General version for the instructional design document
Instructional design is the process of designing a course or learning program. It is also the document that describes the results of the work. The process used may be ISD or another methodology.
This template is a very general version for the instructional design document and will need to be adjusted to match the procedures, formats, requirements of specific organizations. The Topics are consistent with the(TBA) and with TechNotes.
The initial items in the list and the schedule/milestones are often in a separate document called the Project Plan. Some of items are then repeated in the instructional design.
The links below jump to the corresponding text in this document. If the document is quite large the sections might be numbered and a table of contents supplied. I was involved with a project that had a 53-page Training Plan, but this is hardly the norm. Optional sections are in brackets [ ].
You may wish to include a table of contents such as the following. You can also use the TOC feature in Microsoft Word: see About creating a table of contents in Help.
Use Insert > Reference > Index and Tables > Table of Contents tab
Table of Contents (or just Contents)
Basic information; enough so the document can stand alone. This section also serves as an introduction to the document and as such may not have a heading.
Why this training program is needed.
Is there an overall curriculum of which this is a part of? Are there related and pre-requisite courses? Do all participants have computers connected to the intranet?
The requirements can spell out all sorts of things; but what is most important are the program goals from which the objectives will be derived.
The scope section describes the scope of the project. Just as important, the scope section should explicitly spell out what is not in the project. There might be some text as to how not-in-scope items will be supported (if they are).
It can be helpful to list and link to collateral materials. Including this item may also help with uncovering collateral materials.
Usually the ID and/or the project plan will list high-level objectives. More detailed objectives are then developed by the instructional designer and project team. These detailed objectives may not be documented here in the ID document, but instead expressed in the detailed outline.
There may be a high level topic outline that is similar to the objectives list. I do not recommend this as it is better left to a later stage and incorporated in the course outline.
There should always be a list of deliverables!
Instructional strategy is the detail of how the program is to be delivered. It includes delivery triangulation. This is where the creativity and key decisions come in. There may also be controversy as high performance training architecture may be too big a change for some people.
It is usually desirable to have exercises and assignments as part of a learning program. Remember that a core part of adult learning theory is that adults learn by doing.
This section will not spell out the details of the exercises and assignments, but it will generally describe the nature of the exercises and assignments. Just as important, the existence of this section recognizes that there will be exercises and assignments in the scope of the project development.
In a later deliverable the list will be expanded with the necessary details.
Project managers will want milestones and schedules so they can build their Gant charts and other project management materials.
The ISD model calls for evaluation instruments to be designed about halfway thru the process, yet many training projects leave it to the end. Evaluations may be required, and developing them early can be helpful to the quality of the program.
Minimal evaluation would include one or more learning checks and at least a Level 1 (happy faces) evaluation and feedback.
Provide references, preferably links, to related documents, source material that needs to acknowledged, and to the overall project for which training is being developed. I.e., there may be a Website for the application, initiative, etc. that requires training.
There can be many more items in the instructional design and planning documents such as approval requirements, staffing, etc.
Here are the section titles for convenient pasting into your instructional design as headings:
Exercises and Assignments
Milestones and Schedule
Evaluation and Tests