Is eLearning the Same as Instructional Design?
I’ve been hearing the terms interchangeably lately and, while I didn’t invent the terms, I can tell you eLearning is only one piece of a much bigger puzzle. Truth be told, both eLearning and instructional design are in the realm of Learning and Development, or education, to make it simple.
What Are the Differences?
Instructional design is the whole process. The whole enchilada of creating training materials and testing them from creation to completion. Now, instructional design traditionally starts with the written element, then moves to visual and kinesthetic elements such as video, eLearning, virtual reality, etc.
Instructional design starts simply. On paper, Word, InDesign or any other application that allows you to write things down. I’m a big proponent of napkins as well. Having your steps written down allows you to create a process, a procedure, or a manual. This means you’ll be able to replicate your steps in the future, whether for training or expansion.
Let’s look at the illustration one more time:
This shows that eLearning is a part of instructional design. It’s a way to convey visual and kinesthetic curriculum to your learners as part of the process, but it’s not the whole of instructional design itself.
Why Write It Down First?
Because truly, unless you’re making an improv movie (which are super fun), you wouldn’t be creating a movie without a script and a storyboard. Same concept goes for instructional design. We, at Miranda Park Learning, always start with the written aspect, and then go with the visual and kinesthetic elements.
The written aspect deserves much respect. Without defining your writing style, voice, approximate words per page, etc., you’ll be left with page after page of disparate copy, rather than a clean, wholistic style of writing.
Can’t I Just Start with eLearning?
As you wish, my friend. But ask yourself if your content is replicable. How will you be able to update it in the future when your materials need revamping? Sure, you can insert slides in your eLearning module. But! having your content written down gives you a great way to easily browse what needs to be updated.
It also creates a written record of “version 2” of your update. Then, you can go back to your eLearning module and begin the updating of your slides, according to what you have written down.
Or You Can Do It Backwards
Meaning, you can create your eLearning module, and they hire someone like us to trace back the steps on the module to create a written manual for you. While we love helping people with this, do you see how eLearning is Step 2 and the written content is Step 1?
Instructional Design is the motherboard. The whole enchilada whose tortilla, cheese, lettuce, sauce, tomatoes are the different elements of it. eLearning is an excellent part of it (let’s say the cheese :D), but it’s not the whole of it.
Who Are We?
We are Miranda Park Learning, your instructional design services experts. To get started on instructional design for your team, contact Cassy Huidobro at 720-722-9998 or via email at [email protected].
Picture: Illustration created by Miranda Park Learning
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