Back to Top


I view design as a foundational element of instructional technology. At the heart of design is planning. The purpose of design is to gain a full understanding of:

  • What needs to be accomplished? What is the goal?
  • How should it be done? What is the strategy and approach?
  • Who needs to achieve the goal? Who are the learners, what are they like, and how does this impact the process?

Prior to my experiences in ITMA, I inadvertently trivialized the design process in my professional setting because I did not have an understanding of its importance for delivering an effective learning solution. During my time in the ITMA program, I have grown to appreciate the design process for more carefully planning conditions that support learning. I discovered that planning a complete instructional strategy in advance - particularly in terms of writing assessment items that correlate with performance objectives - and understanding the audience are absolutely critical factors that directly impact the final learning solution.

The AECT breaks down design into four sub-domains:

  • Instructional Systems Design
  • Message Design
  • Instructional Strategies
  • Learner Characteristics

For complete details of the AECT standards, view the Initial and Advanced Standards.

The following content documents my competencies in these areas.

1.1 - Instructional Systems Design

Instructional Systems Design refers to the organized procedure commonly referred to as ADDIE - the analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation of instruction.

Instructional Systems Design is an iterative process, in that the outputs in one phase impact not only subsequent phases but can also prompt a revisit to a previous phase. Additionally, the procedure is not necessarily linear, although every step is essential.

Virtual Store Design Report (ID Project & Report course)
In this course, I created a multimedia instructional program to train newly hired retail associates on their job expectations for the first 30 days of hire. The multimedia program is a virtual store simulation in which the learner can interact with elements in the store, learning various aspects of his/her job, all while controlling the pace and flow of instruction. This document outlines all the elements of the design process, including:

  • Needs Assessment
  • Goal Statement
  • Instructional Analysis
  • Learner Analysis
  • Context Analysis
  • Objectives & Assessment Items
  • Instructional Strategy
  • Planned Content Presentation

Multimedia Storyboard (Digital Audio course)
I created this storyboard to define all the screens and components that I planned to include in the final project for the Digital Audio course. This planning document was an extremely useful tool because it provided the roadmap that would guide the entire development process.

Mapping of Instructional Objectives to Learning Objects (ID Project & Report course)
Because the Virtual Store project in the ID Project & Report course was fairly complex in terms of the numerous reusable learning objects that I created in Flash, I created this spreadsheet to ensure that every learning objective was paired with at least one Flash learning object. This helped ensure that my instructional strategy and project plan covered every learning objective during the design process. It also helped ensure that each learning objective was covered in the development process and resulting final product.

CRM Design Report (My Professional Setting)
In my professional setting, I collaborated with a team of Instructional Designers to create this detailed design report. This document uses a different layout and format than what is used in the ITMA program; however the purpose is the same - to create a clear instructional strategy and plan to be executed during the development phase.

1.2 - Message Design

Message Design deals with how the message will be physically formed.

Using Graphics to Fulfill an Instructional Need (Graphic Design course)
In this particular assignment, I planned a facilitated learning session in which sales representatives are taught to consistently follow the company's sales principles in every customer scenario. This document outlines the goal and strategy of the lesson, with emphasis on the graphics required to deliver the appropriate messaging, both in terms of proper learning contexts and in terms of the verbiage required by corporate mandates. The document focuses on the graphics that were needed for the presentation, their intended purpose, and how they were sourced.

Virtual Store Audio Script (ID Project & Report course)
This is an informal document that I used to plan the audio scripts that would be used with each screen in the Virtual Store multimedia program. This extra step of planning as part of the design process proved to be invaluable during the development process.

Design Principles (Graphic Design course)
This is a PowerPoint presentation that provides examples of some fundamental graphic design principles. I feel this presentation fits within the Message Design competency because the content of the presentation illustrates how graphic design principles impact the message that is communicated.

E-Learning Storyboard (My professional setting)
In my professional setting, I created this storyboard prior to the multimedia development process. The storyboard outlines all the modules and screens that were to be contained in the computer-based training on the Acceptable Use Policy. Once the original design of the course was complete, this planning document was a crucial step for keeping the development on track. I include this document here because it maps out the design of the message that will be communicated throughout the e-learning program.

Basics in IT Security: Passwords (My professional setting)
This is a simple PowerPoint presentation that I made to a small panel of professionals at a local community college. Due to the purpose of the presentation and specified requirements for using limited graphics, the presentation is relatively simple; yet I include it here because it demonstrates the result of purposeful planning and message design.

1.3 - Instructional Strategies

The instructional strategy defines what events and activities will occur within a learning solution and the order in which they will occur.

Instructional Strategy (Instructional Design course)
In this course, I created an instructor-led course that helps Customer Service associates learn what self-service options are available to our customers on our website, as well as how to promote those options to our customers. This document provides details of the instructional strategy that I designed in order to make this an effective learning experience.

1.4 - Learner Characteristics

The effectiveness of a learning solution can be impacted by the background and experiences of the learners. Learner characteristics define the audience who will be experiencing the learning solution.

Multimedia Design Document (Multimedia Authoring course)
In this course, I created a multimedia instructional program intended to train call center associates on the use of an online payroll and workforce planning application. This design document includes all the planning that went into the design of the product before development could begin. The document contains all the elements of the instructional design process. The learner analysis is in Section 4, beginning on page 5.

Seels, B. B., & Richey, R. C. (1994). Instructional technology: The definition and domains of the field. Washington, DC: Association for Educational Communications and Technology.