio clip and jumps back to the menu. It was the first time my if/else conditional action worked! I was only too pleased to duplicate it for the nine questions.  I am a bit curious though, if I did want to enable shuffling of answers, would I have had to specify the correct phrase (full sentence related to the right A/B/C/D) as the literal value instead?

Results Slide

This slide, though system generated, has some changes. My objective for this one was to personalize the quiz results using an avatar. To achieve this effect I used the technique described earlier by the opacity at 0% trick for normal inbuilt states. Under project info in the Pass Fail option, I added the “Change State” of avatar to “Happy” / “Disappointed” and adjusted the default pass and failure messages.



Thinking it through – My Storyboards

Building the Jeopardy Game was a giant leap in my self-directed learning with Captivate because I was able to move faster and apply lessons from previous projects to make it come together. Adobe Captivate for Beginners who may be overly zealous and ambitious in their creations like me – is a worthwhile challenge if you’re up for the task.

How to Start With eLearning: 10 Basic eLearning Terms You Should Know

10 Basic eLearning Terms To Help You Start With eLearning

They say that learning just one new word every day can do wonders for your personal vocabulary. In this article, I will offer the basic eLearning terms that you can add to your professional dictionary. Doing so can boost the productivity of your team, improve your communication skills, and, most importantly, equip you with a few essential buzz words that are sure to impress at your next eLearning meeting.

  1. Blended learning
    An Instructional Design strategy that combines face-to-face corporate training with online training activities. For instance, the learners may be asked to complete an online scenario or watch an online training video before coming to class. During the in-person training session they would discuss the ideas and tasks that were covered within the online activity. In essence, virtual learning materials are used to support face-to-face instruction, and vice versa.
  2. eLearning authoring tool
    Software that features asset libraries and design tools that eLearning professionals can use to create eLearning courses and online training materials. eLearning authoring tools may include pre-made interactions, images, graphics, and audio that can be quickly be uploaded into the eLearning template to reduce development time. These eLearning authoring tools can also organize and deploy eLearning content or upload it to an LMS platform.
  3. Flipped classroom
    Flipped classroom is an instructional design approach that involves self-guided activities and eLearning assessments that are then reinforced in the classroom. For example, the learner would complete an online module, then meet with their peers in person to address their questions and concerns. Unlike blended learning, most, if not all, of the training activities in flipped classrooms are done online and face-to-face instruction gives them a chance to elaborate and fully explore the topics.
  4. Mobile Learning (mLearning)
    Mobile learning
    , also known as mLearning, refers to eLearning materials that individuals can access via mobile devices. For example, an employee can participate in online scenarios, view the interactive company manual, and listen to an online training podcast via their tablet or smartphone. This gives online learners the opportunity to engage in eLearning courses whenever it is most convenient for them. Thus, they are more likely to benefit from the eLearning experience and acquire the necessary information. Responsive design Learning Management Systems are typically the best option for mLearning courses, as they automatically adjust the elements on the page based on the online learner’s device of choice.
  5. LMS
    Learning Management System (LMS) platforms allow eLearning professionals to create, organize, update, and deliver eLearning courses. Most Learning Management Systems also have advanced tracking and reporting capabilities, which enables you to track online learner's progress and identify the strengths and weaknesses of your eLearning course. There is a variety of LMS platforms to choose from, including hosted and cloud based solutions.
  6. SCORM
    SCORM stands for Standard Content Object Reference Model, and refers to a popular packaging model for eLearning content. In essence, all eLearning materials would be packaged into a SCORM compliant module before it could be uploaded to the LMS. The LMS would then deliver and track the SCORM eLearning course.
  7. Tin Can API
    The new packaging option that is quickly taking the place of SCORM. Tin Can API is also known as "The Experience API". This model allows eLearning professionals to take SCORM functionality to a whole new level. For instance, they are now able to create multi-platform eLearning courses and track the learning objectives more effectively once the eLearning course is deployed.
  8. Rapid authoring tools
    As its name suggests, a rapid eLearning authoring tool gives eLearning professionals the power to create rapid eLearning materials. Most eLearning authoring tools include asset libraries, templates, wizards, themes, and interactions that significantly reduce eLearning course development time. For example, an Instructional Designer has the ability to create an interactive video or eLearning scenario using pre-made images, audio, and branching interactions. Thus, even eLearning professionals who do not have any previous graphic design experience can still produce engaging, high quality eLearning content.
  9. HTML5
    HyperText Markup Language, version 5, that utilizes semantic tags to describe eLearning content. HTML5 also features Microdata markup specifications that allow eLearning professionals to create more targeted eLearning content tags. Flash was once the "king" of eLearning content development, but HTML5 is now taking its place. This is primarily due to the fact that Flash is not supported by most mobile devices, such as iPhones and tablets, while HTML5 is accessible on all platforms and browsers.
  10. Storyboard
    A detailed document that is created at the beginning of an eLearning project which highlights every eLearning course design element, from the learning goals to the specific eLearning activities. In essence, the storyboard provides a visual map that tracks every step a learner must complete throughout the eLearning course, from start to finish.

