rocking chair
Lowell librarycolumns
student artwork

Instructional Design Principles

Outstanding online courses begin with outstanding content presented in a way that minimizes barriers to understanding.

Effective content design can create a more compelling and engaging showcase for your course material. More importantly, well-designed content can help achieve the following:

  • Ease of learning: How quickly can a new student navigate through your course while learning the material?
  • Efficiency of use: After a student is familiar with your course setup, how quickly can they accomplish tasks?
  • Subjective satisfaction: How much do students enjoy working through your course material?
  • Usability: Can users with different levels of ability, experience, knowledge, language skills, hardware, or concentration level use your course easily?
  • Accessibility: Products and services that are accessible provide the means for people with disabilities to receive the same level of information, services, and use similar to what people without disabilities receive. Is your course a level playing field?

Effective design can also be a simple and straightforward design. Clean and simple can be aesthetically pleasing and still have an impact. Pages with simple design have the following attributes:

  • Download quickly.
  • Are easy for students to understand and navigate.
  • Create emphasis and predictability.
  • Have a fresh, up-to-date feel.
  • Are more likely to meet accessibility guidelines.
  • A well-designed course requires planning. You must consider not only visual design, but also writing style, tone, the arrangement of information, and accessibility. We will look at each of these elements in more detail.
Last Modified: 8/4/23