Instructional Materials

Now that you have completed the design for your course, the next step in the process is to curate and create instructional materials.

Development Team

Depending on the size of your organization, you may be a ‘jack-of-all-trades’, expected to do it all, or you may be in an organization that can draw upon other professionals to build various components of the course. For example, you might be working with:

It is useful to know what resources you will have access to, and if you are working with other professionals, it is a good idea to talk to them about what they need and in what format they need it. Every team is different, so it is a good idea to develop an understanding of what each team member needs in order to successfully build the course that you envision with your design.

Presenting the Course

What is needed to present the learning - is this an eLearning course that needs graphics, voice overs, video clips, interactivity, etc? Is this a classroom course that needs flipcharts and pens, PowerPoint presentations, etc. 

What is required in order to teach the course? What you create really depends on the type of training you are designing, as well as the audience you are designing it for. Types of things that may be required include:

Note that again, if you are working on an instructional design document, you are not actually creating these materials, rather you are identifying the need for them. You may also be designing the materials. You can imagine that each element that you need to create for an eLearning module or lesson may very well involve its own design process. At the overall course level, you need to identify what you need to create, rather than providing the detailed designs on what you are creating. That will come later, when you are designing and developing the actual content modules. This is one place where you see iteration in the ADDIE model, as you may do a mini ADDIE for each of the elements of a course. 

Tip: Don’t forget to include what you need for the instructor, as well as what the students will see.

Process for Identifying Instructional Material Requirements

To determine what materials you need, start with the Design section of the instructional design document. Read through each learning objective and determine if you will need some kind of media or material for that learning objective (e.g. specific graphics or video clips, PowerPoint presentations, scenarios, practice worksheets, etc).

Then look through the learning strategy. Is there anything you have added in your strategy that will determine what additional media and materials you might need (e.g. instructor guides). 

There are whole courses dedicated to determining which types of materials are better suited to different types of learning objectives. That is beyond the scope of this course/book. 

Quality and Budgets

“Media formats and delivery systems that look expensive are expensive. Cutting production corners to save money usually does not affect student learning, but it does affect attention and perceptions of relevance and authority” (Dick, Carey, and Carey, 2015, p. 256). I would argue that there is also a sense of authenticity that comes across with different quality levels - depending on the media. A less polished video of the instructor speaking can come across as much more authentic than a highly polished scripted video. It depends on the budget of the project but also what level of polish you are aiming for.

Further, in considering the budget, consider how many people will be going through the training. In general, creating training materials is expensive. ELearning is even more expensive. If you only have a few students who will need the training, then one-to-one mentoring may be significantly more effective from both a cost and learning perspective. If you have 1000s of employees that need the training, then a high quality eLearning module is a worthwhile solution. 

What Instructors Need

If you are designing material that you are teaching, then all you may need are some notes to remind you of why you did things the way you did. If you created assessments, you may need answer guides to help ensure you remember what you are expecting of learners and how that relates to the course objectives.

If you are designing the course but not teaching it, which is typical in instructional design, you will want to consider creating an instructor guide. An instructor guide describes why you made certain design decisions, so that the instructor knows how to teach the course without breaking your design. Also the instructor needs to know timings. They need to know typical questions that might arise from students and the answers (this depends on the level of expertise of the instructor - if the instructor is a SME, then they may not need you to articulate the answers). If there are specific things that the instructor needs to focus on in the delivery of the training, then you need to highlight that to the instructor. Further, if the assessments require any form of grading you will need to include a marking guide.


In this section, I outline a few examples of instructional materials required for different types of projects. 

Large Technology Company

The large technology company project - This project happened when it was thought that course material could be designed in a single source manner where the same material was used for self-paced, face-to-face, and webinar delivery.

We developed using a team approach. As the instructional designer, I created all the materials. However I had access to a graphics designer to create any specialized graphics, and a technical writer who edited all my material.

We were asked to deliver PowerPoint slides with instructor notes, an instructor’s guide, and the student guide.

Clinical Faculty Development

The Department of Family Medicine project began shortly after the release of the iPad. All faculty members were given an iPad, which allowed us to use it as a delivery medium for student guides. The courses were delivered as half-day workshops.

The course was developed using a team approach. As the instructional designer, I worked with the subject matter expert to create all the materials. I had access to a graphics designer to create any specialized graphics. I also had access to a videographer to film and edit any video clips required for the course.

We delivered a student guide as an eBook for the iPad, PowerPoint slides (one version for Mac another for PC) and course evaluation questionnaires.

Foundations of Instructional Design and Learning Technology

This course, a 14-week instructor-led online course that is highly influenced by constructivist learning theory, has a different approach.

I am the SME, designer, developer, and instructor for the course. I perform all the roles. However, the course is designed to allow other instructors to step in and teach the course if I am not available.

For course materials, 

  • I created a course syllabus.
  • I designed and created learner assessments.
  • I curated course materials such as readings and videos.
  • I created course presentations such as the explainer videos and weekly introductions.
  • I created the course textbook.
  • I have included instructor notes with each module within the Blackboard Learn course shell. These notes serve to both remind me, and to inform other instructors, of the different design decisions I made and remind me how to facilitate various aspects of the course.

Designing Your Professional Presence Course

INSDSG 651 is an elective for this program that I developed. It is a 14-week instructor-led online course that is highly influenced by constructivist and connectivist learning theories.

I am the SME, designer, developer, and instructor for the course. I perform all the roles. The course design is approved by the curriculum committee and the faculty.

For course materials, I use self-hosted websites, academic articles, blogs, and YouTube videos. I developed the course framework and the course syllabus. I designed and created the learner assessments. Since this is a relatively new course, I do both formative and summative evaluations.

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