Expanding your eLearning vocabulary can help increase productivity and avoid any confusion with your team. Commit these key basic eLearning terms to memory, and then seek out new ones on your own if you want to take your eLearning lingo to a whole new level.

Want to learn more about how to become an eLearning professional? Have a look at The Free eBook: How To Become An eLearning Professional to learn hot eLearning tips, secret concepts, specific steps and insider information from 23 eLearning Experts.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Becoming A Super Designer: 7 Ways To Help You Get And Stay There

What Is A Super Designer?

In the past, Instructional Designers managed the curriculum development process by being the liaison between the Subject Matter Expert, instructional technologist, as well as administrative stakeholders. Additionally, Instructional Designers made sure they constructed content in a manner that allowed students to achieve stated learning outcomes in an effective and engaging manner. However, difficult economic times and an increase in the demand for tech-savvy Instructional Designers have led to the emergence of the “Super Designer”.

A Super Designer possesses skills far beyond traditional Instructional Designer qualifications. The Super Designer takes on all of the tasks of the traditional designer while also effectively using technology tools such as Dreamweaver, Articulate, and Adobe Flash.

Why Should You Want To Become A Super Designer?

In addition to the obvious benefit of marketability, possessing technologist skills in addition to design skills allows Instructional Designers to stay at the forefront of their craft. Additionally, Super Designers have the skills to lead Instructional Design teams, supporting their teams with technological and design expertise. On a more basic level, anyone looking to make a six-figure income must provide companies with both, the technology and instructional expertise they seek.

7 Steps To Becoming And Remaining A Super Designer

There are several steps you can take to become a Super Designer that will also help you remain one:

  1. Love learning.
    It’s essential to stay abreast of the newest trends in online education, as well as emerging technologies. Signing up to receive popular technology blogs’ posts, attending eLearning conferences, and reading bestselling books on Instructional Design and technology will all feed your passion for learning.
  2. Read between the lines.
    While you will not find companies officially looking for “Super-Designers” in their employment ads, read through Instructional Designer job listings frequently. Focus especially on the ones that are in the six-figure range. Read these job requirements and preferred qualifications carefully and you will find the description of a super-designer. Note the technology skills you see listed most often and focus on learning those first.
  3. Learn to love... that is. Don’t just read about technologies, but choose two to three each month that you will study in depth via online tutorials, free webinars, or product demonstrations. Then, create multiple projects for your digital portfolio using those new technologies. Applying the technology will allow you to practice your new skills in a meaningful way. Make sure to integrate your chosen technologies in your design work whenever appropriate and don’t forget to look for badges to acknowledge your new technology skills publicly!
  4. Showcase your work.
    In addition to adding your technology projects to a digital portfolio, consider submitting conference proposals and article submissions describing your experience learning the technology. Reflecting on your new skills in this manner is a great practice that others will benefit from as well.
  5. Seek out a mentor.
    Who among your colleagues appears especially tech-savvy or is always excited about the newest technologies? Is there an Instructional Designer on your team who always seems to be trying out innovating approaches to curriculum design? Ask such a “Renaissance Man (or Woman)” if he or she would be willing to meet with you on a weekly or by-weekly basis to share their passion for technology and knowledge with you. Find out what books your mentor reads, whose blogs he or she follows, and who inspires him/her!
  6. Pay it forward.
    The best way to become an expert at a new skill is by teaching it to others. After studying and practicing a new technology, offer to teach it to your colleagues. Consider offering a free workshop on the technology at a local library or school, or share tips for becoming a Super Designers with other designers.
  7. Reflect and refine.
    Take the time to reflect on your efforts to become a Super Designer and evaluate where it has been most valuable to invest your time. Focus on those areas and refine your personal Super Designer job description to meet your needs and career goals.


