Instructional design: definition, phases, models, and advantages

Instructional design proposes a structuring of the learning process intending to make it more efficient for the learner.  This methodology...
11 January 2024

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Instructional design: definition, phases, models, and advantages

Instructional design proposes a structuring of the learning process intending to make it more efficient for the learner. 

This methodology seamlessly incorporates Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to expand the options for creating instructional materials that stimulate students.

Instructional design focuses on determining what to teach and the best way for students to assimilate and consolidate knowledge. 

If you want to delve into what it is, its phases, applicable models, or the advantages it can provide, keep reading.

What is Instructional Design?

Instructional design is a learning methodology focused on providing resources, content, and educational experiences to create effective, practical, and interesting learning environments for students. The integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in education facilitates resource optimization and the application of instructional design dynamics oriented towards:

  • Analyzing learning and assessment needs.
  • Defining objectives for students.
  • Selecting the most suitable methodologies.
  • Developing content and activities considering the educational and life context.
Instructional design: definition, phases, models, and advantages

Some theorists in learning psychology consider that instructional design emerged from the combination of behaviorist psychology, advocating learning through response, and systems engineering applied to industrial design. 

In any case, this working dynamic considers external and internal interactions to propose effective learning, adapting content to the real educational context.

Process of Instructional Design

To discuss the instructional design process, we will base it on the model known by the acronym ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation), a generic model. The 5 stages it comprises are listed below.


Helps determine the objectives of the program or training course based on distinctive features of the learners, such as language of communication, age, profession, academic level, etc.


Involves designing, based on all the information collected in the analysis phase, a roadmap to achieve the pre-established objectives. 

Methods to be used, learning milestones, etc., must be outlined.

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Involves creating content, materials, and selecting resources. If the program is to be delivered online, consider providing tools to students to empower them with the necessary autonomy.


Focuses on implementing the course and ensuring that trainers and instructors become familiar with the processes. 

To facilitate e-learning, you can use Learning Management Systems (LMS), software specially designed to manage learning.


Evaluation verifies if students have achieved the intended objectives

Continuous assessment serves as a tool for supporting the student, improving learning process results.

Instructional design is a structured methodology

Other instructional design models

As mentioned earlier, there are other instructional design models. 

In the following sections, we present some of the most commonly used.


The 4C/ID (Four Component Instructional Design) model favors learning by doing over traditional learning by telling. 

The goal is to acquire reflective expert knowledge to apply it effectively and efficiently in new contexts. This model consists of 4 components:

  1. Decompose skills into different parts to address them until building the necessary knowledge.
  2. Analyze the required skills and the knowledge needed to develop them.
  3. Select instructional materials.
  4. Configure the educational strategy.


The ASSURE model is another instructional design variant developed in 6 phases, forming its English acronym:

  1. Analyze: Characteristics of students are analyzed.
  2. State: Objectives that students must achieve are set.
  3. Select: Training methods, communication channels, distribution media for instructional materials, etc., are designed.
  4. Utilize: Selected tools from the previous phase are used.
  5. Require: The students’ active participation is requested to make them the main actor in their learning.
  6. Evaluate: Effective follow-up of results through necessary reviews and evaluations is implemented.

Merrill’s principles

This instructional design model consists of 5 interconnected principles to achieve an effective educational process:

  1. Structure the training program into tasks and/or propose real problem-solving scenarios to foster a practical sense.
  2. Activate the student’s knowledge to facilitate the learning of new skills.
  3. Practical demonstration of learning to stimulate students.
  4. Application of acquired skills and competencies.
  5. Integration of knowledge into daily life to consolidate learning.

Gagné model

The Gagné model focuses on the student’s reception of information through stimuli that encourage attention, motivation, and participation. 

This dynamic involves the application of 9 events:

  1. Capture the student’s attention.
  2. Communicate learning objectives.
  3. Stimulate students’ prior knowledge to put them at the service of training.
  4. Present resources and content.
  5. Guide and assist students in instruction.
  6. Check the performance of activities.
  7. Incorporate a feedback system that strengthens commitment.
  8. Evaluate performance.
  9. Promote knowledge retention and transfer.
Instructional design focuses on determining what to teach

Advantages of Instructional Design

Instructional design offers interesting advantages to achieve the best results in your training cycles. 

We have compiled its most significant advantages in the following list:

  • Harnesses the learner’s prior learning experiences, providing useful resources to better assimilate new knowledge.
  • Takes into account the learner’s circumstances to encourage motivation and an active role in their own learning.
  • Boosts the student’s desire to learn by demonstrating the application of knowledge in real life.
  • Allows leveraging all the benefits of ICTs in education by diversifying materials and making them more appealing to new generations.

If you wish to incorporate instructional design into your online training programs, our proctoring plans help create respectful and secure environments for your remote assessments and supervision. 

Request a free demo to discover practical, innovative, and effective solutions to enhance your educational strategies.

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