Hypotheses: How They Can Help Instructional Designers Solve Problems

When faced with difficult problems, it is natural to seek solutions that can help us overcome them. These solutions are called hypotheses - propositions presented as possible solutions to a problem that suggest a way of achieving something. They can also represent an effort to explain how something works and are a guide to attempting to solve a problem.

A hypothesis is a provisional proposition and represents a guess. It can be seen as an initial idea that, when explored, can lead to more effective solutions. Often, when we are faced with a difficult solution, obstacle, or barrier of some kind, the first thing we do is think of something to escape the dilemma. Such guesses or ideas constitute hypotheses.

As we become more capable of suggesting possible solutions to our problem, we gain more confidence and become more independent in our work. Instead of relying on others for guidance, we suggest guidance through a guiding hypothesis.

For instructional designers, it is essential to know how to formulate and use hypotheses. When presenting a problem to professionals, the instructional designer often asks them to suggest several ways to solve it. They write down such hypotheses, and the professionals should consider each one or some combination of them. The professionals try to predict what would happen if each one were tried and what the consequences could be. This constitutes an intellectual and initial verification of the idea.

If, with this examination, one or several hypotheses seem correct, further steps can be taken. We can have hypotheses about solutions; we can also have hypotheses about data sources, about the time needed to solve a problem, about the availability of personnel or budget, about the relative values that should be discussed with different problems.

The imaginary projection of possible solutions to a problematic situation is a way of provoking thought, and it is difficult to doubt its effectiveness. Those who use this type of task find it an interesting challenge for professionals. They also find that it accentuates thought.

Tips for Formulating and Using Hypotheses in Learning Solutions

To formulate and use hypotheses effectively, here are some tips for instructional designers:

  1. Understand the problem - Before starting to formulate hypotheses, it is important that you fully understand the problem at hand. This will help ensure that the formulated hypotheses effectively address the problem.
  2. Be creative - Formulating hypotheses requires creativity. Encourage your team to think outside the box and present innovative solutions to the problem.
  3. Ask questions - Ask questions of the involved professionals to help formulate more accurate hypotheses. Questions can help define the problem more clearly and discover information that may be useful for formulating effective hypotheses.
  4. Test your hypotheses - After formulating hypotheses, it is important to test them to verify their effectiveness. The professionals should consider each of the hypotheses and try to predict their consequences. This intellectual and initial verification of the idea can help determine if a hypothesis is effective.
  5. Be flexible - If a hypothesis proves ineffective, be open to adjusting it or abandoning it completely. Formulating hypotheses is an iterative process that requires flexibility to change direction when necessary.


Hypotheses are a valuable tool for instructional designers in their quest for solutions to difficult problems. By formulating hypotheses, professionals can suggest possible solutions, predict their consequences, and verify if they are correct. This can lead to more effective solutions and an increase in confidence and independence in work. It is important that instructional designers understand the importance of hypotheses and know how to formulate and use them effectively.