Instructional Design Models
© 2001, 2004, Elena Qureshi, M.A., M.Ed.,
Models for instructional design provide procedural
frameworks for the systematic production of instruction. They incorporate
fundamental elements of the instructional design process including analysis
of the intended audience or determining goals and objectives (Braxton et
An instructional design model gives structure and meaning to an ID problem,
enabling the would-be designers to negotiate their design task with a
semblance of conscious understanding. Models help to visualize the problem,
to break it down into discrete, manageable units. A model should be judged
by how it mediates the designer's intention, how well it can share a work
load, and how effectively it shifts focus away from itself toward the object
of the design activity (Ryder, 2001). Instructional models prescribe how
combinations of instructional strategy components should be integrated to
produce a course of instruction (Braxton et al,
A variety of ID models have evolved over the years to
represent applications among diverse learner audiences and distinct
educational contexts (Edmonds, Branch, & Mukherjee, 1994; Gustafson, 1991).
These models have generated a wealth of research data that have many
implications for instructional design practices and theory development
Braxton et al. (1995),
instructional models are guidelines or sets
of strategies on which the approaches to teaching by instructors are based.
Effective instructional models are based on learning theories.
Braxton et al.
cited the following ID models as the most important ones among the specific
Dick and Carey Design Model
and Carey (1996) design model uses a systems approach for designing
instruction. One of the best known models, its approach to designing
instruction is similar to that of software engineering. The design model
describes all the phases of an iterative process that starts by identifying
instructional goals and ends with summative evaluation. This model is
applicable across a range of context areas (e.g., K-12 to business to
government) and users (novice to expert). It is a learner-centered model.
The fact that it is a systems model implies that it is more involved with
instructional development than design. One of the limitations of this model
is that behavior is not considered.
critics feel that the systems approach is too focused on specific objectives
to be successfully applied to the development of instruction which supports
higher level thinking and the active construction of knowledge by learners.
However, advocates of the systems approach dispute this, and believe the
systems approach can be effectively employed to set appropriate goals and
construct learning environments that facilitate the attainment of those
goals (Merrill, Li, & Jones, 1990). Furthermore, the 1996 version of the
model (the original model was introduced in 1968) included many important
changes. For instance, Dick and Carey considered the impact of performance
technology on the derivation of instructional goals, as well as increased
focus on the context of learning. The front end analysis has a focus on
instructional and learner analysis, which is very appealing, although this
model is very linear.
Hannafin and Peck Design Model
Hannafin Peck (1987) design model is a three phase process. In the first
phase, a needs assessment is performed. This phase is followed by a design
phase. In the third phase, instruction is developed and implemented. In this
model, all of the phases involve a process of evaluation and revision. The
Hannafin Peck’s design model is simple but elegant in the way in which all
three phases are connected to "evaluate and revise". This may not be a model
designed for a novice, but its focus on constraints in relation to quality
and complexity is appealing.
Knirk and Gustafson Design
and Gustafson (1986) design model is a three stage process which includes
problem determination, design and development. The problem determination
stage involves identifying the problem and setting instructional goals. The
design stage includes developing objectives and specifying strategies.
Finally, in the development stage, materials are developed.
that the model is simple in its design but inclusive of details and tries to
convey this inclusiveness through circles and arrows. It is a small scale
model, which means that it can be used for individual lessons or units. One
of the weaknesses of the Knirk and Gustafson’s (1986) design model is that
the focus on evaluation and development seems to be very late in the
(1994) design model takes a holistic approach to instructional design.
Virtually all factors in the learning environment are taken into
consideration including subject analysis, learner characteristics, learning
objectives, teaching activities, resources (computers, books, etc.), support
services and evaluation. The process is iterative and the design is subject
to constant revision. The immediate feel of being iterative and inclusive,
and particularly the fact that the central focus is the learner needs and
goals are the strengths of this model. There is also a focus on content
analysis, as there would be in any educational design and a focus on support
and service, which is not present in other ID models. Much like the Knirk
and Gustafson’s (1986) design model, Kemp’s model is also small scale and
can be used for individual lessons.
