Posted: February 26th, 2023
Prior to this assignment, read Chapter 1 in Brown and Green (2020). In addition, review Clark (1995), Culatta (n.d.-a) and Kurt (2017). You have been hired by a company as an external consultant to help create a structured process for designing and development training. As of now, the company does not have a process in place. As a starting point, you want to introduce the ADDIE model to the team as it contains all the key phases that you believe should be incorporated into an instructional design process. The current training manager likes this idea and asks you to put together a presentation. Using PowerPoint, or another presentation tool of your choosing, create a presentation that.
· Presents the five phases of the ADDIE model.
· States what occurs in each phase.
· Explains why each phase is important.
· Describes examples of what deliverables would be expected in each phase.
· Identifies the stakeholders who would be involved in each phase.
· Describes which of the five phases may be influenced the most by diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and explains why. Use the following
Download DEI definitions
when completing this section.
The ADDIE Model assignment
· Must be at least five slides in length (not including title and references pages) and formatted according to APA Style as outlined in the Writing Center’s
Links to an external site.
· Must use at least three relevant images
· Must display an organized visual layout
· Must include a separate title slide with the following:
· Title of the paper
· Student’s name
· Course name and number
· Instructor’s name
· Date submitted
· For further assistance with the formatting and the title page, refer to
APA Formatting for Microsoft Word
Links to an external site.
· Must utilize academic voice. See the
Links to an external site.
resource for additional guidance.
· Must use at least two scholarly, peer-reviewed, or otherwise credible sources in addition to the course text.
Scholarly, Peer Reviewed, and Other Credible Sources
Links to an external site.
table offers additional guidance on appropriate source types. If you have questions about whether a specific source is appropriate for this assignment, please contact your instructor. Your instructor has the final say about the appropriateness of a specific source for a particular assignment.
· Must document any information used from sources in APA Style as outlined in the Writing Center’s
APA: Citing Within Your Paper
Links to an external site.
· Must include a separate references page that is formatted according to APA Style as outlined in the Writing Center. See the
AP: Formatting Your References List
Links to an external site.
resource in the Writing Center for specifications.
The Discipline of Instructional Design
People have been instructing each other since people have existed. Showing an infant how to speak; explaining to an
apprentice how an axe head is forged; guiding a daughter’s hands as she attempts to make a clay pot—humans have been
teaching each other for a long time.
Instruction can be a casual event. It can be as simple as answering a question such as, “How did you do that?” Instruction
can also be carefully planned. It can encompass a course of study that concludes with students receiving a diploma or
certificate marking the achievement. It is the history and current state of instruction brought about through careful planning—
the discipline of instructional design—that we will examine in this chapter.
What is an instructional designer?
How did the discipline of instructional design develop?
What is an instructional design/development model?
How has general systems theory affected instructional design?
How does the historical and philosophical postmodern approach affect instructional design?
ADDIE model (page 8)
behavioristic (page 15)
educational psychology (page 5)
general systems theory (page 4)
positivistic (page 17)
postmodernism (page 17)
rapid prototyping (page 19)
Taking a logical and structured approach to the process of developing, delivering, and evaluating instruction and instructional
materials has been popular among scholars and practitioners for over a century. Several models have been developed to help
explain the processes of instruction as well as the process of designing and developing materials for instruction. This chapter
provides an overview of instructional design from its beginnings in the late 19th century, through its blossoming in conjunction
with the development of general systems theory, up to a present-day postmodern look at how instructional design (ID)
continues to develop. This chapter also describes the essential processes of instructional design as they are articulated through
traditional ID models and examines the potential of nontraditional models, describing rapid prototyping in particular as an
innovative ID approach.
A Historian’s View of Instructional Design
No particular event or date marks the beginning of a modern science and technology of instruction. Yet it is clear that at the
beginning of the 20th century there occurred a series of related events that together might be interpreted as the beginning
of a science of instruction.
William James (1842–1910), for example, in his book, Talks to Teachers on Psychology, makes one of the first
distinctions between the art and the science of teaching, calling for a scientific approach to instruction. Similarly, also in
1901, John Dewey (1859–1952) interpreted a method of empirical science in educational terms, viewing the classroom as
an experimental laboratory. In 1902, Edward Thorndike (1874–1949) offered the first course in educational measurements
at Columbia University and became the first to apply the methods of quantitative research to instructional problems. G.
Stanley Hall (1846–1924) published his Adolescence (1904), a landmark in the scientific study of the child. The French
psychologist Alfred Binet (1857–1911) and Théodore Simon, his collaborator, published A Method of Measuring the
Intelligence of Young Children (1905). Moreover, a true science of behavior, and especially of learning theory, began to
emerge, no longer based primarily on metaphysical or philosophical speculation. This new science and learning theory
would eventually be applied to a technology of instruction.
Paul Saettler The Evolution of American Educational Technology (1990, p. 53)
What is Instructional Design?
The ritual dance around the fire at the front of the cave depicting the hunting and killing of a large animal may be one of
mankind’s earliest forms of designed instruction. The hunters of the group had to find ways to teach other potential hunters the
process of stalking and bringing down a large animal. Creating a dramatic display that described the procedures for the hunt in
a ritualized fashion captured the group’s attention and provided them with a stylized presentation of how hunting worked. This
type of instructional design—based on inspiration and creativity—remained prevalent for millennia. However, the science of
instructional design is relatively new.
