In the development phase of instructional design your project actually begins to take shape. No longer are you simply thinking about what should be done but are actually creating instructional materials…presentations, handouts, assessments, etc. that will be used during professional development or training. Effective instruction is both accessible and supportive of the overall design plan (Larson, 2014).
Effective instruction is accessible “technically, physically, and cognitively” (Larson, 2014, p. 208). Technical and physical accessibility may include considerations such as how learners will travel to a face-to-face training, internet speed available for a webinar, and limitations of learners such as physical disabilities, colorblindness, hearing impairments, etc.
Instruction that effectively addresses cognitive accessibility will use principles of organization and repetition (Larson, 2014). Carefully considering where learners are, cognitively speaking, before training begins is essential to organizing instruction and providing the necessary scaffolding. Instruction must follow a pattern that is in line with the objectives. Organizational charts or concept maps (presented to or developed by learners as a part of instruction) will help learners make cognitive sense of information, ideas, or concepts in relation to one another and in relation to previous knowledge and understanding. Repetition is provided by repeating important “take home messages” and can be accomplished subtly using different media: text, auditory, visual or a combination (Larson, 2014).
Visual design of learning materials is very important. Poor design can cause learners to feel overwhelmed, confused, frustrated or angry which will quickly derail training or development. Visual design includes choices about the learner’s visual field that pertain to cognitive load. “To address the needs of (field dependent) learners, the visual field must contain only pertinent information arranged in a way that makes communication meaningful” (Larson, 2014, p. 213). Adhering to some basic principles of graphic design can help to create such visuals. The acronym C.A.R.P. is useful when creating visual aspects of instruction. C stands for contrast, A for alignment, R for repetition, and P for proximity. A short lesson in the use of these basic principles will make good design look and feel exceptional. Just as when meeting new people, first impressions last. Making a good visual first impression will ensure that learners are as open to your message as possible.
Larson, M.B. (2014). Streamlined ID: A practical guide to instructional design. New Your: Routledge.