Gerlach and Ely Design Model
Gerlach-Ely (1980) design model is a prescriptive model that is well suited
to K-12 and higher education. It is meant for novice instructional designers
who have knowledge and expertise in a specific context. The model includes
strategies for selecting and including media within instruction. It also
addresses the allocation of resources. The main strength of this model is
that practicing classroom teachers can identify with the process it
suggests. The objectives classification taxonomy, for example, is
appropriately stated for teachers' use. The taxonomy is also easily related
to specific instructional strategies. The weakness of this model is that it
may unintentionally reinforce the existing organization of learning and
teaching in schools, rather than promoting a re-examination of best
practices in classrooms. Gerlach and Ely had a good thought regarding
"assessment of entering behaviors" as a precursor to needs analysis, but
their approach defined no concrete way of doing this.
Rapid Prototyping Design Model
Bichelmeyer's (1990) Rapid Prototyping Design Model is a four level process
that is intended to create instruction for lessons as opposed to entire
curricula. The process stages include performing a needs analysis,
constructing a prototype, utilizing the prototype to perform research and
installing the final system. This model relies on expert instructional
designers to utilize heuristics as well as past experience and intuition to
guide the design. One of the strengths of this model is that it is all
inclusive and leaves the processes up to the designer as they see fit. It
also has the appeal of having extended involvement with the intended user -
something that is missing in many models.
According to Richey (1986), there
are three categories of conceptual models: the first group includes the
models that focus upon the effects of time on the instructional process. The
second group includes those models that describe the tasks of instruction.
The third group consists of the models that emphasize individual differences
Time-focused models identify
critical variables in the teaching environment and their relationships in an
effort to describe optimal learning situations (Richey, 1986). There are a
number of conceptual models that are included in this category. The most
well-known ones were developed in the 70s by Bennett (1978), Berliner
(1979), Bloom (1976), Cooley and Leinhardt (1975), and Harnischfeger and
Wiley (1976). Most of these models stem from a model originally developed by
Carroll (1963) proposed a model to
account for school learning. The researcher’s major premise was that school
learning is a function of time. Summarizing the Carroll’s model would look
School Learning = f (time spent/time needed).
Carroll defined time spent as a function of (i.e.,
resulting from or composed of) two variables: (1) opportunity to learn and
(2) perseverance. The measure that the researcher proposed for opportunity
was allocated time or the amount of time the classroom teacher made
available for school learning. The measure proposed for perseverance was
engagement rate or the percentage of the allocated time that students were
actually on task. Allocated time was multiplied by engagement rate to
produce engaged time or time on task which is defined as the number of
minutes per school day that students were actually engaged in school work.
The denominator, time needed, was defined as a function
of the following three variables: (1) aptitude for the task at hand, (2)
ability to understand instruction, and (3) quality of instruction. By
aptitude Carroll meant the ability to learn academic material. One measure
of this variable would be IQ. By ability to understand instruction, Carroll
meant the preparedness of the student for understanding the specific
material to be learned. Quality of instruction included the entire range of
instructional methods and delivery techniques.
It is apparent that three of the five major variables in
this model – perseverance, aptitude, and ability to understand instruction-
are student characteristics. The remaining two components of the Carroll’s
model – opportunity to learn and quality of instruction – are imposed upon
the learning process by the environment, which includes the teacher, the
instructional materials, or the “system.” According to Richey (1986),
Carroll’s model is a generalized one, descriptive in nature, including
consideration of individual learner characteristics, delivery, and the
curriculum. One of the limitations of this model is that it fails to include
teacher characteristics and classroom planning and management.
Berliner’s (1979) model of classroom instruction is
based not only on Carroll’s (1963) time data, but also on the construct of
opportunity to learn. As a conceptual model of instruction, Berliner’s model
has a more prescriptive nature than Carroll’s (Richey, 1986). The emphasized
elements come from definite opinions as to how one should arrange
Berliner’s model focused on teacher behavior classroom
characteristics, and student aptitudes as they provide input to a function
called academic learning time (ALT). ALT describes time in which students
are engaged with appropriate curriculum content. The output is student
According to Berliner (1979), ALT has three major
time-related elements. Allocated instructional time and actual instructional
time include data collected on not only the amount of time, which is
scheduled for a subject matter, but also on the minutes actually spent on
teaching. Student time is recorded while working on relatively easy learning
materials so that practice, repetition, and overlearning can occur. ALT,
therefore, is a variable that deals with both students’ use of time and
It is a conceptual model of instruction with a more
prescriptive nature than Carroll’s model. The elements that are emphasized
come from definite opinions as to how one should arrange instructional
situations (Richey, 1986). Berliner’s model is generalized. It includes all
four scope variables – curriculum, delivery, individual characteristics, and
management considerations. In more detailed examinations of the model, one
can see that specific teacher behaviors, such as diagnosis, prescription,
presentation, monitoring, and feedback, are emphasized.
