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Glossary » instructional design

instructional design

the design of an educational system, focusing on how people learn and how learning can be facilitated. An instructional designer will set educational objectives for the system and design the interaction to avoid straying from those objectives. A wide variety of approaches are available to the instructional designer:

  • a presentation system presents information to a learner as a book or video might, with the focus being to make the information sufficiently interesting to engage the reader/viewer. This “passive learner” approach is not considered to be most effective.
  • a drill-and-practice system gives the learner exercises to complete, evaluates performance, and presents further exercises to focus on weak areas.
  • a user-modeling approach creates software which analyzes the student’s mistakes in solving problems to create instruction which is customized to help the student overcome their misconceptions.
  • an exploratory environment is one in which a learner can construct less-constrained solutions and try out ideas without having a fixed path to knowledge. Simulation systems are common examples.
  • a collaborative learning system focuses on fostering learning through the interaction of multiple students, e.g. CSCL (computer-supported collaborative learning).