Instructional Design For Online Classes


Goal: Learn more about instructional design for online learning.

Instructional Design is a systematic process used to guide the development and testing of high quality instructional materials. There are many Instructional Design models and all have their strengths and weaknesses. One of the weaknesses of most Instructional Design models is that they are presented in the abstract, separated from actual use. No matter what Instructional Design model an Instructional Designer begins with, over time each Instructional Designer develops their own approach, and their own toolkit of Instructional Design techniques.   – Brian Newberry

ADDIE Instructional Design Model

Horton’s Design Quickly and Reliably Eleven Step Instructional Design Process

  • Identify your underlying goal
  • Analyze learners’ needs and abilities (Add an analysis of content and instructor needs/abilities/preferences.)
  • Identify what to teach
  • Set learning objectives
  • Identify prerequisites
  • Pick the approach to meet each objective
  • Decide the teaching sequence of your objectives
  • Create objects to accomplish objectives
  • Create tests (Add other methods to determine whether or not objectives are met as appropriate.)
  • Select learning activities
  • Choose Media (Add a discussion of activity structures and interactions.)
For more information about instructional design models, here’s an overview of Instructional Design Models and Methods from Instructional Design Central.

In this set of activities you will be working either individually or in a small team of your choice to conduct an analysis for developing an online class. This will be a quasi-simulation in which you will develop a course plan using the 11 instructional design steps presented in chapter 1 of the text (Design Quickly and Reliably). Create a blog post to discuss your process so far.

My Project

I’ll be conducting an analysis for developing an online version of Library 100: Introduction to Library Research. This is an exciting proposition for me because I’ve long considered teaching the course online but was never quite sure how to make the transition from F2F to online. Until I started taking ETEC courses here at CSUSB I had no idea how to go about it. Now I understand the importance of characteristics, presences, interactions, motivation, media and accessibility in e-learning. I know I must consider the content, the learner, and the instructor in all these areas. I see the usefulness of having design models such as ADDIE and a step-by-step process such as Design Quickly and Reliably as well as using best practices checklists such as Quality Matters. I’m glad I have this opportunity to take what I’ve absorbed and do something that connects it to my role as a librarian at Cerritos College.

In our ETEC 674 text, The Power of eLearning, Waterhouse (2005, pg. 23) identifies six steps for getting started with eLearning. These steps helped me create an overview of this analysis project.

  • Step One: Ask Yourself Why
    The ability to conduct research is an essential foundation for college success. The Cerritos college library offers a research methods class that typically reaches only a handful of students each semester due to the F2F format. In the past, several librarians have experimented with offering a section of the course online with disappointing results. The completion rate was much lower than the F2F classes. As a result it has not been offered online for several years. I would like to develop an online course that will offer content in such a way to keep students interested and motivated.
  • Step Two: Make a Commitment
    I have been wary of teaching this course online but I’m committed to making this course more widely available. Online sections will reach distance students who never come to campus and will give them the same opportunity to learn this essential foundation of college success. I feel confident I can now undertake this endeavor. I’ve acquired much new knowledge about eLearning theories, philosophies, and methods that will be useful in creating this course. But more importantly I now understand the need for and usefulness of analysis before jumping into design and development. To tell you the truth, I’m not much of a planner or very analytical. I’m more the “just do it” type. So this will be a new experience for me.
  • Step Three: Develop a New Vision for Your Course and How You Teach
    I want to make my online Library Research class as interactive and meaningful as possible. I want to present the class as a Community of Inquiry in which the students are motivated to learn, enjoy active learning activities, engage in interesting discussions with their peers and instructor, and relate what they’re learning to real-life research situations.
  • Step Four: Determine the Resources Available to You
    Cerritos College uses the Sakai LMS and the library has Camtasia, LibGuides, and several other production programs available. The Cerritos College Center for Teaching Excellence offers workshops on a variety of products, programs, and best practices. Last but not least Cerritos has a robust Media Division to help in creating professional quality media in a variety of formats.
  • Step Five: Acquire New Technology Skills and Develop New Instructional Methods
    I’ve already learned how to use a variety of new media in my courses here at CSUSB. In addition I’ve been introduced to many more through the blog posts of my classmates.
  • Step Six: Plan
    That’s what this project is all about. I am planning and conducting an analysis for the development of a great online version of Library 100!

The Plan

In his Session Four lecture, Professor Newberry notes that there are two levels of development to think about when structuring an online class. It’s important to start with the course level analysis such as objectives, delivery methods, assessment methods, etc. The activity level analysis follows. Will I use lectures, presentations, discussions? Which technologies will work best? I’ll use these and other considerations presented by Professor Newbery in his lecture as well as Horton’s (2012, pg. 8) Design Quickly and Reliably Eleven Step Process to help me outline my plan. Moore’s (1989) Content-Instructor-Student characteristics and interactions will also be analyzed in order to determine which teaching and learning modalities that may lead to best possible outcome.


Horton, W. (2012). E-learning by design. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons.

Moore, M.G. (1989). Three types of interaction. Editorial. Retrieved from

Newberry, B. (2015). Session Four Lecture. [Word document]. Retrieved from CSUSB Blackboard ETEC 541.

Waterhouse, S. (2005). The power of eLearning: The essential guide for teaching in the digital age. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.