Even if your role is that of a traditional Instructional Designer, becoming familiar with instructional technologies allows you to serve your design process stakeholders more effectively. Being a Super Designer is fast developing into a necessity, rather than a preferred qualification. Using the 7 strategies outlined in this article will help you become and remain a Super Designer!

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Why Do You Need An Instructional Design Degree?

Having An Instructional Design Degree

As is the case with virtually any industry, structured education versus the solitary pursuit of knowledge is always a topic of conversation in the world of eLearning. There are pros and cons associated with either side of the proverbial coin, and the decision of whether or not to obtain an Instructional Design degree is all a matter of personal preference and professional goals. Here are a few of the most convincing arguments in favor of earning an Instructional Design degree.

  1. May help to improve your job prospects.
    If you take a look through job posting boards or eLearning classified advertisements, you'll probably find that a number of the positions require an Instructional Design degree, ranging from a Bachelor's to a Master's, depending upon the skills and experience the position calls for. Even though many hiring managers will consider you based upon your job history and qualifications, some of them won't even glance at your resume if they are looking for someone with a degree.
  2. Expands your knowledge and understanding of Instructional Design principles.
    Pursuing an Instructional Design degree gives you the opportunity to expand your horizons and gain an in depth understanding of Instructional Design theories, models, and learning behaviors. You will have the ability to collaborate with peers and benefit from their skills and experience, so that you can learn about new approaches that will be of use to you when designing and developing eLearning courses in the future. Ultimately, it offers you the chance to gain diverse experiences, so that you can take on any challenges and obstacles that you may have to face throughout your career as an Instructional Designer.
  3. May lead to greater job stability.
    Countless studies, surveys, and research reports have found that earning a college degree leads to greater job stability. This is particularly true in times of economic uncertainty. If you choose to work for an eLearning corporation, then you are less likely to lose your job than those who do not have a degree in the Instructional Design field. In fact, historically speaking, college graduates in virtually all industries have lower unemployment rates than those who have only earned a high school diploma.
  4. Can help to boost your earning potential.
    Undoubtedly, one of the most convincing reasons to get an Instructional Design degree is the increased earning potential. If you obtain a degree, you are more likely to earn a higher salary over the course of your lifetime than someone who has only received a high school diploma. Even if you choose to go the freelance route after graduating, clients will be more likely to hire you to design and develop their eLearning courses if you mention an Instructional Design degree in your portfolio.
  5. Builds a network of eLearning contacts.
    When you graduate from an Instructional Design program, you don't have just a degree. You also have a valuable list of contacts. You can call upon these people when you're in need of assistance for your next eLearning project, or even to see if they have any job prospects that may be of interest to you. This network gives you access to a variety of opportunities that you would not have had otherwise. While social media and online forums give you the ability to communicate with other eLearning professionals, the people with whom you've attended an Instructional Design program already know you on a personal level and will be more likely to call upon you when opportunity comes knocking.

When just a degree isn't enough

The simple truth is that there are some eLearning professionals who won't achieve the same degree of success as others, even if they have earned an Instructional Design degree. This is primarily due to the fact that, above all else, the constant pursuit of knowledge and the ability to apply the knowledge that you've learned is the secret to becoming a successful Instructional Designer.

You must be able to learn on your own, even after you have left your Instructional Design degree program, by taking full advantage of the educational resources that are available to you. Read books, eBooks and industry-related articles, always stay on the cutting edge of new and emerging technologies, and visit Top Instructional Design blogs that can expand your proverbial horizons on a continual basis.

When all is said and done, there is no substitute for real world experience. As such, taking on a diverse range of projects and steadily growing your online portfolio is key to getting a job and enjoying a thriving eLearning career in the industry. Even if you do pursue a degree, don't forget that it's not an all-encompassing education. You need to be able to fill in the holes and perpetually develop your skill sets and talents, so that you can always stay one step ahead of the industry trends and offer your audiences powerful and engaging eLearning courses that truly showcase your talents.

While getting a degree may not be an absolute necessity for eLearning professionals, it does offer its fair share of benefits. However, if you want to create truly effective eLearning experiences for your audience, then you must be willing and ready to become a lifelong student yourself, in constant pursuit of Instructional Design knowledge and experience.