Gage and Berliner (1992) developed a model of the instructional process that
focuses on those variables that must be considered by the classroom teacher
as the teacher designs and delivers instruction to students. This model
attempted to define more precisely what is meant by "quality instruction"
and presented five tasks associated with the instruction/learning process (McIlrath
& Huitt, 1995). The model is classroom- and teacher-based and centers around
the question, "What does a teacher do?"
A teacher begins with
objectives and ends with an evaluation.
Instruction connects objectives and evaluations and is based on the
teacher's knowledge of the students' characteristics and
how best to motivate them. If the evaluations do not demonstrate that the
desired results have been achieved, the teacher re-teaches the material and
starts the process all over again. Classroom management is subsumed under
the rubric of motivating students. Gage and Berliner (1992) suggested that
the teacher should use research and principles from educational psychology
to develop proper teaching procedures to obtain optimal results.
model of the teaching/learning process
developed by Huitt (McIlrath & Huitt, 1995) was derived from
a set of model's that relate historically to
Carroll's model, specifically Cruickshank's Model (1985), Gage
and Berliner's Model (1992), and Proctor’s model (1984). While Carroll
(1963) proposed very specific variables related to school learning, the
transactional model proposed by Huitt focused on categories of variables
with the expectation that the selection of important outcome variables or
what is meant by "school learning" will dramatically impact the selection of
important context, input, and process variables. For example, if student
optimism or social skills were selected as the most important outcome
measures, the context, input, and output variables that would predict
changes in these "school learning" variables would likely be different than
those that would predict changes in scores on a standardized test of basic
skills achievement. Huitt (McIlrath & Huitt, 1995) believed that context
variables, that were not included in Carroll's model, should be considered.
According to the researcher, one reason Carroll omitted these variables was
the intention to focus on those variables most directly related to school
learning. The inclusion of family and community variables were considered by
Carroll to be "indirectly" related to school achievement. Huitt insisted
changes in the global economy of the last 30 years
need to focus on additional outcome measures
achievement in basic skills, pointed to
the need to broaden the scope of important variables.
Furthermore, Huitt (McIlrath & Huitt, 1995) also
criticized Carroll’s (1963) model pointing out that it failed to consider
important teacher characteristics and classroom planning and management.
Using Carroll's terminology, Huitt proposed the following improved model
(See Figure 2) of the teaching/learning process:
Learning (Output) = f (Context, Input and Process).
Output includes the
specific measurement or measurements of learning (e.g., student achievement,
social skills, cognitive development, etc.). Context includes the
environmental or situational factors such as home environment and changing
global conditions that influence the definition and measurement of important
educational outcomes as well as levels of important input and process
variables. Input includes the characteristics of teachers and
students that they bring to the teaching/learning process. Process
includes the thinking, feelings, commitments, and actions of teachers and
students within the classroom or learning situation as well as the
interaction patterns and descriptions of the learning environment that
result from those interactions.
|Figure 2: Huitt’s Model of the Teaching/Learning Process
Huitt’s Model of the Teaching/Learning Process
model, Academic Learning Time (ALT) is the variable that has replaced "time
spent" or "engaged time" identified in Carroll's (1963) and Berliner’s
(1979) models. ALT is a combination of three separate variables: content
overlap, involvement, and success. Content overlap is
defined as "the percentage of the content covered on the test actually
covered by students in the classroom" (Brady, Clinton, Sweeney, Peterson, &
Poynor, 1977) and is sometimes referred to as Time-on-Target
(Squires, Huitt & Segars, 1983). Involvement is the "amount of time students
are actively involved in the learning process" and is often referred to as
Time-on-Task (Stallings & Kaskowitz, 1974). Success is defined as the
"extent to which students accurately complete the assignments they have been
given" (Fisher, Filby, Marliave, Cahen, Dishaw, Moore, & Berliner, 1978). A
high level of Academic Learning Time means that 1) students are covering
important (tested/evaluated) content; 2) students are "on-task" most of the
class period; and 3) students are successful on most the assignments they
Research has demonstrated that ALT is the most
appropriate time variable on which to focus (e.g., Berliner, 1978). While
changes in ALT are most directly impacted by the teacher's classroom
performance in terms of
it is ultimately the result of many decisions about how time is spent in
schools and classrooms, as depicted in the Figure 3 below.
in a number of these factors can lead to large increases in ALT.
