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Instructional Design

Instructional design models are often used when planning for online learning, though the structure they provide may be of use to individuals who are planning courses that will be delivered in face-to-face or hybrid (also referred to as 'blended') formats as well.  It is not necessary to get too caught up in strictly following a particular instructional design model and it possible to borrow elements from a few models when designing or redesigning a course.  These models help us to consider various elements that should be addressed before, during and even after a course, workshop, learning module or program is delivered.

Below are just a few instructional design frameworks and resources to explore. 

Name and Description



  • Analyze
  • Design
  • Develop
  • Implement
  • Evaluate

Instructional System Design (ISD): Using the ADDIE Model (Braxton, Bronico & Looms, 2000)

Designing a Blended Course: Using ADDIE to Guide Instructional Design (Shibley et al., 2011)

Backward Design or Understanding by Design

Backward design involves considering the final outcomes of the course before planning anything else. Understanding by Design (UbD) is a specific framework developed Wiggins and McTighe and includes the following three stages:

  • Identify desired results
  • Determine evidence
  • Develop a learning plan

Understanding by Design (Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University)

Understanding by Design Framework (Wiggins & McTighe, 2012)

Integrated Course Design

Described by Dee Fink in his work on designing courses for significant learning. The three main phases include:

  • Initial design phase
  • Intermediate design phase
  • Final design phase

A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning (Fink, 2003)

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