Instructional Design Career Resources

  • How to Choose the Right Online Instructional Design Certificate Program
    If you have been considering an online instructional design certificate program, then you've come to the right place. In this article, I will go over the basics of Instructional Design certificate programs; share 7 tips for choosing the right Instructional Design program, and even highlight 18 Online Instructional Design Certificate Programs that you may want to consider.
  • How to Choose the Right Instructional Design Bachelor Program
    In this article, I'll delve into the significant factors you need to consider prior selecting the right Instructional Design bachelor degree program. At the same time, I will highlight some of the Top Instructional Design Bachelor degree schools that you may want to think carefully about during your search.
  • How to Choose the Right Instructional Design Master’s Program
    In this article I'll share some top tips that can help you to select the ideal instructional design masters program. Additionally, I will highlight a number of universities that offer Instructional Design master's degrees.
  • How to Choose the Right Instructional Design PhD Program
    If you're interested in Instructional Design at the University level, or if you want to expand your instructional design knowledge base even further, then you may want to consider an instructional design PhD program. These programs are ideally suited for those who have prior experience in the educational sector and want to gain a more comprehensive understanding of Instructional Design technologies, theories, and models. In this article I'll highlight some Universities that you may want to consider, but first I'll share some tips that will help you choose the right instructional design PhD program for you.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Instructional Design Models and Theories: Action Learning Model

The Quintessential of the Action Learning Model

The idea behind the Action Learning Model is that a learner can gather knowledge by working with other peers in a group setting to find a solution to a problem or scenario. In doing so, learners will be able to not only develop their own skill sets and knowledge base, but also those of the group or of the organization.

Reginald Revans also described the Revans Formula as L= P+Q, where:

  • L is learning
  • P is programming and
  • Q is questioning (closed, open, objective, and relative)

The Principles of Action Learning Model

The principles involved in the Action Learning Model are as follows:

  1. The learning experience should be centered around finding an answer or a solution to a problem that exists in the real world.
  2. Learning is a voluntary process, and the learner must be willing to learn.
  3. Action Learning is a highly social activity and process which takes time to be fully effective. The typical action learning program can last between four to nine months.
  4. Developing the individual's knowledge base and skill sets are just as essential as arriving at the solution to the scenario or problem.

The Action Learning Sets

The groups that are formed in Action Learning are known as “action learning sets”. In action learning sets, the learners are encouraged to meet on a regular basis, explore answers to the problems, and to collectively decide upon the most appropriate solution. Usually, the steps involved in the process are:

  • Describing the problem as it is perceived by the action learning set.
  • Discussing the problem by allowing each member of the action learning set to ask questions.
  • Assessing what has been discovered during the process so far, and determining which action should be taken.
  • Evaluating the outcome that was produced by the solution.
  • Re-evaluating the problem solving method and determining if it is effective.

The 4 Key Components of Action Learning Theory

In addition to “action learning sets”, there are four other key components that may be applied in an action learning sets:

  1. A Problem
    This is typically a non-technical problem, and must pertain to either strategic or tactical-based scenarios or issues. Within an action learning set there may be one problem or many.
  2. A Client
    This is the entity who set forth the problem. This may be a member of the group, an instructor, or an outside organization.
  3. A Set Adviser
    This is the individual who facilitates the set and presents the guidelines for the problem solving process.
  4. The Process
    this involves an assessment and analysis of the problem, reflection, the formulation of a possible solution or hypothesis. Once all of this has been achieved, then the group is encouraged to take action.

The Action Learning Model is seen as an accelerated learning strategy which can be applied to a wide range of educational settings. Not only is it effective in the classroom, but in the workplace as well. In fact, its proponents suggest that it can me a valuable learning tool in eLearning environments which deal with adult education. Typical tasks may involve group project tasks, games, or an examination of case studies.

Join us at the Instructional Design History Journey

A New Instructional Design Model Will Be Added Every Week! You are more than welcome to let us know if you would like us to cover an instructional design model and theory that is not included at the Instructional Design Models and Theories. Simply leave a comment at the Instructional Design Models and Theories.


  • Action Learning in Practice
  • Boshyk, Yury, and Dilworth, Robert L. 2010. Action Learning: History and Evolution. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan. Staff development for online delivery: A collaborative, team based action learning model. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 2000, 16(1), 26-44.
  • Inglis, S. (1994). Making the Most of Action Learning. Aldershot, England: Gower.
  • O'Neil, J., and Marsick, V. J. (1994). Becoming critically reflective through action reflection learning TM. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education no. 63, 17-29. (EJ 494 200).
  • Inside action learning: An exploration of the psychology and politics of the action learning model. Vince, Russ; Martin, Linda, Management Education & Development, Vol 24(3), 1993, 205-215.
  • Revans, R (1980). Action learning: New techniques for management. London: Blond & Briggs.
  • About Action Learning
  • Dr Reg Revans, Australia

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.