Figure 3. Levels of Time
Model of School Learning is an input-process-output
model. It is based upon extensive analysis of research literature and
Bloom’s own research. Instead of old thinking that there are good learners
and poor learners, Bloom believed there were faster learners and slower
learners. The model has three categories: student characteristics,
instruction, and learning outcomes. One of the strengths of this model is
that Bloom considered the role of attitudes in the instructional process,
such as the subject matter, school, and attitudes towards oneself as a
learner. It is also interesting that Bloom’s model presented time factors as
an outcome of instruction. Learning rate, which is a time factor, is
important because learning process skill has been identified as a major goal
of instruction, in addition to content area achievement.
Harnishfeger and Wiley’s
(1976) Determinants of Pupil Achievement is
based on Carroll’s model, but was also influenced by Bloom. It encompasses
background characteristics, teaching-learning process, and outcomes. The
model recognizes that all pupil outcomes are directly mediated through pupil
pursuits. It also emphasizes teacher time and learner time. They include
teacher background characteristics as conditions related to student
This model stands out in the
group of time-related models in that it includes teacher background
characteristics as conditions related to student achievement. This model
viewed both teacher and student time as critical. Also, while it considers
individual learner characteristics, the model is geared more to total
Cooley and Leinhardt’s (1975)
Model of Classroom Processes focuses on relationship between school
practices and school performance. Variables being predicted included
academic achievement and attitudes toward school, peers and teachers. Input
included initial student performance. Process included opportunity,
motivators, structure, instructional events, output included criterion
performance. One of the strengths of this model is that, much like Bloom’s
(1976) model, it considered the role of attitudes in the instructional
process. The Cooley and Leinhardt’s model cited learner attitudes toward
school, peers, and teachers as major conditions that affected the outcomes
of instruction. One of the major limitations of this model, as well as,
other time-focused models, is that they often overlook student individual
Task-focused models outline step-by-step procedures that facilitate
learning. Bruner (1966) is one of the researchers, who came up with an
instructional model of this type. Bruner has been acknowledged as a major
supplement of Piaget's theory of cognitive development. Bruner attempted to
extend the scope of the existing theory of cognitive development by creating
the "Three Modes of Representation" and pointing out the close relationship
between cognitive development and theory of instruction.
|Three Modes of Representation
Learners acquire knowledge by action, past events and patterned motor
They perceive outside with internal images by using visual and other
sensory organizations. |
They can understand knowledge by language and reason, moreover they
start trying to solve problems by thinking creatively. |
(1966) asserted that the order of these modes is not fixed, rather it can be
flexible according to a specific individual. In the variant sequence of
stages, the significant factor that affects the process of intellectual
development is social and cultural context (environment). The researcher
suggested that any subject could be taught effectively to any child at any
stage of development.
Contribution of Bruner's thoughts
to Instructional Technology
As Bruner’s early emphasis
on laboratory research was moved to more practical issues such as teaching
of science in American public schools Bruner’s cognitive approach to
instruction has influenced Instructional Technology in various aspects.
|Preposition to learn:
Bruner emphasized that instruction should be set up in relation to
learners' experience and contexts because those things tend to make
learners be willing and able to learn. |
|Sequence of instruction:
The enactive through iconic to symbolic representational sequence
implies on an optimum sequence of instruction. |
|Structure of knowledge:
Instruction must specify the ways in which a body of knowledge should be
structured so that learners can understand easily. |
Instruction should represent good materials to stimulate learners'
motivation and recall prior knowledge. |
|Learning by discovery:
From the consideration on the intervention of social and cultural
context in learning process, it is very important to provide a rich
environment for learning with an accompanying freedom for learners to
see their own learning agenda.|
Because Bruner’s model is a
task-focused model, it does not account for all critical variables affecting
learner achievement, but rather emphasizes the processes, which facilitate
learning. The model is prescriptive and generalized in nature. Detailed
examination of this model shows an underlying concern with learner
characteristics. One of the important parts of this model is the selection
of motivating activities. A lot of weight is placed on the influence of a
learner’s cultural background and the role of students’ natural learning
styles. Both categories of information can help to facilitate more efficient
Gagne's theory is classified as an instructional theory
because it seeks to describe the conditions under which one can
intentionally arrange for the learning of specific performance outcomes.
