Importance of Instructional Design?

Surely there is a simple answer out there for this. My Executive Director wants me to develop a one-pager on the importance of instructional design to present to our SMEs. I've scoured the internet, the ATD site, and here and can't seem to find anything that simply states the importance of instructional design. I know this is a question every instructional designer has encountered so surely there's a simple document or infographic already developed. Right? I suppose I could create something of my own, but I'm pressed for time and would like to avoid any duplication of effort. 


15 Replies
Bob S

Best quickie suggestion I can think of is to create something like this....

  • Beginning 10% of page -  2-3 sentence describing ID in business-benefit terms
  • Next 50% - Complex policy/procedure/process written in geek-speak or SME-centric language
  • Next 30% - Ultra-clean example of same content explained in clear, precise manner. Start with simple summary of key concept(s), then simple detail of what's important to know and possibly where to find more info.
  • Last 10% -  Pay-off statement in business speak again challenging decision makers as to the value (or loss of value!!!) of having workforce able to embrace and act upon important concepts such as the one above.
David Ward

Wasn't it Benjamin Franklin who said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”? This adage applies to instructional design. I developed a lesson on Instructional Design Documentation for a practicum I teach. It's specific to the documentation rather than to ID in general but the slides on the risks and rewards associated with ID documentation might have some info that would be useful for your paper.

Adele Sommers

Hello, Amanda! 

I think your question is on point and I agree that there seems to be a dearth of "short and sweet" descriptions regarding the purpose of ISD!

Here's a link to a one-page ISD overview I put together for my own clients and SMEs. Perhaps it will be useful in responding to your Director's request.


Cary Glenn

Would you build a house without a set of plans and just let the carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and other trades go at it? Experts, unless they have training in education, often suffer from "Expert Blind Spot" and are unable to access or articulate a large amount of their knowledge. The ID is there to put the SME's knowledge into a usable form and develop activities to help turn training events into learning events.

Rachel Barnum

Does it need to be something super formal?

If I were doing this for my job, I would start out with examples.

"Have you ever sat through a training session where the presenter read straight from a PowerPoint that may have well been copied and pasted from a college text book? Or how about an e-learning course where you simply read a bunch of text then had to click next?

Instructional design is here to make those learning experiences better and actually effective..."

I love Adele's sheet as well! 

Mike Delaney

May want to also add that seasoned ISD's should know if training is actually required. Sometimes a simple job aid will suffice in lieu of a full-blown eLearning or facilitator-led course. I think that is probably the most important thing. Once the need has been verified through proper analysis, then you can move on to the fun stuff.



Stefaniada Voichita

Hi there, I know this post is old, but I am wondering if there is anything anyone has about the Instructional design and User experience combined approach to designing learning material. I need to write a report for work and there is tons of material out there but for each separately. So, it gets quite daunting. Any suggestions? Many thanks in advance. Stef

Stefaniada Voichita

HI Allison, Thanks for this but it is not really what i need and it talks about UI and UX. I need something on the topic of  combining the forces of instructional Design (ID) and User experience (UX). What are both separately and how they can complement each other, best practices to do that, maybe same example, to improve learning and provide a better experience to users. Thanks. Stef