10 Ways AI is Used in Instructional Design (+ Best Tools)

Devlin Peck
. Updated on 
June 29, 2024
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How is AI (artificial intelligence) used in instructional design?

You might be wondering:

You’ll get an answer to all of these questions (and more) in today’s article. Read on!

How do instructional designers use AI in their work?

We surveyed 1,686 instructional designers (employees and freelancers) on how they use AI in their work.

The majority, 29.4%, say they use AI on a weekly basis. However, 27.9% say they never use AI. 23.9% use AI on a daily basis and 5.8% use AI on a quarterly or yearly basis.

The biggest hurdle for instructional designers is that 37% of them don’t know if they’re allowed to use AI in their work. 20% don’t know of any tools that could be helpful and 10% don’t think any of them seem helpful. 5% say the tools seem time-consuming to learn.

But what are some of the reasons IDs might use AI?

Below, we’ve gathered 10 ways in which AI is impacting the industry.

Personalized learning

As an instructional designer, you aspire to tailor your learning experiences to each learner. One effective way of doing this is by offering choice and flexibility to support how individuals learn.

AI tools can help you personalize learning by analyzing learners' interactions with content and recommending personalized learning resources. Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Cornerstone and Moodle help you build learning paths that are customized to each learner.

Artificial intelligence can also help you personalize content based on the difficulty level different learners need in order to progress successfully. We’ll explore this more in the next section.

Adaptive learning

Learning management systems and eLearning platforms often include AI algorithms. These adjust the difficulty level and pacing of the content based on the real-time performance and progress of learners.

Through this, you can identify areas where learners are struggling and automatically provide additional support or scaffolding where needed. Alternatively, you can provide content that’s more difficult or more interesting to particular learners based on their history on the LMS.

Content creation

As an instructional designer, you probably spend a lot of your time creating learning materials. AI tools can speed this up by:

In this way, artificial intelligence frees you up to focus on the things that make the biggest difference, such as high-level design and strategy. With much of the time-consuming work of content creation handled, you can focus on creating content that more closely meets the needs of learners.  


When you’re analyzing a situation to determine learner needs and skills gaps, AI tools can help you spot patterns more quickly. With the ability to handle large data sets, they can quickly tell you:

Identifying this information allows you to refine learning pathways and provide additional support or resources where needed.

Gamification and engagement

Gamification is when you include game-like features in your learning experiences to make them more engaging. This usually includes elements like point scoring, competition, rewards, and characters.

AI tools such as Bunchball and Playable can help you include gamification more easily. For example, you can generate levels for different types of learners.

You can also build characters using tools such as Daz3D and Adobe Fuse.    


You know just how important it is to create learning experiences that any audience can engage with. Luckily, AI tools make creating accessible content much faster by:

Conversational AI

Conversational AI, which is often created with natural processing language (NLP), can be used to create interactive learning experiences, such as chatbots and virtual assistants. Learners get access to personalized assistance throughout their learning journey.

Examples of these tools can soon be found in software such as Articulate 360 and Adobe.  

Immersive learning

Immersive learning ​​simulates a real-world situation. For example, a simulation could help people retain safety instructions.

Such interactive experiences can be used to improve engagement, comprehension, and retention. They also help people understand how theoretical knowledge applies in practical situations.

For example, AI can be used to create virtual tutors who answer your questions at all times. AI can also help you create environments that adapt to a learner’s choices and mistakes. As a result, learners have a safe environment to experiment.

AI can also create immersive virtual worlds, especially when combined with VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality).

Assessment and feedback

Artificial intelligence tools can be used to grade assignments based on criteria such as content accuracy, structural organization, and critical thinking. This means you can provide learners with instant feedback throughout their journey.

As AI takes care of the time-consuming part of grading, you can go in and provide more specific and personalized feedback of your own; part of this can be based on the analytics reports we explored earlier in the article.  


With so many types of potential learning experiences to choose from, how do you decide which to prioritize? Try using AI tools.

Artificial intelligence analyzes learner data, such as learning preferences, skill gaps, and performance metrics; this helps you prioritize the learning experiences that are most relevant and beneficial.

For example, you can identify which topics or skills are most helpful for achieving particular learning objectives or which content types are most effective for specific learner groups. You can then allocate your time and resources more effectively.

Next, let’s take a look at the tools you can use to use AI in your work.

What are the best AI tools for instructional design?

According to our own research, the main AI tools instructional designers use are:

The reason IDs use these tools is to:

Take a look at these, and other, tools here below:

Want to learn more about how you can use AI in instructional design? Watch this short video:  

Will AI replace instructional designers?

Are you wondering, will AI take your instructional design job?

In the short term, no it won’t. Using the tools we explored in the last section, you could actually make more content in less time.

85.4% of IDs are actually not worried about losing their job to AI within the next three years, according to our research. 86% of freelancers say they’re not afraid of going out of business.

And, in fact, 79.1% of IDs say they’re excited about AI. 44.4% say they think AI will help them increase their income, while 38.3% say they don’t think AI will impact their income. 17.3% believe AI will impact their income negatively.

Your workload will probably look different. For example, you’ll spend less time doing hands-on work like writing and more time interviewing people and strategizing about content.

But right now, AI can’t reliably produce high-quality learning experiences alone and your involvement is completely needed.

In the longer term, it’s harder to say… But what we know is that it’s likely that AI will become ingrained with the systems we use for work as instructional designers. And while we can’t yet say exactly how this could look, you can future-proof your career by using AI tools wherever you can.  

I talk more about that here:

Next steps

There you have it!

Now you know how you can use AI in instructional design to start adapting to the changes in the industry. You also know which tools to use.

But while AI is, and will be, important for instructional designers, you also need to master other skills and software.  

So, if you want to learn more about becoming the best instructional designer you can be, check out my free checklist:

Devlin Peck
Devlin Peck
Devlin Peck is the founder of DevlinPeck.com, where he helps people build instructional design skills and break into the industry. He previously worked as a freelance instructional designer and graduated from Florida State University.
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