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Isn’t It Time You Let Go of Outdated Instructional Design Models?

You need to get one thing straight: training doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, training is so uncomplicated that it would make your head spin if you knew how simple it could really be. Do yourself a favor; let go of the past and everything you ever learned about how important it is to embrace new methods of training.


As an instructional designer it’s up to you to come up with a training experience that is effective, efficient, and appealing. No problem, right? It shouldn’t be, but sometimes it seems almost impossible to keep up with ever-changing modules while maintaining the deliverance of effective learning systems. We’ve learned that in order for our instructional design to be successful, we must keep up with current trends in a rapidly changing eLearning world.

Guess what? Nothing could be further from the truth. That’s right, and this is exactly the outdated instructional design standard of thinking that you need to let go of. Trying to incorporate “agile methods” of instructional design in the modern day and age is honestly just making things a lot more complicated than they need to be.

It’s not like all instructional designers haven’t embraced these methods at some point. They tend to work while providing a great way to make training more effective. The thing is we end up spending a lot more time than we should learning the “newest” and “best” instructional design models when we should really be focusing on providing more value to our business.

It’s no one’s fault. We’re wired to think this way. Training professionals will quickly incorporate new speculative theories while putting the business on the back burner. Tell me though, as a training professional, have you ever thought about getting back to the basics?

There’s something to be said about a mind that isn’t full of struggling to keep up with outdated instructional design methods. It’s fresh. It’s free from the idea of what should be relevant and instead full of ideas that could actually work.


You know how easy it is to get caught up in all the amazing things that the instructional design models are purported to do. The thing is they don’t make your life any easier, and getting back to basics could not only save you time, but add immense value to your business as well.

While it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks, it’s definitely not impossible. You know it’s time to let go of these outdated methods, but where exactly do you begin? We’ve outlined a few tips to help you let go of outdated models and step into the modern world of simplified instructional design:

1. Keep It Simple

Your learners aren’t going to stay focused on the training you provide when it’s full of a bunch of jargon they don’t understand. While the instructional design methods you’re used to preparing can definitely work, they’re often full of things that will bore your audience and quickly make them lose interest.

When you’re preparing your models, remember not to have too much going on in what you’re presenting. The less clutter, the more your audience will engage. Use images that convey the point you’re trying to make rather than relying on abstract images that give your audience too much to think about. When you add commentary make sure you keep things straightforward and don’t rely on a technical terminology that will quickly make your audience lose interest.

The design models you’re used to might guide you to do otherwise, but remember that letting go of these outdated versions of instruction is exactly what you’re striving to do. Keeping things simple is not only effective, but absolutely necessary to make sure your audience stays interested.

2. Don’t Overdo Things

As someone committed to instructional design, you probably know just how easy it is to go overboard with all the information you’re looking to convey. What this often does however, is takes away from the value of the business by taking away valuable time and resources.

Overdoing your instructional design makes it easy to miss other important aspects of your business, which one of the main reasons to let go of the outdated models in the first place. Be creative, but not at the sake of overdoing it. Remember that simplicity is best and that your audience (and business) will benefit from not going overboard on time and cost.

3. Keep Your Audience In Mind

You know that you’re creating instructional design for a specific audience, but it’s often easy to lose sight of your learners when following rigid design models. Your learning courses will not be successful if you forget who your audience is, so this is something extremely important to keep in mind. It is them, not the outline you’re following, that will determine if your learning courses are a success or failure.

Different audiences have different needs and the outdated instructional design methods you’ve used for ages may not fit each and every type of learner. When adding new, innovative techniques, be sure to keep in mind exactly what the needs of your current audience are rather than relying on a model that is generically designed to fit “everyone.”

The only constant is change, and in a rapidly changing business world it makes sense to embrace new ideas of presenting information to your learners. When you get past the notion that you must adhere to the instructional design methods you’ve always used, you make the room to not only add value to your business, but keep your audience engaged through new ways of thinking.

Just because something worked in the past, doesn’t mean it is always going to fit your present needs. Embrace new ways of presenting your learning material and you’ll find that not everything, especially when it comes to eLearning, is always set in stone.

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