Throughout history, a number of individuals gave careful thought to the design of instruction. For example, the scholar
Comenius (1592–1671) was among the first to plan for the use of visual aids in teaching. Comenius’s Orbis sensualum pictus
(The Visible World Pictured) was the first illustrated textbook designed for children’s use in an instructional setting (Heinich,
Molenda, Russell, & Smaldino, 1996). Until the late 1800s, however, there was no organization that gathered this kind of work
together, offered like-minded individuals a forum for discussion on the topic, or sought to continue its development.
At the beginning of the 20th century, John Dewey—one of our most influential educators—called for a linking science
between what is known about how people learn and the practice of delivering instruction (Dewey, 1900). At the time, this was
a radical thought. Before the mid-1800s, there was no educational science with which to link.
There had been no organization devoted to the study of how people learn or how to study methods of delivering instruction.
Although there had been scattered attempts to improve instruction throughout history, no specific discipline had emerged to
guide these efforts. Education-oriented organizations existed to protect and direct the curriculum and content of the instruction,
but very little attention was paid to how instruction might be made more effective. The psychology of education—how the
learner learned—was a school of thought in search of an organizing body. With the formation of the American Psychological
Association in 1892, the discipline of educational psychology began.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, education was still very much the province of those with religious backgrounds and
training (Berliner, 1993). It is important to keep in mind that teachers were originally members of the clergy and that, prior to
World War I, one of the main purposes of education in the United States was to ensure that people could read passages from
the Bible. It was not easy to convince those who believed education to be a moral and philosophical endeavor that scientific
methods might be employed to improve educational processes. With the establishment of the discipline of educational
psychology, however, educators interested in improving instructional practice through scientific means found both a home
organization and like-minded fellows to report to and hear from.
With the formation of the land-grant universities in the late 1800s (each state was entitled by the federal government to form
its own university within the state’s borders) and the subsequent need to determine what constituted college readiness on the
part of an individual, educational psychologists were called on to develop valid and reliable tests and measures of academic
achievement. For example, the Scholastic Achievement Test (or SAT, now known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test) was first
offered in 1901 and is to some extent an indicator of a trend toward the scientific testing of the learner to determine the
appropriate next course of action in his or her education.
By 1915, the application of scientific methods to the solution of educational problems had won out among the leaders in
American education, setting the stage for the development of Dewey’s linking science, which scholars such as Snellbecker
(1974) suggest is the discipline of instructional design. Educators began to develop an experimental view of instruction. Along
with testing students to see what they knew, the newly organized discipline of educational psychology devised tests for the
purpose of discovering whether the instruction worked. The traditional approach had been for an educator to focus completely
on the information that should be included in the lesson; instructional design demanded that the educator add to that some
consideration for how the information was to be organized and presented based on what is known about the learners and their
As the century progressed and more scholars focused their attention on the science of designing instruction, educational
psychology blossomed into university departments and international organizations that reported and discussed research in the
field. The discipline of instructional design is directly descended from educational psychology. In the 1950s, the discipline was
more completely articulated as part of a concerted effort to professionalize the audiovisual field. At this time the scholar Jim
Finn described the modern instructional design profession as something separate from both educational psychology and
audiovisual specialists (Sugar, 2014). Although some scholars argue that it is not actually a field of its own but rather a sub-
activity within educational psychology, instructional design can point to its own university departments and international
organizations as indicators that it is now indeed a separate and distinct discipline.
As a linking science, instructional design is a discipline that constantly looks to the findings of other disciplines (e.g.,
cognitive psychology, communication) to study and improve methods of developing, delivering, and evaluating instruction and
According to Smith and Ragan (2005, p. 4), instructional design may be currently defined as “the systematic and reflective
process of translating principles of learning and instruction into plans for instructional materials, activities, information
resources, and evaluation.”
The Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State University is attributed with developing a four-part definition of
instructional design (University of Michigan, 2003).
Instructional Design as a Process
Instructional design is the systematic development of instructional specifications using learning and instructional theory to
ensure the quality of instruction. It is the entire process of analysis of learning needs and goals and the development of a
delivery system to meet those needs. It includes development of instructional materials and activities, and tryout and
evaluation of all instruction and learner activities.
Instructional Design as a Discipline
Instructional design is that branch of knowledge concerned with research and theory about instructional strategies and the
process for developing and implementing those strategies.
Instructional Design as a Science
Instructional design is the science of creating detailed specifications for the development, implementation, evaluation, and
maintenance of situations that facilitate the learning of both large and small units of subject matter at all levels of
Instructional Design as Reality
Instructional design can start at any point in the design process. Often a glimmer of an idea is developed to give the core of
an instruction situation. By the time the entire process is done the designer looks back and she or he checks to see that all
parts of the “science” have been taken into account. Then the entire process is written up as if it occurred in a systematic
An instructional designer’s job is to create something that enables a person or group of people to learn about a particular
topic or develop or improve a set of skills, or to encourage the learner to conduct further study. The “something” created can
take many forms: a lecture, a multimedia presentation, the curriculum for a year’s study, a piece of computer software, an in-
person demonstration, or a test-preparation booklet. The list is almost endless. However, everything an instructional designer
creates has something in common with all other instructional designs: the designer has identified a need for instruction and
decided on a method for delivering that instruction. Most instructional designs (the best ones, we would argue, and the ones
that follow the precepts of the discipline as it is currently defined by its governing organizations) also have a strategy for
evaluating whether the instruction produced and delivered achieved the desired effect as well as how the design might be
Instructional design advocates making use of the available research on how people think, how people learn, the technologies
available for communication (information technologies), and methods of analysis. An instructional design is the practical
application of this knowledge to create a situation where learning is most likely to effectively occur.
