Instructional Systems Design, also known as ISD, is a systematic approach to creating effective courses. ISD is both a science and an art-a science because it is based on learning theories, and an art because of the creativity involved in the design process. Furthermore, ISD is a tool that guides the structure of any course and promotes meaningful and active learning.
According to a renowned researcher and missionary, M. David Merrill, instructional design is the process of creating learning experiences that makes the acquisition of skill more appealing, effective, and efficient.
ISD follows standards similar to curriculum design; the chief difference being that ISD is mainly practiced in the workplace and concentrates on the how, while curriculum design applies to academic settings and concentrates on the why.
Even though there are many different approaches to designing courses, experienced instructional designers typically combine a variety of methods and incorporate technology and multimedia to enhance instruction.
Instructional designers are interested in knowing how people learn and retain information. According to Marc Rosenberg, a leader in the world of ISD training, performance is ultimately more important than training. There are many factors involved in creating eLearning materials that enable learners to retain information and, more importantly, transfer their newly acquired knowledge and skills to their jobs.
To people new to the field, ISD may appear easy. In reality, however, creating effective courses is rather complex. Skilled instructional designers focus on creating learning solutions that bring value to the organization by managing a project’s time and cost. The success of their learning solution is measured by the performance improvement of their learners.