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Instructional design is a subject studied by curriculum specialists, teachers and administrators. Typically offered at the post-baccalaureate or graduate level, instructional design classes cover aspects of learning theory and practical skills that can be used in the classroom. Keep reading to find out more.
Instructional designers, also referred to as curriculum specialists, plan curricula for all levels of education and learning. Instructional design courses are offered at the graduate level at many colleges and universities, both on campus and online. These courses are typically designed for teachers, curriculum developers and corporate trainers. Planning curricula, choosing materials and incorporating technology into lesson planning are just some of the topics covered in instructional design classes. Students also become familiar with theories of learning and teaching strategies for students at all levels.
Common topics in instructional design courses might include:
Instructional design professionals study theories of learning and identify which learning theory applies to a course's specific subject and intended audience. In this course, students review a variety of theories and discuss how to apply theory in the design of a course curriculum. This required course is typically completed in the first semester of graduate study.
Instructional design professionals determine the approach and manner for delivering instruction. In this course students take the first step by studying instruction methods. Learning methods studied in this course include drills, tutorials, interactive video, simulation, tutoring systems, games, computer-based instruction, testing and distance learning methods. This introductory course is often taken in the first semester of study.
Students in this class are exposed to many types of course materials. Selecting the right materials, including textbooks and non-print materials, is the focus of this class. Students learn to select materials based on cost, quality, availability and other factors. This course may be completed in the first semester of a graduate instructional design program.
Designing the curriculum for a course is a process of applying learning theory, determining proper teaching methods and then analyzing the design's effectiveness. This course includes study of the design process and procedures for assessing learning needs for the course subject and audience. This course may be a 2-semester course in some advanced degree programs.
In this advanced course, students learn to develop their own computer-based and multimedia education materials. This course includes an overview of the production of interactive computer activities and short animations used for education and training purposes. This course is typically taken in the second semester or later in a graduate program.
Students study the teaching techniques that work best with adult students. Communication with adult students is the main focus of the course. Techniques taught include facilitating discussion, role playing, games and case studies. Students will examine the challenges of teaching adult students and why the skills that work well with younger learners must be altered in order to be successful with adult students.