Once elements of instruction have been designed (following analysis of the project variables), the design is transformed into physical products for implementation and evaluation. Depending on the learning goals and objectives, the products may be electronic, paper-based or some hybrid combination of both media.
Once developed, the products should be tested in the learning environment. Materials are collected from the implementation (testing) for assessment and/or evaluation.
Assessment and evaluation answer 3 questions: Is there evidence that the learning/performance goals and objectives were met? Were the materials used as anticipated or planned? How can I improve this product?
Now for an example.
As the instructional designer for an educational game to be implemented in middle school classrooms, I conducted the needs assessment, designed a product, collaboratively developed the product, then implemented that product with middle school students. After the test (I also observed and questioned students playing the game), it became apparent that what I thought was enjoyable and fun and interesting about the game was not necessarily what the students thought. A considerable amount of information was collected and the game was revised, re-tested and re-evaluated.
I cannot stress enough that testing the product is essential in the process of develop-implement-evaluate! Despite careful, systematic, meticulous planning and attention to detail, I was not a member of the targeted audience so my judgement of the product was not the same as theirs. Instructional design is about the learners, and not about my product(s). It’s a professional issue, not a personal issue.
Now that the stage has been set with an overview of the instructional design process, Future postings will be more focused on teaching and learning and education research topics.