As scholars and practitioners have examined the process of developing, delivering, and evaluating instruction, they have
devised several models to explain the process; these models are intended to help instructional designers perform their job
better. It is important to be aware of the more popular models and to be cognizant of special cases that are currently a topic of
discussion within the instructional design community. It is perhaps even more important to understand the big picture of
designing instruction for a particular situation in terms that go beyond the application of any one instructional design model or
adherence to any one instructional design theory. Hokanson and Gibbons (2014) observe, “Design involves dealing with
uncertainties, and designers must not only learn to deal with uncertainty but embrace and use uncertainty as a tool to propel
optimal design solutions” (p. 11). To become a well-rounded instructional designer today, one must be able to take a broad
view of the ideas and practices that define the field.
Probably the most popular approach to designing instruction is to follow some variation of what is essentially a three-step
1. Analyze the situation to determine what instruction is necessary and what steps need to be taken to deliver that
2. Produce and implement the instructional design.
3. Evaluate the results of implementing the instructional design.
One of the most popular descriptions of this process is ADDIE, an acronym that divides the three steps described above into
five actions: analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate. ADDIE is not really a specific instructional
design/development model but an illustration of the conceptual components of many instructional design/development models.
(See “A Special Case: ADDIE,” later in this chapter.)
Another view of the instructional design process in general is described in David Merrill’s “first principles of instruction”
(2002, 2013). Merrill (2002, pp. 44–45) suggests there are five basic principles that hold true for the design of any instruction.
The first principles of instruction state that learning is promoted when:
learners are engaged in solving real-world problems;
existing knowledge is activated as a foundation for new knowledge;
new knowledge is demonstrated to the learner;
new knowledge is applied by the learner;
new knowledge is integrated into the learner’s world.
As practitioners of a linking science, instructional designers have become adept at examining and making use of ideas
developed by a wide variety of specializations. Students of instructional design learn from other disciplines, sometimes
borrowing development models created for activities that are similar to designing instruction (for example, software
development, which shares the common purpose of creating something of use and usable to people). There is a tradition within
the discipline of instructional design of taking a systematic approach and following accepted protocols for development.
However, at this point in time (what many refer to as the postmodern world), the instructional designer may also take an
eclectic approach, borrowing ideas and strategies from a variety of unconventional sources.
Models of Instructional Design/Development
Models by definition are reflections of reality—temporary stand-ins for something more specific and real. Models are helpful
in explaining things that may be difficult to describe. However, it must be remembered that any model is just a shadow or
reflection of the real thing. A model may describe commonalities among a number of similar items; a model may illustrate a
process; a model may be a representation of something.
A “model home” in a new housing development will not be exactly like every home, but the model serves to give the
potential buyer a pretty good idea of what is available for sale.
Participation in “model Congress” and “model United Nations” activities give students an opportunity to better
understand how the real organizations work, even though they are not the same as participating in the actual UN or
Hobbyists build model trains, automobiles, and planes. These models are usually significantly smaller and do not operate
in exactly the same way as the original item.
In a professional setting, good models can be helpful tools. They offer guidelines and can ensure a level of quality and
uniformity by providing a means of comparison. Well-considered models of instructional design and development can perform
this task, helping to explain in general the instructional design process in a way that can be applied to a number of specific
Several well-established and respected models for instructional design/development provide guidelines and procedures that
can be applied to a wide variety of specific situations. Using these models to design and develop instruction can help to
significantly reduce costs in training and education (Nixon & Lee, 2001).
We have selected—and next describe—two of the most famous models of instructional design/development with which
every instructional designer should become familiar: Dick and Carey’s systems approach model and Kemp, Morrison, and
Ross’s plan. These models are intended to guide the instructional designer through the ADDIE process—analysis, design,
development, implementation, and evaluation—which is discussed after the two models.
The Systems Approach Model for Designing Instruction
Dick and Carey’s systems approach model (see Figure 1.1) is a classic example of performing an instructional design task
systematically. At the time it was developed, taking into consideration components of the instructional context—such as the
learners and the environment in which the instruction was to be offered—was a significant departure from the more traditional
approach of presenting information through some combination of lecture, textbook reading, review, and testing. With the
traditional approach, the burden is placed squarely on the learners to do the best they can with the content, and little thought is
given to adjusting or improving the instruction itself. Dick and Carey’s model was designed to emphasize the importance of
examining and refining the instruction and provides guidance for making improvements. (Dick, Carey, & Carey, 2015.)
Figure 1.1 Dick and Carey’s Instructional Systems Design Model
Source: Dick, Alter, Carey, Lou, Cary, James O, Systematic Design of Instruction, the loose-leaf version, 8th ed. © (2015).
Reprinted by permission of Pearson Education, Inc. New York, New York.
Kemp, Morrison, and Ross’s Instructional Design Plan
The Kemp, Morrison, and Ross plan (see Figure 1.2) is expressed as nine elements.
1. Identify instructional problems and specify goals for designing instruction.
2. Examine learner characteristics that will influence your instructional decisions.
3. Identify subject content and analyze task components related to stated goals and purposes.
4. Specify the instructional objectives.
5. Sequence content within each instructional unit for logical learning.
6. Design instructional strategies so that each learner can master the objectives.
7. Plan the instructional message and develop the instruction.
8. Develop evaluation instruments to assess the objectives.
9. Select resources to support instruction and learning activities.
(Morrison et al., 2013, pp. 7–8)
Figure 1.2 Morrison, Ross and Kemp’s Instructional Design Plan
Source: Morrison et al., Designing Effective Instruction, “Components of the instructional design plan” p. 12, Designing Effective
Instruction, 7th Edition © (2013). Reproduced by permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
One interesting aspect of this design plan is that it is not illustrated as a specific sequence. According to Morrison, Ross, and
Kemp (2004), each of the nine elements of development are presented in an oval pattern without lines or arrows pointing the
way, because each element may be addressed at any time while developing the instruction.