Gagne's (1988) instructional theory has three major elements. First, it is
based on a taxonomy, or classification, of learning outcomes. Second, it
proposes particular internal and external conditions necessary for achieving
these learning outcomes. And third, it offers nine events of instruction,
which serve as a template for developing and delivering a unit of
This theory stipulated that there are several different
types or levels of learning. The significance of these classifications is
that each different type requires different types of instruction. Gagne
(1977) identified five major categories of learning: verbal information,
intellectual skills, cognitive strategies, motor skills and attitudes.
Different internal and external conditions are necessary for each type of
learning. For example, for cognitive strategies to be learned, there must be
a chance to practice developing new solutions to problems. To learn
attitudes, the learner must be exposed to a credible role model or
Gagne suggested that learning tasks for intellectual
skills could be organized in a hierarchy according to complexity: stimulus
recognition, response generation, procedure following, use of terminology,
discriminations, concept formation, rule application, and problem solving.
The primary significance of the hierarchy is to identify prerequisites that
should be completed to facilitate learning at each level. Prerequisites are
identified by doing a task analysis of a learning/training task. Learning
hierarchies provide a basis for the sequencing of instruction.
addition, the theory outlines nine instructional events and corresponding
learners of the objective (expectancy)
stimulating recall of prior learning (retrieval)
presenting the stimulus (selective perception)
learning guidance (semantic encoding)
retention and transfer (generalization).
These events should satisfy or provide the necessary conditions for learning
and serve as the basis for designing instruction and selecting appropriate
media (Gagne, Briggs & Wager, 1992).
Gagne's work has contributed greatly in the field of
instructional technology especially regarding the design of instruction.
According to Gagne, the following steps should be clearly thought out when
the types of learning outcomes
outcome may have prerequisite knowledge or skills that must be identified.
the internal conditions or processes the learner must have to achieve the
the external conditions or instruction needed to achieve the outcomes.
the learning context.
the characteristics of the learners.
the media for instruction.
motive the learners.
instruction is tested with learners in the form of formative evaluation.
the instruction has been used, summative evaluation is used the judge the
effectiveness of the instruction.
The researcher is best known
for three of his contributions in this area: the events of instruction, the
types of learning, and learning hierarchies. Gagne used the
information-processing model of internal processes to derive a set of
guidelines that teachers could follow to arrange optimal conditions of
learning (Bostock, 1996).
Gagne's model is very simple. It is designed for system wide (large scale)
curriculum. One of the strengths of this model is that the design is focused
on front end analysis with the learner in mind. Furthermore, the fact that
all the steps of the model are sequenced makes it easy for teachers or
instructional designers to implement and follow. Using this sequence should
help to ensure that the learner masters the desired objective. Richey (1986)
noted that by sequencing instruction, one creates external conditions, which
compliment the internal conditions of learning.
The framework can be adapted for use in a variety of classroom settings,
including college teaching.
Gagne’s model could also be effectively used for developing distance
education courses or programs. However, one can
see that adapting the "events" to many classroom settings might be
problematic. Most teachers do not use the kind of language contained
in this framework (e.g., terms such as "presenting the stimulus", or
"eliciting performance"). In fact, the whole idea of framing a course as a
series of skills that can be practiced and performed by students is an
unfamiliar concept to some teachers.
One of significant weaknesses the previous research found out is that time
and task-focused models do not consider the learner characteristics as a
major instructional condition variable that should have been incorporated
into the strategies and tactics of instructional organization. Learner
control, for instance, has not been prescribed either in instructional
management or in instructional organization level (Lim, 1998)
This category of conceptual models of instruction
emphasizes the learner. They also make recommendations for effective
instruction based on the individual differences among learners (Richey,
1986). There are two types of learner-focused models. The first one is based
upon adult learning concepts, for instance, developmental model designed by
Knowles (1978). The second one stems from the body of research relating to
interactions that occur between particular learner characteristics and a
given instructional approach (e.g., Snow’s (1977) model).
Knowles’s theory of andragogy was an attempt to develop a theory
specifically for adult learning. Knowles emphasized that adults are
self-directed and expect to take responsibility for decisions. Andragogy
makes the following assumptions about the design of learning: (1) adults
need to know why they need to learn something, (2) adults need to learn
experientially, (3) adults approach learning as problem-solving, and (4)
adults learn best when the topic is of immediate value.
