This article has been written by Aparna Bharate, pursuing a Startup Generalist & Virtual Assistant Training Program from LawSikho and edited by Shashwat Kaushik.

It has been published by Rachit Garg.


As we all know, AI, or artificial intelligence, is rapidly changing the world today. It has impacted various industries, and the field of instructional design is no exception. One of the most widely discussed topics in this context has been its potential to disrupt the role of instructional design. The automation power of AI has raised concerns about whether it will eventually replace instructional design altogether.

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In this article, we will explore the benefits that AI can bring to the instructional designer field and then also look at some of its limitations. After getting this balanced view, we will conclude with the future of instructional design and education in the AI driven world.

Who is an instructional designer

An instructional designer is a  professional who works towards designing learning experiences based on the science and art of instructional design. In simple words, it starts with analysing learning needs, using the inputs to plan the appropriate instructional strategies, then designing and developing the content, and finally assessing learning outcomes. The field of instructional design is rooted in a deep understanding of cognitive psychology and pedagogy and has evolved over time to serve the changing needs of learners.

Instructional design and AI

With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), there has been a lot of buzz about AI potentially replacing instructional design job roles in the economy. There have been speculations regarding the potential threat of AI to job profiles in training, learning, and development, as well as the field of instructional design. Let’s examine the benefits of AI and how its capabilities can be optimally utilised, as well as the limitations of AI in terms of what it cannot achieve for instructional designers.

Benefits of AI for instructional design

There are various benefits to using AI for instructional design. They are:

  • Adaptive learning,
  • Personalised instruction,
  • Content creation,
  • Immersive experiences,
  • Resource optimisation, and
  • Providing valuable insights.

Adaptive learning 

AI has the potential to significantly improve the existing adaptive learning capabilities to enhance learning. AI-powered robust adaptive learning systems can facilitate competency-based and differentiated instruction. These systems create generative pathways dynamically based on how learners respond to tasks, the time taken to complete the task, and the difficulty level of the activity. This data gets generated and is leveraged to improve learners’ performance, as training can be crafted to target the actual needs of learners based on the results of adaptive testing and assessment. Thus, AI powered apps will enable a system wherein learners are challenged enough to perform at their optimal level and improve their learning outcomes incrementally.

Personalised instruction

Closely related to adaptive learning is personalised instruction. AI has increased the possibilities of personalising instructional opportunities based on adaptive testing results. The learning experiences can be customised to each user’s individual needs and preferences. For instance, consider an English language course that is driven by an AI platform. The system will measure the reading, writing, and comprehension of a learner to determine his/her current proficiency. If a user shows proficiency in reading but struggles with grammar, the AI based app will set up exercises focused on improving grammar. The system will monitor the progress continuously and adapt to the user’s personalised needs.

Content creation

AI can generate high-quality course content to develop highly engaging course content. Instructors can create quizzes and assessments by providing carefully crafted text prompts that are aligned to the learning outcomes of the course. Some examples include generating eLearning content that is created based on learner data, suggesting personalised flashcards and quiz questions, suggesting personalised learning materials, etc.

By harnessing AI’s assistance, instructors can streamline the course creation process, saving time while maintaining the quality of the content.

Immersive experiences

AI has capabilities that provide rich learning experiences through immersive virtual reality and augmented reality-based learning modules. Users have a chance to get closer to things they learn about, and this immersive experience has a profound effect on how users learn and retain learning.

Resource optimisation

In K-12 or academic settings, AI can help instructors optimise resource allocation. AI can automate repetitive tasks such as grading and administrative work. Teachers can be away from administrative tasks and spend more time focusing on maximising the effectiveness of their instruction.

Provide valuable insights 

AI’s powerful algorithms and machine learning capabilities can process vast amounts of data to generate patterns by analysing data, leading to unique design solutions. Instructional designers and other professionals involved in the design field, such as graphic designers, can use AI to explore new possibilities, generate initial design concepts, and gain inspiration. They can make informed decisions by optimising design elements.

Disadvantages of AI for instructional designers

Now that we have understood the advantages of AI, let us look at some of its disadvantages. They are:

  • Content curation,
  • High investment,
  • Lack of human interaction,
  • Ethical considerations, and
  • Lack of creativity.

Content curation

It is true that AI can process vast amounts of data and provide high quality content in a matter of few seconds. However, the original content or source of information still needs to be created or curated by humans. AI can occasionally provide incorrect responses or invalid information. So, there are limits to how much one can rely on AI generated content.

High investment

AI can offer immersive learning experiences, but the development and implementation costs of AI-powered tools can be substantial. Although learning experience design is beneficial, the financial barrier can be significant, particularly in academic and corporate settings where allocating additional resources for AI technology might not always be feasible.

Lack of human interaction

AI powered tools, although capable of personalised learning and adaptive feedback, cannot replace the human touch or emotional support that learners need to succeed in academics or corporate training. Too much reliance and dependency on AI-powered educational tools may have negative consequences as well.

Ethical considerations

Corporate and edtech companies must ensure that they consider the ethical implications of AI technology in education. Privacy and security concerns need to be carefully addressed. The personal data collected from users has to be properly secured and maintained. It is important that they develop AI tools in a fair and responsible manner as per the laws and regulations governing data privacy, security and intellectual property.

Lack of creativity

AI generates responses based on data analysis, generating solutions and decisions based on analytics. It formulates responses based on the data and the analytics it can do with the data. But the proposed solution may not be the best solution or sometimes it might sound incorrect. Human creativity and judgement are irreplaceable and hence there are some limitations to how much one can rely on AI. More investment and research are required to improve AI’s capabilities to overcome such limitations and come up with more advanced and effective AI tools for users, both academic and corporate.

AI is not completely new; AI tools such as Knewton and Ahura were used to support learning in both classroom and corporate settings. However, the AI tools have now become more robust and effective. For instance, AI-powered tools such as Querium help tutor students with step by step lesson plans and guidance. These tools are recognised for their ability to provide individualised learning paths tailored to each student’s unique needs and preferences. They save educators considerable time by automating the grading process, enabling instructors to provide personalised attention to students.

Can AI be perceived as a threat

It is thus clear that rather than perceiving AI as a threat, instructional design and academic teaching professionals should consider it a collaborative partner that helps them in their endeavour to improve and enhance students’ learning experiences. The power of AI tools has to be leveraged for what it does the best – automating mundane tasks, deploying high quality content, data analytics, predictive analytics, adaptive assessment and feedback, and so on. These tools will not replace human practitioners but will assist them in their work. This can free up time for humans to focus on the human aspect, which is also a vital component of any user’s learning journey, right from theory to practise and then actual performance.

It is imperative to understand that instructional designers and teaching staff need to adapt to the new realities and collaborate with AI and other leading technologies that will shape the education and corporate learning sectors. The technological landscape changes as technologies evolve continuously. 


AI will continue to evolve, and humans need to adapt and act as a collaborative force to reach business goals. Instructional designers can adapt to AI by learning about it, analysing the impact of AI on the market segment, evaluating what can be done using AI technology, and thinking critically about how to achieve success with AI technology. 

In conclusion, we can say that AI is and will continue to impact the field of instructional design. However, what matters here is that instead of looking at it as a threat looming large over us, it needs to be seen as an “ally”. Instructional designers should ensure that they are aware of the potential benefits as well as its limitations and leverage its power in the most optimal way possible so that it is most effective in furthering the interests of learners in an ethical and responsible manner. 


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