Knowing something is one thing, but teaching the same thing to a huge number of people varying in age, skills, and language is quite another. Understanding the learners and planning a course that will give them the best outcomes is not easy. Instructional designers are professionals who spend time studying the nitty-gritty of the learner’s mind and how to make a course effective. These professionals play a very crucial role in developing an eLearning course.

Learn more about the role of instructional designers or instructional design companies in developing efficient and result-yielding courses.

In this article, we will learn about the instructional designer’s role in creating impactful training experiences.

Who is and is not an instructional designer?

You are not alone who thought instructional designers are instructors or graphic designers. Most people new to the learning industry go through this phase of figuring out the difference between two professionals since responsibilities overlap in this industry.

Instructional designers are people who know the science behind how we learn things and retain information. They develop the backbone of your course. The goal, the method of teaching, the topics to cover, and most importantly, the topics not to cover, are all determined by the instructional designer.

They aren’t UI/ UX designers who will enhance the user experience of your users. But they will certainly impact how easily knowledge is shared with the learners.

They design the framework for your developers and instructors, who can then use their expertise to develop a course that will appear very professional, user-friendly, and easy for learners to understand.

Instructional designers understand the gap in knowledge that a set of learners have. Let’s consider a course developed for new hires. There is certainly a huge gap in knowledge and experience between a freshly graduated student and an employee. How to efficiently fill this gap is what an instructional designer will help you with.

Role of an instructional designer in creating an engaging eLearning experience

Analyzing the learner’s skills and abilities

A lot of research and analysis goes into understanding a group of people. Without knowing where the learners are when it comes to skills and abilities, one cannot proceed with developing an eLearning course for those learners. This research also takes a deep dive into the learning method these individuals prefer. For example, the new generation of learners prefers microcontent and self-paced learning over regular lectures. They also prefer creative assignments over the usual paper presentations. This is what general observation tells us. However, instructional designers go a step further to explore their learning preferences, patterns, and behavior in detail.

Define the learning objective

Without a clear objective, instructors and learners can feel uncertain about the course. To keep the learners motivated, your course should have a clear objective that aligns with the learner’s learning goals. Having a clear objective also helps with the designing and storyboarding stage. It is easier to create a path if you know the destination. Instructional designers will use their knowledge and the research they conducted to determine the objective. If you think defining an objective is a piece of cake, then you are wrong. The objective should aim at filling the knowledge gaps and should also be something the learners would be interested in attaining.

Planning the flow of the course

Once the objective is set, the instructional designer will also determine the flow of activities that would prove to be the most beneficial for your learners. Sometimes, the learners are aware of the topic in concern, so going too deep into the basics is not required. So the instructional designer would decide to skip a few steps toward the goal. It is not uncommon to see people lose sight of the objective in front of them while deciding the course flow. However, these experts are known to create a path that will certainly lead to the objective and is also the most comfortable path for the learners. Any course should avoid contributing to cognitive load. A proper flow will ensure that the learners receive information part by part so that they can grasp everything in the course.


They may not be pro designers who would use color theory while designing the visual elements of the course. Still, they can certainly help you with what element should be used, what should not be used, where it should be placed, what transitions should be used, how much and how few graphic elements should be used, etc. A storyboard is a graphic representation of how the frame should look. This will give your filming crew a better understanding of what is expected from the course videos.

Consulting the experts

Meeting the Subject Matter Experts is crucial to enhancing the course content’s quality. An instructional designer will work with experts in the respective field to decide the course content and how to assess the learners correctly. SMEs are always up to date with what is relevant; hence, they can help you take your course from a 6 or 7 to a 10 in terms of content value.

Determine which multimedia element to use and when

Choosing the right delivery medium at the right time is crucial for creating a high-quality learning experience. Different media formats include videos, podcasts, pdfs, infographics, images, etc. One can get over-excited and use all the media formats simultaneously, overburdening the learner’s brain. With an instructional designer on board, such disasters can be stopped. They will guide your team with when to use a video and when to support that video with a pdf for in-depth knowledge. They will organize all the different content formats in a very aesthetically pleasing way.

Reviewing the course content, structure, and design

Perfection doesn’t come in the first draft. The instructional designers will review the entire plan before you implement it. You need to keep reviewing and re-editing until you get something that can be called perfect.

Bottom Line

Making the course beautiful is great but making it easy for users to grasp and have a good time educating themselves is what you need a professional instructional designer for. An instructional designer will give you a blueprint of things that need to be done in order to achieve efficiency in your course. This does not undermine the need for a good developer and graphic designer. Each of them has its own part to play.