Aubree Evans
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Graduate / Professional, Career / Technical
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Instructional Design for Teacher Educators

Instructional Design for Teacher Educators


This guide, "Instructional Design for Teacher Educators" is intended for participants in BranchED's OER Summer Institute. This is a resource to supplement the design component of the Institute. This resource may also be used as a train-the-trainer guide.

The intended audience for this OER is teacher education faculty who are designing instructional materials for their own university or college classes.

For questions or comments about this resource, please contact

Resources used and adapted:

"The ADDIE Model" by Pamela J. Morgan. CC-BY-NC-SA (

ADDIE Model Image: CC-BY-SA

BranchED Template:


CeL. "OER Design". OER Commons. Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education, 29 Sep. 2016. Web. 12 May 2021. 

Fosslien, Liz. "Productivity and Time."

"How to use the OER Commons LTI Tool."

Why instructional design?

Instructional design is the design of learning experiences--the intentional planning behind the lesson. After learning how to create OER, the next question is what goes in the OER?  

teacher and design

As an experienced educator, you already have lots of great ideas and content. If you feel most comfortable teaching face-to-face, you may not think of yourself as an instructional designer. But the truth is that in all teaching, we are constantly making decisions about the design of learning experiences.   

Recall your process of designing your favorite face-to-face class: 

  • What does your design process look like? 
  • Where do you start?
  • How do you know if you're on the right track?
  • What design considerations do you make along the way?
  • How does it feel when you've finished designing a successful lesson?
  • What makes a lesson successful? 

The goal of this session is to apply the instructional design skills that you already have to your OER.

The ADDIE model of instructional design

Because we're thinking like instructional designers, let's use a popular instructional design model to guide our OER design. The ADDIE Design Model (depicted below) represents 5 crucial steps in instructional design.

ADDIE design model

Image "The ADDIE Model" by Pamela J. Morgan. CC-BY-NC-SA (


  1. Analyze: For teacher educators, the analyze phase of the ADDIE model is analyzing not only who your learners are and their course and program goals, but also what assets they bring and how to center them through your design. For the purpose of designing OER for BranchED's Institute, you might also refer the BranchED Equity Rubric to analyze how to develop an equity-oriented OER. Another aspect of analyze is researching what content is available to you and where there are gaps in your content.
  2. Design: When designing new content, we begin by identifying the objectives. The next step is to identify how students will accomplish the learning objective. What methods will be used? What content is already available to you, and where to you need to create new content? How will learning be scaffolded? What digital materials (images, videos, third-party tools) can be used? How will learning be measured? 
  3. Develop: For the purposes of the BranchED OER Summer Institute, OER Commons will be used to develop the instructional materials. Additional tools may be used to supplement the content. For example, I might make infographics in Canva, create a video that I host in Youtube, or use Kahoot to add gamification to my lesson. But the lesson will be housed in the OER that you author or remix in OER Commons.
  4. Implement: You will implement the OER when you use it to teach during your Fall 2021 course. 
  5. Evaluate: Use both formative and summative feedback from students to evaluate the success of your OER. Feedback can be used to revise the OER for the next time you teach with it. Due to the collaborative nature of OER, any revisions you make will also reap benefits for other teacher educators who use your materials.

If the text in the image below is too small to read, click on it to view the image on an external page. 

The ADDIE Model Instructional

Image license: CC-BY-SA (


The analyze section of the ADDIE model of instructional design is the planning stage of OER design.



The first step in the analyze phase of ADDIE is to determine your unit-level objectives. Start with the topic of your OER, and then connect it to the course you will using it in. Where do these 3+ units fit in to your broader course outcomes? Break the course-level outcomes into unit level objectives. For instance, if you are creating 3 units for this OER, write the objectives for each unit. 

Who is the learner?

The next step of the analyze phase is to take a close look at who your learner is. Below are some guiding questions to ask about the learner to guide your design:

  • What existing knowledge and assets do the learners bring into these units?
  • How can the units activate learners' prior knowledge and cultural wisdom and assets?
  • How can these units scaffold information from pre-requisite courses?
  • How will these units help learners attain the level of understanding that is required in the course? 
  • What motivates the learner?

Assessing your content or resource needs

You don't always have to start from scratch and create a brand new lesson or module. First, look through content already available to you. You can draw from existing resources that you currently use in your teaching. Go back into your course files. I often forget about lectures, PowerPoints, images, and even videos I've made in the past. You might be surprised by what you have already created.

You can also use OER that has been designed by others. Search OER commons for your topic area. If you don't get any results, try changing your search terms. For example, if I don't get any results from "instructional infographics," I might try "teaching images."  

Also, during this institute you will have opportunities to search and save resources in your folder. In the analyze phase, look through your folder to see if you can use anything. Peek in your colleagues' folders to see if you can use anything they've saved! You can also look in the BranchED Hub collections for resources. The benefit of openly licensed materials is that you can reuse it as long as you adhere to the license. 

Even if there's no remix button on a resource, meaning that open author wasn't used to create the original resource, you can still use the content. Copy and paste or rewrite it, but as long as you attribute the author and follow the CC license, you're good!

You don't have to stick to OER Commons. Below are additional places to look for OER to remix into your OER:


After you have determined what content is already available to you, the next step is to assess what content gaps exist. One way to do this is to list out your objectives, and then organize your existing content under each objective so you can see where the gaps are.

