September 21, 2022

Quick Guide to Instructional Design Templates

The learning and development teams work tirelessly to organize effective training materials and methodologies to ensure that all employees are engaged and involved in improving their skills.

The concept of instructional design has become very popular in developing frameworks for creating learning materials. Instructional design allows for a systematic approach to enhancing training using technology and multimedia.

Know more on the instructional design process and models in this article.

What is Instructional Design?

Simply put, instructional design is a set of strategies and techniques for developing effective learning materials and experiences.

Instructional design analyzes the training needs of an organization by identifying knowledge and skill gaps among learners. It is the process of designing, developing, and delivering various learning materials, which can include online courses, virtual simulations, training manuals, video tutorials, and interactive presentations.

Instructional design models are tools or frameworks that serve as guidelines for organizing appropriate learning methods to achieve instructional goals.

Instructional design process

The instructional design process may include the following steps:

Step 1: Analyze the learning needs of the target audience and your business.

2nd step: Prepare learner profiles highlighting relevant information such as their roles, responsibilities, skills, technical knowledge and training preferences.

Step 3: List the learning objectives based on the analysis above and the expected outcomes at the end of the training.

Step 4: Decide and finalize course design approach and methodology. Could it be a mix of videos and games? Could it be virtual reality? Would it be a presentation?

Step 5: Prepare storyboards. This step is important to organize the content and identify its flow throughout the course.

Step 6: Build a prototype and run a pilot to test its effectiveness.

Step 7: Get started and regularly evaluate its effectiveness.

Benefits of Using an Instructional Design Template

All instructional design models have one thing in common: an understanding of how to most effectively deliver training courses to learners. They are based on theories about how people learn, what motivates them to engage in learning and development, and why learners disengage from any training course.

Developers use these theories to design learning materials that motivate learners to engage and participate in their professional learning.

Five Most Popular Instructional Design Templates

1 – The ADDIE model

ADDIE stands for Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate. It’s a five-step process for creating effective learning materials.

Analyze: This step involves gathering sufficient information to understand the learning needs and expectations of the organization.

Design: This step involves the selection of an appropriate teaching strategy, learning objectives, media and delivery methods.

Develop: This stage involves the development of course materials based on the results of the design stage.

Implement: This step consists of deploying the training material to the learners and monitoring their impact.

Assess: This step involves evaluating the training material using feedback, surveys and analysis.

2 – Bloom’s taxonomy

In 1956, Benjamin Bloom created a classification system to organize and define levels of cognitive learning. It was revised in 2001 by Anderson and Krathwohl.

The revised taxonomy classifies cognitive learning into six levels, from simplest to most complex.

This model challenges learners to remember and understand new information and then to apply it, analyze it, and assess its impact. Ultimately, this process aims to enable learners to develop unique solutions to problems.

3 – Successive approximation model (SAM)

The successive approximation model focuses on performance needs and includes agile learning frameworks, which are nonlinear and iterative. It consists of three stages:

Preparation: This step aims to acquire a basic knowledge of the situation.

Iterative design: This stage involves an ongoing process of designing, prototyping, and reviewing to identify ideal solutions.

Iterative development: This stage involves a continuous process of development, implementation and evaluation.

4 – Merrill’s Principles of Instruction

Merrill’s principles of instruction model incorporates five principles of learning:

Task-centered principle: Identify a real-world problem that learners can relate to.

Activation principle: Activate the learner’s knowledge based on their existing knowledge on the subject.

Demonstration principle: Demonstrate knowledge using tools such as multimedia.

Principle of application: Apply newly acquired knowledge and learn from mistakes.

Integration principle: Integrate knowledge into learners’ lives using discussion and reflection.

5 – Gagné’s nine training events

Gagné’s nine instructional events use the behaviorist approach to address various learning conditions. Based on this theory, the nine events that play an important role in the learning process include:

  • Capture the attention of learners.
  • Highlight and inform learners of the training objectives.
  • Stimulate recall of prior learning by discussing past experiences.
  • Present learning content to learners in an easy-to-understand manner.
  • Provide learning guidance to learners using tutorials, infographics, case examples, etc.
  • Encourage performance through activities that allow learners to recall, use and evaluate newly acquired knowledge.
  • Provide feedback on learner performance.
  • Evaluate performance against expected results.
  • Improve retention and transfer to employment.

How do I choose an instructional design model?

Three factors influence an organization in choosing the most appropriate instructional design model, as listed below:

  1. The capacity of the organization: The first factor that would drive the decision on the ideal instructional design model is the scope of the project, the time and the budget of the organization.
  2. Global understanding: Lack of knowledge of market trends limits learning and development teams in choosing the most relevant instructional design model for their organization. Therefore, a thorough understanding of the available models will provide the team with the necessary information.
  3. Focus on empathy: Empathy for the learners who will ultimately use the instructional material is the final critical factor that helps the organization choose the appropriate instructional design model. Human-centered training materials ensure maximum learner engagement and participation.


How different learners acquire and retain new information is a complex and multifaceted issue. There is no one right answer. This is why there are several instructional design models in the industry.

Basically, models can be systematic (linear) or cognitive (non-linear). A thorough knowledge of the different types of instructional design models will allow organizations to meet the challenge of choosing the best one for their employees.