Merrill’s Pebble-in-the-Pond Model
Earlier, we mentioned David Merrill’s first principles of instruction. He named the model he developed to reflect these
principles the Pebble-in-the-Pond model (Merrill, 2013); it articulates six design phases.
1. Design a problem.
2. Design a progression of problems.
3. Design instruction for component skills.
4. Design instructional strategy enhancements.
5. Finalize the instructional design.
6. Design assessment and evaluation.
(Merrill, 2013, p. 249)
A significant difference between Merrill’s Pebble-in-the-Pond model and other instructional design models is that avoids
creating objectives before developing instructional content. In most instructional design models, developing detailed
instructional objectives is one of the first things accomplished after the initial analysis phase and determining instructional
goals. Merrill suggests avoiding writing objectives early in the process because he maintains they tend to change as the
instruction is developed. Merrill’s model is so named because he contends that the first step in the instructional design process
is to create or envision, “an instance that represents the whole problem that learners will be able to solve following the
instruction” (Merrill, 2013, p. 254). That instance of instruction is the pebble thrown into the pond, the ripples from which are
the subsequent steps taken in the design process.
Successive Approximation Model
Michael Allen’s Successive Approximation Model (SAM) follows the essential pattern of instructional design models: evaluate
→ design → develop. The SAM model, however, places greater stress on the iterative nature of each step in the process (Allen
& Sites, 2012). This is sometimes referred to as an example of agile learning design. The SAM is derived from the agile
software development process, which focuses on the development of working product through iterative and incremental
development among collaborate teams of specialists (Allen & Sites 2012; Wikipedia, 2014).
A Special Case: ADDIE
One of the most commonly used descriptions of instructional design/development is ADDIE. ADDIE is an acronym for
analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate (see Figure 1.3). Although many ID practitioners use ADDIE as a
prescriptive model for developing instruction, it is actually a means of describing the essential components of any instructional
design model (Molenda, 2003).
Figure 1.3 The ADDIE Model of Instructional Design
Scholars generally agree that ADDIE is an illustration of the essential steps of the instructional design/development process
(Molenda, 2003; Reiser & Dempsey, 2002). ADDIE is particularly useful as a framework for comparing and contrasting more
formally and completely developed instructional design/development models.
The models described and ADDIE are intended to guide individuals through the process of creating and evaluating instruction.
Each model articulates the steps involved in creating an instructional intervention differently, and these are only a few of the
many instructional design models scholars have created through the years. Often, an instructional designer makes use of a
specific model because it is popular within his or her professional setting. Gibbons (2014) points out that simple instructional
design models (we might define simple models as those that can be presented easily on a single sheet of paper) were developed
out of practical necessity; however, in their simplicity, these models do not adequately reflect the true nature of a systems
approach, which is actually a collection of problem-solving methods and not a single formula. The models we describe briefly
in this chapter are not intended as lock-step procedures for designing instruction; the creators of each model point out that each
step in their model is actually an intricate, iterative process of analysis, design, development, and evaluation. As you begin
your study of instructional design, bear in mind that models of instructional design/development are helpful guides to the
process, but no single model should be considered a lock-step recipe for creating instruction, nor is any one model the only
correct way to design instruction.
Professional Instructional Design Practice
Deciding how to design and develop instruction often depends on the organizational setting in which the instructional design
professional finds him or herself. Organizations that have established traditions of delivering instruction may demand that
certain forms be followed. For example, universities in North America and Europe traditionally require that for each course
offered, a syllabus be created beforehand and students receive evaluation in the form of letter grades (an evaluation strategy
developed at Cambridge University in the early 1800s). University courses traditionally require weekly three-hour meetings (or
semiweekly 1.5-hour meetings). These requirements necessarily affect the way college professors design their instruction.
K-12 environments are under different but similar constraints. Designers who create instruction for K-12 school settings
(this would include teachers, textbook writers, educational software manufactures, etc.) must work within the constraints of a
system that has a specific timeframe (in the United States, typically 182 days of school, with approximately seven hours of
instruction each day beginning with the first grade), assigned curriculum (established by state and local authorities), and
evaluation procedures that include the awarding of letter grades and promotion to grade levels.
Nonacademic organizations have their own traditions and requirements for instructional design. For example, the US
military has a tradition of using specific theories and development models to guide instructional design activity. During the
20th century, the US military offered instructional designers numerous opportunities to contribute to the knowledge base of the
discipline; military actions that required the massing of troops from a civilian population also required that those troops receive
training for their new roles. In peacetime, military personnel must receive training on a variety of highly technical, demanding,
and dangerous tasks for which public school and college has not prepared them. These models continue to be used as
protocols, allowing designers to develop instruction efficiently and (it is hoped) effectively.
