It’s one thing to talk about instructional design in the abstract. But what about how the Cengage instructional design team actually works with institutions like yours? In this final post in our Instructional Design 101 series, we’ll talk about how a typical collaboration might unfold.

What Does an Instructional Design Project Usually Involve?

Instructional design work by its nature is very customized. When the Cengage instructional design team works with your institution, we tailor the process and deliverables to your specific goals and needs. No matter what those specifics are, though, communication and collaboration are priorities on every project we do. Cengage instructional designers work closely with your faculty and administrators on each step of the development process to ensure a successful final result.

The Deliverables

Our instructional design projects range from creating a syllabus for a single course to developing a full range of course elements for an entire academic program. Some of our more common deliverables are:

  • Course syllabi (typically created to your institution’s specific requirements)
  • Lesson plans
  • Written, video and animated lessons and lectures
  • Discussion questions
  • Assignments and assessments
  • Labs
  • Quizzes and tests
  • Course development documents
  • Course outcomes and unit learning objectives

That’s a quick look at what our instructional design team can create for your institution. Now let’s take a look at how we do it.

The Process

Imagine your institution has decided to transition six existing courses to new Cengage materials. You want the Cengage ID team to develop all new course elements that align with the new curricula.

We’ll start with an in-depth discussion with your institution’s faculty and administration stakeholders. We’ll:

  • Identify who your team members are, who our team members are and what roles each of us will fill
  • Define your goals for the courses
  • Align on the deliverables you want our ID team to develop
  • Discuss aspects of the existing courses that work well, and those you would like to change or improve: Are the course objectives still relevant? Are the existing assignment types a good fit for your institution’s typical student?
  • Create a schedule for development
  • Codify a process for handling reviews and revisions

Ideally, we’ll come away with a clear sense of what you want to accomplish, and we’ll all know each other a little better.

In a full-course redesign, our ID development team usually starts with creating a course outline that maps out course outcomes, learning objectives, readings and assignment types by unit. We’ll then collaborate with your school’s faculty reviewer to get feedback and revise the outline into a final version.

We’ll follow the same process as we move into developing the other course elements, communicating through regularly scheduled status calls as needed via email to review and revise deliverables. The review process might go quickly, with minimal revisions. Or the nature and scope of the project may call for more extensive and direct collaboration between the Cengage IDs and your institution’s faculty. At each step, though, your faculty reviewers have the chance to provide feedback and approve the final deliverables. The entire process typically takes between 16 and 18 weeks, but under some circumstances can be completed in significantly less time.

While the details may change from project to project, communication and collaboration are always at the forefront of what we do.


Read the complete Instructional Design 101 series, where we covered a broad range of topics including the ID process, how instructional design can improve a course and how a typical ID project unfolds. Follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest news in higher education!


 To bring instructional design expertise to your institution, connect with a Partnership Director!