Seven Instructional Design Principles for Better Training & Development


Instructional design was created during World War II for the military. Since then, curriculum design in organizations around the world has become a profession of its own. With the help of instructional design, organizations – small or large – can create effective instructional material. Organizations can identify gaps in knowledge, attitudes, and skills in employees and analyze their needs and the developing learning material they require.

The efficiency of the training and development program of an organization can be determined by how well the instructional design created it. So, for organizations to be able to develop better training and development courses for their employees, the following are seven instructional design principles they must take into consideration. These instructional designs are based on Robert Gagne’s Principles of Instruction.  These principles are one of the many academic research theories incorporated into the globally proven learning design system:  ID9 Intelligent Design.

Seven Instructional Design Principles

Robert Gagne was an American educational psychologist who made significant contribution to the development of the science of instruction in the mid-twentieth century. He believed that there were patterns in how people process information and proposed a framework that referred to each of the elements needed for effective learning, which organizations can apply for better training and development. Here are seven of his principles:

 1. Gain Attention

The most crucial part when it comes to providing the learners with better training and development is being able to engage them throughout the learning experience. The instructional design of your training and development program should be highly engaging and make the learner disengage from other tasks and focus their attention solely on the training material.

Following are some ways you can ensure the learners stay engaged throughout the training and development program:

  • Share and unexpected fact or statistic
  • Pose thought-provoking questions
  • Offer an activity that involves learners in the training and development process

Some ways to gain the attention of the learners effectively are:

  • Include a video clip: adding video clips to your instructional design can help engage your learners on both – an auditory and visual level.
  • Add a survey question: you can add a survey question to gain the learner’s attention. For example, use a survey question such as “What skill sets do you hope to achieve from this training and development program?”


 2. Ensure Learners Are Aware of the Objectives

An excellent way of making a better training and development program with your instructional design is by communicating the objects with your learners. This way, the learners are aware of what to expect from the course and how it can be beneficial for them.

You can do so by outlining each step of the training and development course and mentioning the goals and objectives of these steps. Furthermore, ensure your learners are aware of the expected standard of their performance and what a successful outcome of the training and development program looks like.


 3. Stimulate Recall of Prior Learning

The instructional design can create a training and development program for your learners by linking the content to the learners’ existing knowledge or skills. This allows the learners to get into each step of the program and materials with confidence. Furthermore, you can include short summaries that describe the knowledge or concepts the learners have already mastered.

For example, the instructional design can add a quiz in the training and development to remind the learners of the knowledge or concepts they already know. This is an excellent way of creating a better training and development program for your learners.


4. Present New Content

In this principle, you provide the learners with new knowledge, information, and skills. A brilliant way to do so is by including relevant images, graphs, videos, tables, and graphics in the training and development course, which helps the learners visualize and understand each concept with more depth.

Following are a few ways to present new content to learners:

  • Build a slide-based course: create power-point presentations to deliver content that includes all the materials for training and development.
  • Create a video course: you can include a training video in the course. For example, you can record yourself delivering a lecture, add images, captions, infographics, and create transition effects through instructional design.

 5. Provide Learning Guidance

The following instructional design principle for better training and development support the learners by providing them with hints on how to learn skills. For example, you can give them examples or coach them on the learning content with the help of resources available.

You can provide learning guidance with resources such as case studies, infographics, job aids, concept maps, and much more in the training and development course.


 6. Produce Performance

By the time you apply the sixth instructional design to your training and development program, the learners must be able to demonstrate or communicate the knowledge and skills they have acquired from the program. The training and development program must include interactive elements that the learners can use to practice their knowledge.


 7. Provide Feedback

The seventh instructional design principle for better training and development is to provide feedback immediately to the learners once they have demonstrated their knowledge and skills. With positive feedback, the learner becomes aware of where they are doing well, and constructive feedback or advice can help them recognize where they lack and what obstacles they need to overcome.

The seven instructional design principles mentioned above can help you provide your employees with better training and development.   Gagne originally created 9 Events of Instruction and we will devote a separate blog article later to number eight, Assessing the performance and number nine, Enhancing Retention and Transfer.  These last two steps are the most ignored steps in professional learning and development, so we will devote an entire article to those.  Stay Tuned!

If you wish to enhance your training programs and e-Learning methods, using a globally proven learning design system that can help increase your corporate training programs and create more meaningful experiences for the employees.

Contact us now if you wish to find out more about ID9 Intelligent Design. Without a doubt, writing and creating your learning programs using ID9 Intelligent Design will be beneficial for your training programs!