In their white paper on instructional design in higher education, authors Elaine Beirne and Matthew Romanoski describe
instructional design as, “a dynamic and fluid field” (2018, p. 5). Instructional designers come from a variety of backgrounds
with a variety of professional experiences. The results of a research study conducted by Intentional Futures (2016) found that
today’s professional instructional designers are highly and diversely educated; most of them have masters degrees and over
thirty percent have earned doctoral degrees. In his review of instructional design practices, William Sugar (2014) identifies
many common activities in which most instructional designers engage. These include writing learning objectives and selecting
Today, most instructional design teams consist of a variety of specialists including artists, writers, subject-matter experts,
programmers, project managers, assessment specialists, and evaluators (Gibbons, 2014; Green & Brown, 2002). At the same
time, many teachers, human-resource specialists and media producers design and produce instruction on their own or in very
small groups. The approach you take to designing instruction will of course depend heavily on your professional setting and
Traditional Approaches (Analyze, Develop, Evaluate)
What are generally considered traditional approaches to instructional design are in fact based on relatively recent developments
in the theory of how people think about the way the world works. In the 1950s, the basic concepts and principles of a general
theory of systems were established by scholars (notably Ashby, Bertalanffy, Boulding, Fagen, Gerard, Rappaport, and Weinner)
who were, at the time, pioneers of a new method of thinking about how people and things operate (Banathy, 1996; Banathy &
Jenlink, 2004). One critical argument was Bertalanffy’s observation that modern science was becoming increasingly
specialized and that people therefore perceived science not as an integrated realm but rather as a series of small specializations
that operated using their own premises, techniques, and structures. The goal of general systems theory (GST) is to explain the
common elements of the theoretical constructions of the various scientific disciplines.
General systems theory is similar to the search for a unified field theory in physics. Currently in the scientific discipline of
physics, there are theories that seem to successfully explain how the universe works at the submicroscopic level
(electromagnetic forces), and there are theories that seem to successfully explain how the universe works on a larger level
(gravitational forces). However, the two sets of theories cannot be put together into one logical theory that explains how the
universe works on every level. The unified field theory is what physicists hope will explain the fundamental interactions of the
physical universe, both electromagnetic and gravitational. Work on the GST is in some ways the social scientists’ version of a
unified field theory; the GST is what they hope will explain—in general—how systems work, regardless of the specific setting.
The quest for a unified field theory can also be used as an example of how little is known about the world. In physics,
various theories are used for practical purposes to explain and predict phenomena, but physicists are still working to discover
“the truth” about how the physical world works. Like physicists, educators use a variety of theories to explain and predict how
learning and instruction work. However, no educational theory is universally accepted, and no one knows “the absolute truth”
about instruction and learning environments.
The academic community was deeply influenced by the ideas put forth by systems theory. That influence continues to this
day; most people take for granted the concept that much of what occurs in the world is influenced by—and in turn influences
—actions and events that may not seem at first related to each other. One more modern and extreme example is chaos theory,
which was popularized by the idea that the beating of a butterfly’s wings in the Amazon has an effect on the amount of rainfall
Newfoundland receives in a year.
In examining a systems approach to designing instruction, Hoban (1977) wrote:
In any system, everything is related to everything else, sooner or later and in one way or another. This means that every essential
element, factor, or component, and some seemingly inconsequential ones, can seriously affect the final product, outcome, or output of
the system. What media people do or don’t do not only affects other people in the system but the quality of the output of the entire
system. This follows from general systems theory.
(Gleick, 1987, p. 71)
Systems theory caused educators to examine how the various factors that influence learning interact to create a complete
instructional experience. How the learner thinks, what the learner knows prior to the instructional event, what motivates the
learner, how the teacher teaches, what the consequences of evaluation are, and many other factors became objects of
consideration. This once-innovative approach to instruction has become the modern standard.
A systems approach to instructional design is the modern approach. The word “modern” in this case refers to the period in
history called the “modern age” (the age of approaching problems logically and scientifically, solving those problems
systematically using new and innovative technologies). One school of thought argues that the current era is a postmodern age
(Hlynka, 1995, 2004). It is postmodern because scholars can identify and describe the reasons for “modern” approaches.
Whether experts agree or disagree with the approaches and the reasoning behind them, once they are identified and described,
they are relegated to a specific time period; the current generation is outside of that time period—hence, the term
The discipline of instructional design blossomed at a time when systems thinking was a dominating force in the scientific
and academic community. For this reason, it is often referred to as “instructional systems design” or “instructional systems
technology.” Instructional systems design is used primarily to teach adult learners and is based on a mastery approach (a
student may move on to the next task only after he or she has mastered the previous one). This approach is behavioristic in that
it works only for instruction that is immediately measurable (the ability to perform a task) and requires that the instruction
follow from a specific behavioral objective (for example, “At the end of the instruction, the student will be able to take apart
and put together a carburetor”).
The ISD [instructional systems design] model begins at the curriculum level with analysis of content, definition of overall objectives,
delineation of sequences and subsequences of the curriculum. It proceeds with the selection of instructional methods and media,
designing individual lessons to enhance learner mastery of the objectives, developing delivery systems for the individual lessons, and
ends with evaluation of the lessons and the entire instructional system. Evaluation in ISD emphasizes measurement of observable target
(Alessi & Trollip, 2001, p. 18)
Instructional systems design has been criticized as generating models that are too complex to use effectively and focusing too
much on strictly observable (behavioral) outcomes without addressing the more subtle aspects of learning that include
reflection, retention, and motivation (Alessi & Trollip, 2001). Having shifted from placing all responsibility on the learner
without regard for the design of the instruction, teaching had shifted to a point where the learner was becoming an overlooked
portion of the instructional design process.
