The Importance of Good Instructional Design: How Quality ID Practices Inform the Work of the NLN

By: Andrew Bobal, EdD, National League for Nursing

With the effects of COVID-19 on instruction, professional development and continuing education have become increasingly essential for educators seeking to develop quality online instruction. That is why it is more important than ever to pay attention to instructional design (ID).

Instructional design is a scheme of evolving well-structured instructional materials using objectives, systematic feedback, related teaching strategies, and evaluation (Moore & Kearsley, 1996). With the increased use of online instruction in a COVID driven world, learners are not situated face to face and conferences, professional development, and meetings are all virtual. As we spend more time in front of a screen than ever before, quality instructional design is vital for the user experience online. This post discusses the importance of instructional design and how quality ID practices are informing the work of the NLN.

There is a common thread in most ID literature. Arguably, the most widely and frequently used ID approach is the ADDIE model, which focuses on Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. Many ID models use the ADDIE model as a guide. According to Özdal and Ozdamli (2017), one reason “for preferring the ADDIE model is that it is a core instructional design and includes an easily understandable and adaptable structure” (p.1203). At the NLN we use the ADDIE model to inform the work produced within the Division for Innovation in Education Excellence.

Keeping ADDIE and all variables in mind, the user experience should be the overall guide within an online medium. When the NLN Division for Innovation in Education Excellence adopted a new Learning Management System (D2L-Brightspace), we knew it was important to outline principles and ID practices for future learning components. The instructional designer is primarily an advocate for the user and sees problems before they occur. The division needed a design framework, somewhere to start. Thankfully, a plethora of resources are available to help any program, person, or entity get up and start running.

Considering ADDIE, our prescribed instruction within the division centers on universal design. (2018) describes universal design for learning guidelines as providing multiple means of engagement (the why of learning), representations (the what of learning), and action and expression (the how of learning). These pillars offer guidelines that can be applied to any domain or discipline. The Online Learn Consortium (2018) offers the OSCQR Rubric, which provides a scorecard to optimize content review and accountability as measures of user experience for courses and content. Using these resources when working collaboratively with content experts and the instructional technologist directs ID within the division. We hope you utilize NLN professional development content and find it is easy to use and well designed.


CAST (2018). Universal design for learning guidelines version 2.2 [graphic organizer].

Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (1996). Distance education. Wadsworth.

Online Learning Consortium (2018). OLC OSCQR course design review scorecard. consult/oscqr-course-design-review/

Özdal, H., & Ozdamli, F. (2017). The effect of infographics in mobile learning: case study in primary school. Journal of Universal Computer Science, 23(12), 1256-1275. doi:10.3217/jucs-023-12-1256

Leave a Reply