An Introduction to Instructional Design
The Instructional Design process provides a framework for thoroughly
planning, developing, and adapting instruction, based on learner needs
and content requirements. Although this process is essential in distance
education, where the instructor and students may share limited common
background and typically have minimal face-to-face contact, it is also
important in traditional classroom environments where new instructional
technology is being used to teach. Even though instructional development
models are plentiful, the majority follows the same basic categories of
design, development, evaluation, and revision. (Carey, 1990) The "ADDIE"
model, which stands for Analysis, Design,
and Evaluation, represents one of these basic
models of Instructional Design. For the purpose of this article, we will
take a closer look at this popular model and focus on the delivery aspect
Another important question centers on the various characteristics of the learners themselves. To better understand learners and their needs, one must consider their ages, cultural backgrounds, past experiences, interests and educational levels. The use of surveys can help in the planning process, but it is not always practical, as one often does not know their specific audience until they "show up for class" on the first day. In this case, taking some time early on to find out more about your audience might prove useful in order to "fine-tune" already established teaching strategies. Realize that this exploratory time is not only for you but can also be useful for students to learn and feel comfortable with each other and thus build trust and a community, which can also facilitate learning.
The second stage, which emerges from the analysis process, is concerned with the actual content: subject lesson planning (choosing the steps of instruction), media selection and producing any materials required for instruction in the given subject matter.
The ADDIE instructional design process suggests that designers specify objectives for their learners during this phase, as well as define criteria that will indicate mastery of those objectives (Krupar, 2002). The more specific the objectives, the more precise the design of the learning experiences available to satisfy the learner needs.
For example, in the design of a screenwriting course, this phase would entail defining specific performance-based learning objectives and assessment methods for work completed by students. Two sample objectives might be: (a) student can adapt a short story into a film, and (b) student can write a screenplay that uses no dialogue. During the design process, one might translate these learning objectives into the following lesson activity: Adapt one of Aesop's fables into a short film without using dialogue, except for the presentation of the moral at the end. In this case, having defined measurable learning objectives and specific tasks to accompany them, the next step would be to identify an assessment strategy.
Developing performance measures should always take into consideration the learners. "Instructional designers should usually develop performance measurements during or immediately following the preparation of performance objectives" (Wiley, 2001). As educators we need to make sure that learners are able to use the material being presented to them. Often times, we are able to assess students' understanding by the way they relate to a situation or when they indicate how something can be used. The development of performance objectives and, therefore, the development of its assessment are important. It gives us the reason to decide on the material that we will be using.
Development of learning materials and presentations is also part of this important phase. Whether it's designing a specific lesson, a comprehensive learning module, or a multimedia presentation, any content which serves to facilitate your students to effectively achieve established learning objectives needs to be developed during this stage. Also, taking into consideration diverse learning styles in developing your materials is not only good practice, but will also yield better understanding of materials.
Initial course implementation is important to the Instructional Design process, realizing that some "bugs" may need to be revised. Although, some instructional strategies might seem perfect during the development phase, you won't know for sure until you actually put them to the test. During this stage it is also important to be flexible, being that you may find it necessary to adjust a particular teaching strategy for more effectiveness. You should also prepare yourself for some drawbacks that cannot be rectified during the progress of your course - and this is okay - because it's sometimes better to just move on and save major changes for future offerings.
Fortunately, subsequent implementation of the same course can be less work, but it does however, require some continuous effort. Even teaching strategies, which seamlessly with a specific course section can have different, less desired outcomes, with a particular set of students. Again, flexibility becomes crucial to the design, or in this case redesign, process.
Throughout the entire ADDIE process, evaluation is a systematic approach that determines the quality and effectiveness of the Instructional Design, as well as the final instructional product. Note that evaluation is an ongoing process and should be actively conducted during each phase of the ADDIE model. There are two types of evaluation that should be utilized: formative and summative. Formative evaluation is part of each ADDIE phase and determines effectiveness and quality of each stage. Summative evaluation judges the worth of the entire course and will focus on measurable learner outcomes.
The use of an Instructional Design model, like the ADDIE model, provides a useful roadmap that ensures important aspects of course design are not overlooked when it matters most - before the course is delivered to students. These models assist a designer or instructor in taking a disciplined approach to identifying learning objectives, evaluating available resources, crafting appropriate lesson activities, and producing assessment tactics to ensure outcomes are measured. Learners usually don't notice good Instructional Design when it is present, but complain without hesitation when it is lacking. More importantly, with so many tools and so many approaches to course delivery, face-to-face or online, a thoughtful exercise in planning how learner time will be utilized in advance of delivery ensures better outcomes.
Dick, W., & Carey, L. (1990). The systematic design of instruction (3rd ed.). Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, and Company.
Krupar, Karen. (2002). Academy of Teaching Excellence, Metropolitan State College of Denver. Retrieved August 2002 from http://clem.mscd.edu/~schwarca/courseconstruct/addie-d.html
Wiley, (2001). University of Phoenix: Instructional design. [UOP Custom Edition]. New York, NY: Wiley.
Willis, B. (2002). Instructional development for distance education. Retrieved August 25,2002, from http://www.uidaho.edu/evo/dist3.html
"To better understand learners and their needs, one must consider their ages, cultural backgrounds, past experiences, interests and educational levels."
"Also, taking into consideration diverse learning styles in developing your materials is not only good practice, but will also yield better understanding of materials."
"Learners usually dont notice good Instructional
Design when it is present, but complain without hesitation when it is