In the 1980s and 1990s, instructional design theorists began to develop models that include approaches that diverge from the
strictly behavioral. Cognitive and constructive approaches became topics of discussion and research (Alessi & Trollip, 2001;
Professionals in Practice
Where do the roots of my ID philosophy come? The first one comes from my undergraduate study of mathematics. I believe
that many concepts of mathematics are helpful for instructional technologists. I am particularly under the influence of the
concepts of chaos theory while working on any ID project. Unfortunately, I am not the inventor of this idea. This connection
between chaos theory and ID was already realized by other researchers in our field (e.g., Jonassen, 1990; You, 1993). Why
is chaos theory important for me, and why is it a part of my ID approach? Here is a quick summary.
Several researchers agree that the traditional systems approach to problem-solving has a reductionist nature, and it
tends to solve a problem by fragmentation—one stage at a time (Finegan, 1994; Jonassen, 1990; You, 1993). This
approach may work for some small-scale and well-defined situations. However, the systems associated with human activity
are complex and not well-defined. According to Jonassen (1990), “simple systems behave in simple ways, and complex
systems behave in complex and less predictive ways. The behavior of a system cannot be examined accurately by
analyzing its components” (p. 34). As an alternative to a linear, reductionist, and deterministic approach, chaos or the
dynamical systems approach is proposed. In a complex system, “the components are related and interlock with one
another such that a change in one component invariably affects another part of the system, or eventually even the entire
system” (Murnare, cited in Chieuw, 1991, p. 25). Gordon and Greenspan explain chaos as the study of disorder, and it
appears in nonlinear systems (as cited in King, 1991). Because Chaos deals with nonlinear and disorderly systems, many
disciplines—including technological, social, and economic—are appropriate for applying its principles. As stated by
Highsmith (2000), “from physics to biology to chemistry to evolution, complex adaptive systems theory began to help
explain occurrences in the real world that the linear approximations of the old science could not” (p. 10). According to King
(1991), for many different disciplines, chaos gives new data, suggests innovative approaches to old ideas, and reaffirms
certain approaches. Before proceeding further, in order not to cause a misunderstanding, it is better to state that nonlinear
systems are not completely disorderly systems. As stated by Chieuw (1991), such systems have an interconnected nature,
and a subtle order is always present.
Actually, instructional systems design (ISD) is inherently a complex process, which some instructional designers have
already noted. For example, Appelman (2000) states that in real life, when experts implement the ISD process, they realize
that the linear approach does not work. He says, “It appears to be almost a random pattern of attention being focused on
different steps of the process out of order” (p. 137). So, it is not wrong to say that ISD is a chaos-based system.
Kursat Cagiltay, Professor at Turkey’s Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Department of Computer Education and
Eclecticism and Postmodern Approaches
We have offered a general definition for the term “postmodern”: after the historical period referred to as “modern.” However,
the guiding principles of postmodern thought are far more difficult to define. Postmodernism is concurrently an historical
epoch, an intellectual movement, and a general social condition (Hlynka, 2004; Solomon, 2000).
A postmodern approach to instructional design recognizes that the instructional designer must take four societal factors into
1. Society is past the point where there are a limited number of authorities available to a classroom student. The modern
classroom had two authoritative sources: the teacher and the textbook. This situation no longer exists because students
have access to many other sources, including the Internet, television, and, in some cases, friends and family who are
more educated than the teacher (Hlynka, 1995).
2. No longer can there be an agreed-upon, single type of well-educated individual. Determining a curriculum and including
all important artistic and scientific works that would be appropriate for all individuals is impossible.
3. The currently popular cognitive paradigm—constructivism—does not recognize or advocate a traditional, linear
educational sequence. With information available from a variety of sources outside the classroom, learners will
inevitably deviate from a linear instructional model by observing and reacting to other examples, non-examples, and
divergent examples of the concepts they study in school.
4. No single, objective truth exists. Truth is a construct that is based on an individual’s personal interpretation or on the
consensus of a group of people for their purposes. The truth—also known as “the right answer”—may change depending
on the context and the individuals involved.
Postmodernism may also be referred to as “postpositivism” because the “modern” approach was positivistic. In a positivistic
worldview, any problem has only one correct answer; postpositivism suggests that any one problem may have a number of
different correct answers depending on the worldview of the person attempting to derive the answer.
According to Solomon (2000, p. 423), a postmodern philosophy of instructional design has the following tenets at its core.
The philosophical core of postmodern instructional technology is a belief in pluralism, which can be described as respect
for difference and resistance to single explanations.
Knowledge, truth, and reality are constructed by people and groups of people.
Criticism is an appropriate method for inquiry in instructional technology.
Systems are interpreted as highly complex entities with adaptive qualities.
According to the postmodern approach, completely isolating the learner or the instructional event may not be possible.
Furthermore, isolating the process of instructional development to apply a traditional instructional design/development model
in the way it was originally intended may not be possible.
Postmodernism in instructional design does not necessarily reject the more traditional systems approach. To some extent,
postmodern thought suggests only that the system may be far more complex than anyone had originally thought.
Postmodernism coincides with the proliferation of computing tools that allow individuals a greater degree of freedom in
creating sophisticated printed work and interactive software. Before the availability of desktop publishing and multimedia
authoring programs, creating high-quality instructional media was the province of specialists. The ubiquity and popularity of
programs such as Microsoft’s PowerPoint attest to the fact that everyone now considers him or herself competent to create and
deliver media that is adequate for professional presentation and distribution. Prior to the mid-1980s, an individual had to rely
on a trained specialist with access to esoteric tools to create materials such as handouts, brochures, slide presentations, videos,
and interactive software.
