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The Coronavirus and Its Impact on Instructional Design

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every aspect of our lives. The pandemic has left its mark on our daily routines to how we work, socialize, and learn. As an instructional designer, I’ve witnessed firsthand the impact of COVID-19 on teaching and learning. Everything seems to be filtered through this crisis, and it’s changing how we approach instructional design.

It’s interesting to see how many articles now refer to time as “pre-COVID” and “post-COVID.” The pandemic has created a clear demarcation line in how we view the world, and education is no exception. A year ago, I approached my work differently from how I do now. Last year, I focused on designing effective courses and helping instructors improve their teaching skills. Now, the entire field seems to be under pressure to solve all the issues exposed by COVID-19 overnight.

One of the positive aspects of the pandemic is that people finally recognize instructional designers and respect our work. The sudden shift to online learning has clarified that good course design is essential for successful learning outcomes. However, the pandemic has also negatively impacted our practice. Many view online learning as a poor substitute for in-person instruction, failing to recognize that the initial shift was to emergency remote instruction, not authentic online learning.

As Hodges et al. (2020) noted, the sudden shift to remote instruction was not a planned or intentional move to online learning but a response to a crisis. It’s unfair to judge the quality of online learning based on the emergency remote instruction that was hastily put together in response to the pandemic. Authentic online learning requires a carefully planned and designed approach that considers learners’ unique needs and the course content.

Moving forward, it’s clear that COVID-19 will forever change instructional design. We must continue to adapt and evolve our approach to meet the changing needs of learners and instructors. Correcting the misconceptions about online learning that emerged during the pandemic will take time. Still, we must do so to ensure that our students receive the best possible learning experiences.

In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted instructional design. Everything is now filtered through this crisis, and it’s changing the way we approach teaching and learning. While the pandemic has brought some positive changes, such as increased recognition of the importance of good course design, it has also highlighted the need to address misconceptions about online learning. As instructional designers, we must continue to adapt and evolve our approach to ensure that our students receive the best possible learning experiences.

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges for instructional designers. It’s been a time of uncertainty and adaptation as we navigate new ways of teaching and learning. However, even though the pandemic has been overwhelming at times, it’s exciting to think about the possibilities that lie ahead. Moving past this crisis, we’ll be stronger and more committed to creating meaningful learning experiences. We’ll see new research and innovation in instructional design, focusing more on technology integration, data analytics, and learner-centered design. And most importantly, we’ll continue to collaborate and work together to create impactful and effective learning experiences for all learners.

Reflections on COVID-19: Part 1

Reflections on COVID-19: Part 2


Hodges, C., Moore, S., Lockee, B., Trust, T., & Bond, A. (2020). The difference between emergency remote teaching and online learning. Educase.

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