Instructional Design for Online Training: Top 5 Approaches


An engaging learning experience requires the role of both instructor and learner. Learning becomes more effective when it is engaging and immersive. This is why in a traditional classroom learning, the trainer interacts with the learners as much as possible to capture their attention and keep them focused. This same methodology can be applied to self-paced online training courses to keep the trainees understand the concepts and upskill themselves on their terms. With that being said, training materials need to be revised and adapted to fulfill the above objective.

However, this process is easier said than done as the entire learning resource needs to be reshaped, so that the learners can retain and digest the information accurately. Here’s when instructional designing comes into play. Be it redesigning of existing training curriculum, developing an entire course, or creating training materials with this procedure, these needs are met to produce greater outcomes from a specific group of learners. Various instructional design approaches are used to impart effective online training. These Instructional Design techniques are instrumental in involving the learners emotionally and intellectually. Let’s have a look at these:

  • Adding stories:

It is a challenge to keep the learners engaged for the instructional designs. Story-based learning breaks monotony while the learner indulges in a complex training programme. Storytelling has always been a powerful approach which has the potential to captivate the minds and creates an engaging, emotional, and perceptual learning experience. It can contextualize training with interesting elements, such as a powerful narrative, interesting, and thought-provoking plots, relatable characters, suspense, and a strong message. This approach is very beneficial for Behavioral training, compliance training, sales training, and leadership training.

  • Adding scenarios:

Adding scenarios will not only gets the learner to get engaged with the information, it also challenges him/her to make the right decision which changes his/her overall behaviour and performances. These interactive scenarios place the learners into real-life situations and obtain behavioural response. They need to solve these challenges using their critical thinking and problem solving skills. It allows them to make decisions, experience consequences, and gain insights from their mistakes in a safe environment. This approach can be used for safety training, onboarding training, and compliance training.

  • Adding microlearning nuggets:

In this approach, just-in-time performance support is provided as a part of corporate training. Adding microlearning nuggets can be used to replace formal physical training sessions and can also assess the development of the learner in real-time. Microlearning reduces heavy distractions, low attention spans, and information overload. It could be a 5-7 minute bit-sized training session with a vital information nugget as a takeaway. This strategy can be utilized to deliver mobile learning during soft skills training and sales training.

  • Adding games:

At present, this is one of the hottest trends in online training programmes. It involves the usage of game-design techniques in a non-game context. It aids in creating an immersive experience which in turn takes the learner engagement to a whole new level with increased knowledge and retention. This approach can be used in safety training, induction and onboarding training, product training, and compliance training.

  • Adding interactive videos:

With adding interactive videos, the learner can visualize a task in action. They can mimic these actions to improve their performance and productivity. They are extremely helpful in setting an example and offer the trainees a step-by-step walkthrough of the entire process. They are also shareable in social platforms and therefore, can be accessed by anyone. They can be embedded in a social media post or even added to a company’s Youtube channel. This approach can be used in product training, compliance training, and sales training.

Apart from these approaches, there are many more which make the online training programme appealing to the learners. However, these are the most common ones used for on-job upskilling purposes. They are flexible and can be customized based on your company’s learning needs. It is essential to keep in mind that the learners should enjoy learning new skills at work and gain knowledge at the same time.

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