Instructional designers became aware of the limitations of a systems approach around the same time they came into control
of tools that would allow them to design and create instructional media without having to entirely rely on those who
specialized in the development and production portion of the instructional design/development process. Access to these new
computing tools meant that the process of creating mockups, prototypes, and finished products became less costly and time-
consuming. One concern about all this newfound flexibility in creating instructional media is that it can lead to slipshod
Experienced designers and typographers were appalled that so many people (including some of their longtime clients) could be
hoodwinked into thinking that the results of “dumping text” into page layout templates and “copying and pasting” clip-art were
synonymous with expert design. Although professionals tacitly knew that quality design and illustration were not just a “click” away,
very few of them could characterize their expertise in ways that nondesigners could appreciate.
(Schriver, 1997, p. 43)
This awareness that a person might not have to follow a systems model to the letter and that an individual had the power to
create the necessary media with his or her laptop computer leads instructional designers to experiment more with
nontraditional approaches. It can easily lead them to take an eclectic approach, picking and choosing the better aspects of any
number of design procedures and recommended practices.
An eclectic approach allows the designer to choose specific elements from a variety of sources. This approach can be
viewed both as “taking the best there is to offer” and “taking things out of context.” It is easy to see why this approach might
make scholars of instructional design uncomfortable; if not carefully considered, articulated, and evaluated, the linking science
that so many worked to create might be seen as changing to a less rigorous, less scientifically sound activity.
However, just as some well-established, dedicated educators were dismayed at the advent of a science of instructional design
at the end of the 19th century, some well-established, dedicated instructional designers are dismayed at the advent of a change
in the science of instructional design at the beginning of the 21st century. A heightened awareness of the greater complexity of
systems and the new, increasingly ubiquitous, computer-based media production tools have created a situation in which
instructional designers must adapt their views and practices.
Example: Rapid Prototyping
Rapid prototyping is a different approach to the design and development of instruction. It represents a relatively recent
paradigm shift in instructional design because it does not strictly follow the traditional systems process of design and
development. Part of the conversation among instructional designers for more than two decades, rapid prototyping is a
development approach used in a variety of professions and has been found particularly useful in engineering-oriented activities
(e.g., automobiles are designed by creating a series of testable prototypes). The essential idea behind rapid prototyping is to
arrive at a final product through the creation of a number of prototypes. Each prototype is evaluated by some combination of
experts and end users; each successive prototype is more like the final product; that is, the fidelity of the prototypes increases
with each new one until a working product is achieved.
For example, a typical set of prototypes developed in the process of creating a working piece of instructional software might
rough pencil sketches;
refined pencil sketches;
computer-generated printouts (a paper mockup);
a computer-based prototype with little or no interactive programming;
a computer-based prototype programmed with appropriate interactions and navigation;
the final product.
A rapid prototyping approach requires that the design environment allow for the relatively quick and easy creation of
instructional materials (Tripp & Bichelmeyer, 1990). The current availability of computing tools that facilitate the creation of
instructional media (including word-processing, image-editing, and software-authoring software) greatly increases the
attractiveness of the rapid prototyping approach.
As Rathbun, Saito, and Goodrum (1997) pointed out, “the intermediate prototypes become an important means of getting
feedback; the design and development process become intertwined” (p. 291). This method is different from traditional
instructional design approaches in which the design process and the development process are separate.
In traditional instructional design models, once the design has been prepared, no critical feedback about the design is offered
during the development process. When instructional design is accomplished by a large group of specialists, separating the
design and development has a certain utility: “Make the product according to the specifications that an expert has provided;
send the finished product to experts for evaluation.” An underlying assumption of this approach is that an expert in a specific
area oversees each stage of the instructional design process. The traditional process focuses on creating an effective end
product without much regard for the efficiency of the process, which is time-consuming and costly (Nixon & Lee, 2001; Tripp
& Bichelmeyer, 1990).
Traditional theatrical production may be considered a form of rapid prototyping for artistic purposes. A time-honored
approach to preparing a theatrical presentation is the process of rehearsal and criticism. The play begins as an idea that a writer
puts down on paper. The successive prototypes include: a read-through, where the actors speak their lines to each other without
any staging, costumes, or lighting; a walk-through, a performance with actors in their street clothes; a dress rehearsal, with
sets, costumes, and lighting (but no audience); and a preview, with sets, costumes, lighting, and an invited audience that is
aware the production is a work in progress. At each point in this process, the actors and designers receive feedback from the
director as well from the other actors and designers (and, in the last stage, the preview audience). This incremental feedback is
used to improve and refine each new performance until opening night, when the play is considered a completed artwork. Even
after the work is considered complete, the director, cast, and crew continue to monitor performances to evaluate their success
and determine what (minor) changes might be necessary.
Rapid prototyping may be seen as an example of a new way of viewing the instructional design process. The traditional
approach to instructional design is based on the underlying assumption of the objectivity of science and the scientific method.
With rapid prototyping, the scientific method is not rejected, but a more constructive (as opposed to objective) approach to the
problem can be taken by incorporating more opportunities for everyone involved in an instructional design project (the clients,
the designers, the producers, the learners) to participate in evaluation, problem-solving, and revision. Rapid prototyping is a
popular way of thinking about and approaching instructional design problems, but it is not a perfect solution. We end this
chapter with an admonition from Tripp and Bichelmeyer (1990).
The main disadvantage of prototyping can be summed up in one complaint that is easy to imagine: it has a tendency to encourage
informal design methods which may introduce more problems than they eliminate … Prototyping can lead to a design-by-repair
philosophy, which is only an excuse for lack of discipline … Prototyping may lead to premature commitment to a design if it is not
remembered that a design is only a hypothesis.
This warning should serve as a reminder that a “Let’s try it and see what happens” approach is no substitute for careful
planning and evaluation.
