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Community Team
Community Team

Instructional design theories

Let's say you are at the very start of a new course design project.

  • What instructional design theories and resources would you draw upon to guide your overarching approach to the structure of the course?
  • Once you've decided upon a design approach or amalgamation of design theories, which theory or theories would you then use to support your module design? Your page design? Your quiz design?

In your response, specify whether you are building a face-to-face, blended/hybrid, or fully online (distance) course.

This open-ended discussion is intended to be a shared space replete with links to your favorite resources (blogs, papers, presentations, videos, and so forth). Please provide those links freely and liberally!

29 Replies

Hey Justin!

I was skimming down this page and the acronym NAGPRA caught my eye. I knew it was you when I saw that!

Hope all is well!


Community Team
Community Team

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to building this resource! Let's keep it going!

I just came across this new series in the Canvas Engagement Strategies​ space. It's a video guide that aligns Canvas with Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR Model of Technology Integration. Follow and enjoy: Canvas FastTrack Series

Thanks for sharing – I enjoyed the first few posts on the Canvas FastTrack Series!


This is a wonderful post: we all learn so differently that the challenge is to create the invitation to learn and engage students on many levels. Thank you for including links - I plan to investigate 🙂


Community Champion

James Paul Gee shares how 13 Principles of Good Learning are manifested in good video games here:​.

I've started to figure out how they could be manifested in good course design (especially in Canvas). Would love any ideas others have to the doc I'm assembling.

This is for a blended class "Effective Teaching with Technology" for grad students.

I'd also love to connect with Universal Design principles.

 @johnmartin ​, thanks for posting the link to the James Paul Gee video (I always get a kick out of the cool line drawings). I wonder if you've seen  @kmeeusen ​'s excellent blog post Share UDL Course Design Tips, Tricks, and Techniques .

And for everyone who's been participating in this discussion, I hope you have allotted time to attend snufer​'s upcoming Instructional Design Toolkit meet-up.

stefaniesanders Thanks! That post was part of the inspiration for my comment on this one! I especially love the UDL in Canvas graphic shared there.

Community Member


This post is so full of useful information and I really can NOT thank you enough. Of particular interest to me is the UDL site because one of my primary beliefs/goals as a teacher is to always try to make what I am trying to teach accessible to all of my students no matter how they are "wired."

In an intro Latin class last week one student said, "shouldn't we just memorize the pattern and plug the information into it as we go" and I responded, "that may work for you and it may work for me, but it doesn't work for everyone in the class." He could not see the heads nodding, but I could.

While I am teaching these days in an actual classroom and primarily using Canvas as an adjunct to the "live" classroom, I'm always thinking about how I would translate everything into the "virtual" classroom as well because that is obviously an increasing part of our future.

The resources and thoughts that you (and others, thanks) have shared in this discussion will be incredibly helpful to me.

Many thanks.


Community Contributor

This is wonderful! Any chance you can share the handouts mentioned? As a new ID for our campus I am slowly building up resources for our faculty. Anything I can steal instead of recreate is appreciated!

New Member

Hi Stefanie,

First of all, thank you for the Instructional design theories post. Even though it has been a few years since the initial post, it is still relevant today. For our hybrid and online courses, we use the well-known ADDIE and Backwards design models. Still, I’m more interested in the Iterative design since it allows us to improve the course using feedback and evaluation.  Have you seen one theory being used more than the other from your experience with Canvas and Instructional design theories?

Here is a link with some information about the Iterative design:

Thank you once again for creating this discussion.