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A Review of the Instructional Design Models

Written By onci on Sunday, March 4, 2012 | 6:12 PM

Before we discuss what instructional design models (IDM) are, it is important to first define itself. Its also referred to as Instructional Systems Design (ISD), is the process of creating instructional experiences that make the acquisition of knowledge and skill more efficient and effective. The instructional design discipline grew out of World War II, when the U.S. military needed to quickly train large numbers of personnel to perform various tasks.

While the terms Instructional Technology and Educational Technology are frequently used interchangeably, they are not exactly the same. The Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) defines Instructional technology as "the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning," while Educational Technology is defined as "study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources."

With the key definitions now out of the way, let us examine instructional design models. First, a model is a representation of a complex entity or phenomenon, whose purpose is to objective understanding of what it represents. Models help the designer to visualize the problem at hand, and to then to break it down into smaller, more manageable units.


It then follows that an instructional design model are frameworks for developing instruction that enhance learning outcomes and also encourages learners to gain a deeper level of understanding. In other words, IDM tells instructional designers how to organize pedagogical situations in order to achieve instructional goals. It is important to note that effective instructional models are based on learning and instructional theories.

Models are classified into prescriptive and descriptive. Prescriptive models provide guidelines to organize and structure instructional activities while descriptive models describe the learning environment and how it affects variables at play.

There are many instructional models that have been developed over the years, and most are based on the ADDIE model. ADDIE stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation.

This systematic IDM consists of five generic phases, which have been refined over the years in other models like the Dick and Carey Design Model and the Rapid Prototyping Model.

Common examples of these instructional models include:

    Merrill's First Principles of Instruction
    Bloom's Learning Taxonomy
    Kirkpatrick's 4 Levels of Training Evaluation
    Gagne's Nine Events of Instruction
    Kemp's IDM
    Keller's ARCS Model of Motivational Design (Attention, Relevance, Confidence, Satisfaction)
    ASSURE Model (Analyze Learners, State Objectives, Select Methods, Media, and Materials, Utilize Media and Materials, Require Learner Participation, and Evaluate and Revise)
    Smith and Ragan IDM
    Rapid Prototyping Model.

This of course is a non-exhaustive list.

Of importance to note is that in all models, the learner is (or should be) central to instruction. The learning context is also of importance to positive instructional outcomes. This includes instruction at all levels, i.e. K-12 education, adult learning, and higher education. Thus instructional design models are applicable to teachers, designers, trainers, and college level instructors mention a few.


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