The power of human-centered instructional design


You develop your e-learning for your student, not for yourself. Human-centered instructional design can help enormously with that. This blog tells you why!

We often develop e-learning based on knowledge, passion, insights, or a transformation that we have experienced ourselves. We are going to work with enthusiasm and are developing an e-learning that we are sure future students will be extremely enthusiastic about.

But then sales are disappointing. The responses may not be as enthusiastic as you expected or hoped. And you're starting to doubt whether your target group is really waiting for your e-learning.

How is that possible? Because you developed the e-learning with a certain end result in mind instead of with your student in mind.

Have you done thorough preliminary research? Do you have 100% clear for yourself what your target group needs, how they want to receive information, how they prefer to learn, how much guidance they need, and how much they want to spend for this? Not yet?

Then consider delving into human-centered instructional design.

What is human-centered instructional design?

Human-centered instructional design is a process that starts with the people for whom you design your e-learning and ends with an e-learning that is tailored to meet the specific needs of your target group.

With human-centered design, a deep empathy with the people you design for is key. Then you will continue to generate ideas; develop prototypes; and finally, of course, test and share your innovation e-learning.

Human-centered design consists of three phases.

In the inspiration phase you'll learn directly about and from the people you design for, as you delve into their lives and better understand their needs. In the idea phase you will discover the options for your design and create a prototype of your e-learning. In the implementation phase, your idea really comes to life and you can start testing the prototype of your e-learning.

Why is it a good idea to develop e-learning according to the principles of human-centered instructional design?

If you develop your e-learning with a focus on your target group and include them in the development process, it is much more likely that your e-learning exactly meets the needs of your student, the engagement is much higher and the learning outcome is therefore much better and longer lasting. In addition, your e-learning also sells much better ;-)

How do I use human centered instructional design in my e-learning?

Inspiration phase

Get to know your student

  • Have your students participated in an e-learning before? What did they like about that, and what not? What appealed to them and where did they drop out?
  • Discover what your student wants out of the e-learning: what are they doing it for? What does this mean for them? What value do they give to this result?

Note: of course, you can “come up with” all of this yourself, but it is much more effective to actually talk to your target group; what words do they use? What emotions do they show?

How does your student prefer to learn?

  • How does your student prefer to learn? At what times, places, and in what format (video, image, text, audio, etc.)
  • Do you only have national students or also international students?

Idea phase

Reverse the process of setting learning goals

We often start developing an e-learning by determining the learning objectives that we, the developers, come up with for our students.

In human-centered instructional design, we will reverse this: we will first discover what goals our students want to achieve and then, based on these goals, we will specify what knowledge and skills we will add to the e-learning.

Implementation phase
Just test!

Once you've created a blueprint for your e-learning, you can start testing! You really don't have to finish the entire e-learning to be able to ask for feedback from your target group anyway.

This is it time to fine-tune your e-learning. Share your prototype with your target group and ask them critical questions. If you notice that they get stuck at some point in your e-learning, you know that some extra adjustment is needed. Be thankful for all the feedback you receive - even if it can hurt a little bit sometimes ;-).

Your target group is doing you a huge favor and their feedback ensures that your e-learning will ultimately be a fantastic success!

Are you curious about how you can apply human-centered instructional design in your e-learning? Send us a chat message!

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