Instructional Design

Defend Your Design

William Horton (2011), an expert on e-learning design, writes “design is decision; development is construction” (p. 2). Many designers out there would say, “But of course,” and nod their heads

Unfortunately it is not common to see people execute in this way. Many designers, myself included, fall into the trap of starting with a rough idea and just diving in to development. In this instance did you make a decision? Did you go with the first idea you had or the second? Why? What about the third, fourth, or twentieth idea you had? A goal for myself this year is to establish a defense for my decision before I begin development. The first idea I have may have been the best choice. That comes with experience. Not understanding the reasoning behind my decision, on the other hand, is a sign of folly. 

I would argue that in the ADDIE model there needs to be another step between design and develop – defend. Design, Defend, Develop. If you design a strategy and cannot defend it you need to stop and reconsider the design before proceeding. This is not to suggest that you should get caught in the trap of over thinking. Your defense may have flaws that you cannot address, but if you have not considered the argument against your choice you are failing to give your product and it’s intended audience the respect they deserve.


Horton, W. (2011). E-learning by design (2nd ed.). United Kingdom: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated.