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  • Seema Sharma

How To Create An Effective Design Document



Developing an effective training course requires planning, strategy, coordination, and a roadmap to guide through each step of the process, such as storyboarding, visualizing, developing, etc. This roadmap or guide is known as Instructional Design Document.

The Instructional Design Document is a guide that elaborates why and for whom the training is developed. It provides a blueprint of the training's objectives, content structure and flow, models and strategy, evaluation strategies, and tools, etc. It delineates the framework for all the key stakeholders involved in the training development process, such as content developers, media teams, subject matter experts, project managers, etc.


An effective design document precisely articulates the required information:

1. Training overview

This section illustrates the background of the course and other pertinent information. This may further be divided into subsections to discuss the following details:

  • Objectives: What is the business goal that an organization wants to achieve, and how the training will contribute towards achieving those goals.

  • Audience: How learners can be defined in terms of qualifications, skills, experience, knowledge, etc.

2. Training constraints

This segment outlines the various factors that create constraints for the training. These factors comprise:

  • Cost: How much budget is allocated to the training program and how it is distributed among various elements.

  • Time: How much time learners have to go through the training, how much time is required to develop, review, create, and sign-off the project.

  • Other: Other determinants may include the availability of subject matter experts, trainers, infrastructure, and technology, etc.

3. Instructional strategy


This component introduces the methods and techniques that need to be followed while developing the training course for learners. It specifies what methods of instructional design will be followed, such as ADDIE’s model, SAM’s model, etc. This further comprises the course format, which could be an ILT, a WBT, a webinar, etc., delivery methods, visualization strategies, tools, etc.

4. Content structure

  1. This section lays out a comprehensive framework of content structure and flow. It may include an overview of the content for the various topics, interactivities, slide titles, visualization for each slide or screen, etc.

5. Assessment strategy

This section specifies the overall structure of learning assessments. This incorporates the format of the evaluations, number of questions, type of questions, scoring strategy, number of attempts, and difficulty level, etc.

Incorporating these components in your design document will ensure that all the important information is documented clearly and precisely. The composition and structure of the design document may diversify according to the needs, standards, and processes of an organization. Investing your time early on at this stage will save you a lot of time and effort later on. You may create a customized standard template or refer to a readily available template that suits your needs.

Remember to keep your document detailed, precise, and straightforward. Avoid including unnecessary details to ensure that users find it easy to follow. The design document ensures that you're aligned to your end goals during each phase of the development process, and you effortlessly succeed in delivering training programs that are effective and prolific.

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