The model, proposed by the researcher, related entirely to delivery
strategies that considered the unique characteristics of adults. Knowles
also identified the following assumptions underlying the model of adult
instruction. The assumptions highlighted differences between adults and
children as learners, and provided the rational for Knowles’
recommendations. First, as one becomes older there is movement from total
dependency to self-directedness. Moreover, there is resistance when adults
are put into situations where they are not allowed to be self-directed. The
second assumption relates to the role of personal experiences in learning.
This assumption posits that there should be a decreasing emphasis on
traditional teaching techniques, such as lecturing, and increasing use of
techniques that incorporate the learner’s experience as an integral part of
instruction. Third, adults’ readiness to learn is dependent upon their needs
and the developmental phases of the various roles played. Roles include
worker, spouse, and parent. So planned learning activities for adults should
coincide with current needs evolving from these various roles. Fourth,
Knowles assumes that instruction should focus on problems rather than
subject matter. Such curriculum organization is designed to facilitate
immediate application in everyday life.
These assumptions have been translated into a process model for organizing
and delivering adult instruction. The steps are:
-Establishing a climate
conductive to learning.
-Creating a mechanism
for mutual planning.
-Diagnosing the needs
objectives (which is content) that will satisfy these needs.
-Designing a pattern of
learning experiences with suitable techniques and materials.
learning outcomes and rediagnosing learning needs (Knowles, 1978).
Andragogy can be applied to any form of adult learning.
Knowles (1984) provided an example of applying andragogy principles to the
design of personal computer training:
1. There is a
need to explain why specific things are being taught (e.g., certain
commands, functions, operations, etc.)
Instruction should be task-oriented instead of memorization - learning
activities should be in the context of common tasks to be performed.
Instruction should take into account the wide range of different backgrounds
of learners. Learning materials and activities should allow for different
levels/types of previous experience with computers.
adults are self-directed, instruction should allow learners to discover
things for themselves, providing guidance and help when mistakes are made.
Knowles emphasized that by using the adult model of
instruction, adult learners are helped to acquire information and skills,
rather than simply receive information as in a traditional instructional
model. This model has a lot of value for DE instruction since it included
characteristics of adult learners and outlined instructional strategies that
could accommodate the diverse learning styles and preferences for adult
learners. Furthermore, applied correctly, the andragogical approach to
teaching and learning in the hands of a skilled facilitator can make a
positive impact on the adult learner.
The concerns for individual students prompted the development of
context-specific theories. Snow (1977) suggested that data derived from
continuous monitoring of individuals in a given learning environment could
serve as a base for such theory. A primary conceptual base for
interpretation of such data is the knowledge of individual cognitive
processes (Richey, 1986). According to Snow, what made adaptive instruction
a possibility, was that individual differences in aptitude not only
predicted learning outcome but also often interacted with instructional
Based on the previous work of Bruner (1966) and Glaser (1976), Snow worked
out an eight step instructional theory framework procedural in its nature|
-A theory or model of the learning
process, describing how learning is presumed to take place in a given
-A specification of instructional
objectives. These are derived form value judgments made by governments,
educators, parents, and learners themselves.
-A task analytic description of each
objective, showing the state of knowledge, skill, etc., to be achieved.
-A description of the initial stage of
each learner when learning begins.
-A specification of admissible
instructional actions and conditions that can be implemented to bring about
changes from initial states to desired states.
-A methodology for interactive design
of assemblies of alternative instructional actions, to decide which are
likely to be optimum.
-Monitoring procedures that will
permit instructional actions to be adapted in midstream for the purposes of
-Assessment procedures for determining
the multivariate immediate and long range outcomes of instruction.
Richey (1986) characterized this model as highly prescriptive, incorporating
attention to individual differences, and addressing many practitioner
complaints relating to the remoteness of theory. The only remaining
question, according to the researcher, was whether this approach required a
level of training and time commitment that was out of reach of many local
situations which needed the theories. |
This model (See Figure 4) is based on four clusters of
large and often interactive variables. They are the following:
Figure 4. Richey's Model of Instructional Design
The major design-related components in this cluster are:
1) demographics, 2) capacity, 3) competence, and 4) attitudes.