Instructional design is the linking science that applies logic and scientific methods to the problems involved in designing and
developing instruction. Instructional design developed from the discipline of educational psychology that came into being at
the turn of the 20th century. Instructional design became particularly popular with the articulation and acceptance of a general
systems theory around the 1950s. One problem instructional design faces is its long association with strictly behavioristic
approaches to teaching. Instructional design scholars have produced models of instructional design/development that describe
the process of analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation (ADDIE).
Recent approaches to the instructional design process include breaking from the tradition of systems models in favor of
more eclectic approaches that combine the five processes of instructional design instead of formally separating them. Two
critical factors that foster this type of approach are a postmodern approach to solving a problem and new and relatively easy-
to-use computer-based multimedia production tools. A particularly popular postmodern approach to instructional design is
rapid prototyping, which suggests that the final product should be taken through a series of mockups that can be evaluated and
refined, with each new mockup getting closer to how the final product will look and operate. A potential pitfall of rapid
prototyping is an informality that may produce an undisciplined approach to the instructional design problem. For any
instructional design problem, careful planning and evaluation are always recommended.
Chapter Comprehension Questions
1. What does the acronym ADDIE stand for?
a. Analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate.
b. Augment, detail, develop, inspire, and evaluate.
c. Analyze, detail, develop, implement, and evaluate.
d. Augment, design, detail, inspire, and evaluate.
2. John Dewey called for a ______ science between what is known about how people learn and the practice of delivering
3. The discipline of educational psychology was established in _____.
4. The most popular approaches to designing instruction involve the following three steps.
a. Analyze the situation, produce and implement the design, evaluate the results.
b. Produce the design, assess the learners, revise the design.
c. Evaluate the learners, assess the instructional design, produce the design.
d. Monitor designer progress, assess the instructional design, evaluate the learner.
5. The approach you take to designing instruction depends heavily on your professional setting and resources.
6. Postmodernism is a ______ view.
7. Postmodernism rejects the more traditional systems approach.
8. Rapid prototyping is a(n) ___________ approach used in a variety of professions.
9. By 1915, the _______ method was most popular among US education leaders.
10. The discipline of instructional design is directly descended from educational psychology.
Connecting Process to Practice Activities
1. After reading the chapter, how has your thinking about education and designing instruction changed?
2. Write a brief letter to a friend or family member who is not a professional educator or instructional designer, explaining
what you are currently studying. In the simplest possible terms, describe instructional design.
3. As a novice instructional designer, which aspects of developing instruction do you consider to be inherently artistic?
Which aspects of developing instruction do you consider inherently scientific?
4. Which model of instructional design/development would you most likely follow? Why do you suppose that model is
particularly appealing to you?
5. Do you consider your view of the world to be positivistic or postpositivistic? How might your feelings about positivism
affect your approach to instructional design?
6. Would you consider rapid prototyping to be an eclectic approach to instructional design? Why or why not?
7. Consider your own experiences as a teacher or instructional designer. What model can you develop that illustrates your
own instructional design process?
8. Create a timeline of key events in the history of instructional design from the late 1800s to the present day.
9. If you were to create a reality television show that featured instructional designers similar to shows that feature chefs and
fashion designers, what challenges would you set for the contestants? How would the contestants’ projects be evaluated?
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Working Definitions of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Diversity: Diversity refers to all aspects of human difference, social identities, and social group differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, creed, color, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual identity, socio-economic status, language, culture, national origin, religion/spirituality, age, (dis)ability, military/veteran status, political perspective, and associational preferences.
Equity: Equity refers to fair and just practices and policies that ensure all community members can thrive. Equity is different than equality in that equality implies treating everyone as if their experiences are exactly the same. Being equitable means acknowledging and addressing structural inequalities — historic and current — that advantage some and disadvantage others. Equal treatment results in equity only if everyone starts with equal access to opportunities.
Inclusion: Inclusion refers to an academic community where all members are and feel respected, have a sense of belonging, and are able to participate and achieve to their potential. While diversity is essential, it is not sufficient. An academic environment can be both diverse and non-inclusive at the same time, thus a sustained practice of creating inclusive environments is necessary for success.
Brown, A. H., & Green, T. D. (2020).
The essentials of instructional design: Connecting fundamental principles with process and practice
(4th ed.). Routledge
· Chapter 1: The Discipline of Instructional Design
· The full-text version of this ebook is available through the RedShelf platform and can be accessed using the link provided in your online classroom. This book covers key components of of the instructional design process, including, various types of analyses, creating goals and objectives, developing instructional activities and sequencing instruction, as well as assessing learner achievement. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to instructional design including an overview of who an instructional designer is, how the discipline developed, and the impact general systems theory has had on instructional design. Chapter 1 will assist you complete the What Does an Instructional Designer Do? discussion as well as the ADDIE Model assignment
Clark, D. (1995, July 13).
Links to an external site.
. Big Dog and Little Dog’s Performance Juxtaposition. http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/history_isd/addie.html#model
· This webpage provides information about the ADDIE model and will assist you in your What Does an Instructional Designer Do? discussion and the ADDIE Model assignment.
Accessibility Statement does not exist.
Culatta, R. (n.d.-a).
Links to an external site.
. InstructionalDesign.org. https://www.instructionaldesign.org/models/addie/#:~:text=The%20ADDIE%20model%20is%20the,training%20and%20performance%20support%20tools
· This webpage provides an overview of the five phases of the ADDIE model and will assist you in your ADDIE Model assignment.
Accessibility Statement does not exist.
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