How Your Business Benefits from Instructional Design

21 February

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How Your Business Benefits from Instructional Design


  1. What is HR training and development?

  2. What are the benefits of department training?

  3. Will companies sponsor department training?

  4. What are the tenants of a successful Learning and Development strategy?

  5. How can you implement instructional design within corporate training?

  6. What are beneficial skills and tools for growing L&D departments?

  7. What are key roles for L&D departments?

  8. What are the benefits of using a design process?

  9. How can digital learning and instructional design help retain employees?

  10. Instructional Design and the Digital Learning Institute

Instructional Design is more than just a way of thinking about the structure of your learning materials, it is a discipline dedicated to designing successful learning experiences.

Instructional Design is key to successful corporate learning and development programmes because good instructional design helps to increase employee engagement with learning and improve the effectiveness of learning outcomes.

Instructional Design should be a key consideration for HR departments who are seeking to improve their learning and development programmes, in this article, we explore how offering training and development for HR departments, including training in Instructional Design can optimise learning experiences across the whole business.

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What is HR training and development?

HR has a broad remit covering everything from talent management, compensation, employee benefits, learning and development, compliance, and workplace safety.

“The HR function aims to help an organisation deliver its corporate strategy and objectives by effectively managing people and performance.” CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personal Development)

Learning and development is a key function of HR and in fact, all other aspects like employee onboarding, workplace safety or compliance are increasingly communicated to employees using digital learning materials, but how do we ensure that HR has the necessary skills to develop and deliver learning and development to the organisation?

The ways in which learning is delivered have changed massively and HR departments are now dealing with the complexity of hybrid workforces and the need to deliver learning across a range of platforms and touchpoints. Companies have ever-increasing demands for digital and on-demand training, so ensuring that your HR department itself has the skills and expertise necessary to deliver this is more important than ever.

Hr training and development is the learning and development programme for your HR department, it should be centred on ways to help them to learn, develop and deliver better performance across your organisation.

What are the benefits of department training?

Too often the training and development needs of the HR department are overlooked, and of course, this has an impact on the organisation.

It means that L&D functions can become cumbersome or out of date with the business because the HR department doesn’t have the necessary skills to bring forward digital transformation.

By offering ‘instructional design professional development’ businesses can ensure that their HR professionals have the necessary skills to meet the needs of their job and ensure that the L&D function is kept engaging, relevant and up to date.

One of our clients is ICON PLC, a leading clinical research organisation. Since the pandemic, they have had to adapt all of their training materials to virtual delivery, which meant an increased demand for online materials, which needed to be created.  Rather than continuing to outsource this work to external contractors, they decided to build up the skills they had in-house and enrolled 12 people from their Learning and Development department into our Professional Certificate in Instructional Design course. 

After the course attendees reported feeling much more confident in using digital technologies, they also felt that company communication between the L&D department and the in-house instructional designers and digital designers had improved because they now understood more about the language used in the design process. The course also helped them to build a framework and put design processes in place to enable them to contribute to the design and delivery of learning materials, which has reduced the dependence on external contractors. 

Andrea Gyori the Training lead at Icon PLC had this to say about the benefits she has seen in her team after attending the course: 

“ I think it’s very useful for different levels of L&D to attend formal training in Instructional Design. If you’re an instructor, then you get tips on how to do your sessions in a better and more engaging way. If you are a learning manager, then it can give you a lot of good ideas on how to organise a project that you need to create for your group or that your team needs to create. So I found that very useful. Your course is very useful for people like us: instructors, training managers or coordinators, who need to have a picture in their heads of what is out there and what they can use.”

You can read Andrea Gyori’s full student story at: Andreas story

Will companies sponsor department training?

Companies absolutely will and do sponsor department training when they understand the value and return on investment it gives. In fact, our alumni work with the world’s leading companies including Abbott, the Ministry of Justice, Diageo and the NHS.

An investment in employee training and development for the HR department is an investment in the whole business and is key to enhancing the design and delivery of learning and development which in turn has implications across the board for employee engagement, productivity and retention

Read some of our student testimonials and case studies and link up with one of our sales advisors if you want to understand more about how investing in training for your HR department brings benefits for your whole business: Learn more

What are the tenants of a successful Learning and Development Strategy?

McKinsey has outlined five strategic areas that should be the focus of successful ’learning and development strategy’

According to McKinsey L&D’s strategic role spans five areas:

  • Attract and retain talent

Traditionally, learning focused solely on improving productivity. Today, learning also contributes to employability. Over the past several decades, employment has shifted from staying with the same company for a lifetime to a model where workers are being retained only as long as they can add value to an enterprise. Workers are now in charge of their personal and professional growth and development—one reason that people list “opportunities for learning and development” among the top criteria for joining an organisation. Conversely, a lack of L&D is one of the key reasons people cite for leaving a company.

  • Motivate and engage employees

The most important way to engage employees is to provide them with opportunities to learn and develop new competencies. Research suggests that lifelong learning contributes to happiness. When highly engaged employees are challenged and given the skills to grow and develop within their chosen career path, they are more likely to be energised by new opportunities at work and satisfied with their current organisation.

  • Build an employer brand

An organisation’s brand is one of its most important assets and conveys a great deal about the company’s success in the market, financial strengths, position in the industry, and products and services. Investments in L&D can help to enhance the company’s brand and boost its reputation as an “employer of choice.” As large segments of the workforce prepare to retire, employers must work harder to compete for a shrinking talent pool. To do so, they must communicate their brand strength explicitly through an employer value proposition.

  • Create a value-based culture

As the workforce in many companies becomes increasingly virtual and globally dispersed, L&D can help to build a values-based culture and a sense of community. In particular, millennials are particularly interested in working for values-based, sustainable enterprises that contribute to the welfare of society.

  • Develop people capabilities

Human capital requires ongoing investments in L&D to retain its value. When knowledge becomes outdated or forgotten—a more rapid occurrence today—the value of human capital declines and needs to be supplemented by new learning and relevant work experiences. Companies that make investments in the next generation of leaders are seeing an impressive return. Research indicates that companies in the top quartile of leadership outperform other organizations by nearly two times on earnings before interest, taxes, and depreciation. Moreover, companies that invest in developing leaders during significant transformations are 2.4 times more likely to hit their performance targets.

By focusing on the skills of the HR department and giving them formal certified training in how to construct and deliver better learning experiences, you have the double benefit of enhancing their motivation, and capabilities and you also enhance the learning of your entire organisation across these five strategic areas. This in turn can have positive effects across the board for productivity, engagement, and employee retention.

Become an Instructional Designer with our professional Diploma in Digital Learning Design

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How can you implement instructional design within corporate training?

Instructional Design should form part of the training programme for your HR and learning and development functions. 

As we saw with the case study of ICON PLC, by training your L&D departments in Instructional Design you enable them to become more confident in using digital technologies and give them a framework to develop their own design process so they can actively design and deliver learning content that is built to suit the specific needs of your organisation.

There are a variety of ways you can incorporate instructional design in training and development’ from formal certified training to microlearning and on-the-job training. The most important aspect is that Instruction Design becomes part of the training programme for your L&D and HR departments, for both existing and new employees and that it is seen as a required skill rather than an optional extra. Once this mindset is in place you will find a variety of training options out there, and of course, we highly recommend our Associate Certificate in nstructional Design as a good place to start! 

What are beneficial skills and tools for growing L&D departments?

L&D has changed, and this transformation requires an ever-changing set of skills:

  “Today, L&D leaders must design and implement interventions that support informal learning, including coaching and mentoring, on-the-job instruction, apprenticeships, leadership shadowing, action-based learning, on-demand access to digital learning, and lunch-and-learn sessions. Social technologies play a growing role in connecting experts and creating and sharing knowledge.” (McKinsey)

L&D departments are no longer just required to deliver training they are involved in every step of the process to deliver a learning experience, this encompasses content creation and development, learning design, and learning delivery. This requires skills in instructional design, visual design and knowledge of digital platforms. To ensure that L&D professionals can meet the ever-changing requirements of their jobs companies should consider a programme of formal ‘learning and development certification’.

What are key roles for L&D departments?

Depending on the size of the L&D department there may be several specialised roles or one person who has skills across several areas. Key roles in the industry include: 

  • Learning and development specialist: A learning and development specialist is responsible for training all staff, identifying current and future skill requirements and creating learning interventions to meet the needs of the workforce

  • Learning Designers/Digital Designers/Instructional Designers/ Visual Designers: Learning design covers the broad responsibility of designing learning experiences. This can incorporate instructional design, which is more about the structure and learning outcomes and visual/digital design which is about how the learning experience looks and feels. Some companies prefer specialisation within Instructional or Visual Design, others prefer a more generalised approach where employees in L&D have skills across both areas.

  • Content developers.  Content developers research, prepare, write, and edit online content for learning. 

  • Training Deliverer/Facilitator. Even if the majority of learning is digital companies still have a requirement for face-to-face or online training delivery and facilitation and this is where the training delivery lead or the facilitator comes in, to deliver training content and provide a point of contact 

As the role of L&D expands we are seeing a proliferation of roles develop but the above should give you a guide to the key skills areas.

What are the benefits of using a design process?

A good design process is key to creating successful learning experiences. A design process may follow different methodologies like ADDIE or Kirkpatrick, but in its simplest form it is a process for bringing ideas for learning experiences to fruition.

By having a design process in place you can ensure consistency in how your learning is created and it also helps when you scale your L&D department as newcomers will have a process to follow that includes how to plan, tools to use and how to use instructional design and learning technology ‘to deliver your learning.

How can digital learning and instructional design help retain employees?

Employee retention ideas are usually focused on how we can engage employees better and how we can reduce stress by increasing necessary skills as well as ensuring people feel valued and have opportunities to progress their careers

When digital learning is well designed it can impact directly on employee retention because it can:

  • Unleash potential.

  • Keep employees up to date with trends and technology.

  • Increase productivity.

  • Enhance decision-making skills

Instructional Design and the Digital Learning Institute

The Digital Learning Institute is built on the foundation of over 40 years of corporate learning experience. We are a team of digital learning specialists with a passion for helping learning professionals reach their potential in digital learning design. 

We help organisations to deliver better learning experiences and enable individuals to progress their careers in L&D with our industry-led Professional Diploma in Digital Learning Design.

Find out more about how our industry-led certifications can help your business and click the button below to speak to an advisor today!

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