Objective 1Objective 2Objective 3
  • Lecture notes from 3 semesters ago
  • Lesson plan assignment 
  • Interview assessment that has been successful in past semesters
  • Video recording of lecture from last fall
  • Tables that illustrate content
  • Group assignment 
  • Ted Talk video I always use 
  • Class discussion questions
  • Written exam

In the example above, I notice that I'm missing an assessment for Objective 2, and an assignment for Objective 3.  Those gaps are where I need to design new resources.

teacher at computer

Content & mode

OER gives you as an author freedom to design content specifically for your learners. You can center learners in ways that published content might not be able to. What content and mode will best suit the learners? How can you give choices so that there is more than one way to access and engage with content? Choice and variety also help to increase learner agency and autonomy. Refer to the BranchED Equity Rubric for OER Evaluation for guidance on creating equitable and culturally sustaining instructional materials.

Also think about what modes enhance your teaching style and instructional strengths. For example, I love using infographics and to supplement lecture. I know that I am better at explaining concepts when I have an image to illustrate them.

Creating your own content in OER Commons will identify you as the author if you create it from your own OER Commons account. Creative Commons licenses allow you to retain rights to your work in that others will be required to give you attribution. 

When creating content in which you reference or cite other work, use openly licensed content where you can. But if a resource is not open, you can still cite it and include cited work on a reference list. 

In alignment with the BranchED Template, below are options that can be used in each section of the template.

Content types

  • Articles, blog posts, written/textual content 

  • Lecture notes

  • PowerPoint or Google slides

  • Infographics (be sure they have a CC license)

  • Images (be sure they have a CC license)

  • Podcast

  • Video

    • Media

    • Movie

    • Recorded lecture


  • Discussion

    • Synchronous discussion platforms:

      • Face-to-face

      • Zoom

      • Google Meets

      • Teams

    • Asynchronous discussion platforms:

      • Discussion boards (LMS or Google)

      • FlipGrid

      • Marco Polo

      • Social Media (Twitter, Instagram Facebook, Slack, Discord, etc)

  • Written assignment

    • Paper

    • Blog

    • Web site

    • Journal (paper or digital)

    • Presentation

      • Learners can create a PowerPoint or Google slides

      • Learners can create a video of themselves presenting

  • Other

    • Meme

    • Selfie/photo 

    • Communiating about content on a social media platform (IG, Twitter, etc)

    • Video


  • Project-based assessment

  • Authentic assessment

  • Standards-based assessment

  • Multiple-choice assessment.

    • M/C questions can be listed in the OER, or

    • a Google Form assessment can be shared through OER (be sure to make the Google Form public or at least viewable to anyone with the link)

These are suggestions; there may be modes that are not listed here. Also, please note that the requirement for this institute is at least 3 units. The goal is to balance consistency and uniformity in the way the OER is laid out with variety in content, assignment, and assessment types.

Design & Time:

I want to encourage you to give yourself time in design. The design process takes time and is iterative. I personally can’t block out only 2 hours for design, and interruptions make it take much longer. I have to block out 4-5 hours because the time it takes to refamiliarize myself with it, and then thinking, reading, writing and rewriting are all part of the process. Also ideas come to me when I least expect it, such as while walking, cooking, or resting. 

The below image may be helpful when you design. For me personally, I am rarely able to sit down and just design. It takes many stops and starts, walks, house cleaning, etc. But as long as I give myself the time and space that design takes, it gets done and is actually an enjoyable process. 

What I thought would make me productive (Liz Fosslien)

Image used with permission by Liz Fosslien (


For the BranchED OER Institute, your OER will be developed in OER Commons and will adhere to the format of the BranchED Template. Depending on what Learning Management System (LMS) your insitution uses, you can most likely integrate your OER into your course shell. This resource explains how to embed your OER in your course LMS (e.g. Canvas, Blackboard, D2L, etc).


developing at a computer

Development of learning resources

Another aspect of the development phase of ADDIE might be the use of additional third-party tools to develop learning resources for your content, actitivities, or assessment. A third-party tool is a web site or app that allows you to design components of your OER that are either designed or are housed outside of OER Commons or your LMS. Examples of third-party tools are Kahoot, Canva, Prezi, Padlet, etc. 

Third-party tools often offer engaging variety to online resources, and often they are free to use. Be aware that often technical support is not provided for third-party tools. Also, be sure to check the privacy agreements, particularly if student grades are associated in any way with the resource.

Validation & Piloting

The validation phase of ADDIE is when stakeholders give feedback on the design. In the BranchED Institute, the first part of the validation phase will take place when your institute peers give feedback. The second part of validation will occcur when PK-12 teachers attend the showcase and provide feedback through the voting process.

The development phase also includes piloting the course. While your peers in this institute will review your OER and give feedback, the real pilot will take place when you use your OER in your Fall course. BranchED will provide an evaluation for your students to provide feedback on the OER. 


The implementation phase of ADDIE refers to using the instructional materials with the audience they were designed for. The implementation of the OER you design in this Institute will be when you teach with the OER in your Fall course.

woman teaching

Since this OER is intended to supplement or fully support a teacher preparation course, what implementation looks like will vary depending on how much course content has been designed. Implementation will also vary depending on the whether the course is delivered online or face-to-face and on other content that is used to meet course-level outcomes.


Evaluation is the last step of the ADDIE model. ADDIE and OER work well together because OER invites feedback, revision, and collaboration. Below are some ways that feedback can be collected to keep enhancing your OER.


Formative feedback: Remember to collect any formative feedback on your OER that you receive while learners are engaging with it. For instance, you can keep a log of questions you receive about it while students are using it. You could also ask students directly using a mid-semester evaluation survey.

Summative feedback: Here are a few types of summative feedback that can be used to evaluate your OER:

  • Learning - Did the OER help students achieve your and their learning goals? 
  • Evaluation feedback - Sometimes end-of-semester evaluations can yield feedback about instructional materials.

Reflection: During and after you teach with your OER, document any insights that you have about it. Was there a part of the content that was less clear to students? If more than one student asked a question about the same section, perhaps you could add content to that part? Did the activities work out like you had planned?