Demographics. Researchers always collected
demographic data on their subjects, using it a method of data
interpretation. Data shows differences among the learner performances when
subjects are categorized on the basis of such variables as age, sex, and
Richey made a distinction between capacity and competence in this model.
Capacity relates to innate ability, as opposed to achievement, the
competence variable. The definition of ‘capacity’ includes intellectual
abilities (verbal, mathematical, artistic, and social capabilities), as well
as cognitive (perceiving, remembering, thinking, apprehending, sorting, and
utilizing information) and physiological (perceptual development and motor
Competence. Competence is the result of
conscious activity, either a learning experience or another life event.
According to Richey (1989), while competence is limited by an individual’s
natural capacities, it is influenced by the learner’s attitudes and general
profile characteristics. Competence includes prerequisite skills
(information processing skills, basic skills, and content prerequisites) and
experiential background (family, leisure time, social, vocational and
They have direct effects on student performances with given learning tasks.
Attitudes are defined as likes and dislikes, with roots in social,
emotional, behavioral, and cognitive experiences (Bem as cited in Richey,
1989). Attitudes include values (aesthetic, moral and religious, school,
subject, and work-related), self-concept (academic, personal, professional),
and motivational level (goals, interests, perseverance).
The overall description of learners presented in Richey’s model is one in
which learners are seen as individuals interacting with their environments,
who change and grow as a result of receiving feedback from others.
Intellectual growth of learners is dependent upon the use of language,
memory, and incorporation of past experience in to a framework that
facilitates future use.
Content has three major components: 1) the type of
learning task, 2) the mental operations required, and 3) the subject matter
Learning Task. This component includes
cognitive domain (verbal information and intellectual skills), affective
domain (values, beliefs, attitudes, emotions), and psychomotor domain (gross
motor skills, fine motor skills discrete motor skills, continuous motor
Operations Required. Three major types of
mental operations considered by Richey are selective attention (focusing,
expectation, reinforce and guide), retention (organize, rehearse for
storage, and retrieve for use), and transfer (lateral, vertical, problem
solving and creative thinking).
Subject Matter Domain. It consists of basic
skills, general cultural concerns, vocational skills, and personal skills.
This component is absolutely critical to design.
Environment, according to this model pertinent to instructional design, has
two key components – setting and climate.
It includes schools, business, health care, community and government.
This component consists of external influences, organizational climate,
physical materials and arrangements, as well as participant characteristics.
The setting descriptors are not theory-based as are those in climate.
However, both seem to influence the effects of using a given program or
materials design. According to the researcher, the difficulty with the
definition of environmental variables is that it is difficult to isolate
their effects. Environment is a network of interactions, and these
interactions occur not only within the cluster itself, but among variables
of other clusters as well.
Delivery encompasses the organization of content for
delivery, and includes decisions relating to hardware, software, and general
methodology. Richey summarized this range of activities in four categories:
1) scope, 2) strategy, 3) presentation, and 4) sequencing.
It is a phenomenological listing of organizational alternatives that are
typically available to a designer. Richey divided all the scope elements
into two categories: (a) macrostructures (program, course, unit) and (b)
microstructures (workshop, lesson, single objective).
Strategy refers to basic delivery decisions, media (projected,
non-projected, audio, video, computer, real or 3-D) and processes (mass
instruction, group instruction, individualized instruction, work embedded
Presentation. Richey suggested to group
presentation decisions under “tactics” and “form.” Presentation tactics have
six major functions – to secure attention, to secure a response, to provide
reinforcement, to maintain interest, to facilitate retention, and to assess
performance. The following examples of the presentation form are given:
receiver/sender control, interactive/non-interactive, expository/discovery.
Sequencing. In this model sequencing
encompasses not only ordering information (cyclical, hierarchical, external
base), but also determining a delivery schedule (pacing, frequency,
According to Maier (1999),
Richey’s model has the following disadvantages: (a) increased design cycle
time, (b) knowledge does not directly impact behavior, (c) too much emphasis
on contextual factors such as learner background, incentives, resources,
culture, group support.
Among the strengths of this
model is that it considers a learner to be one of the main variables. In
addition, learners’ past experiences also have an effect on the
implementation of the program and the speed at which it can proceed.
However, the fact that it is not sequential might create certain
difficulties for inexperienced instructors during its implementation.
Merrill's Component Display
Merrill’s component display theory integrates knowledge about learning
and instruction from all three major theoretical perspectives:
behavioral, cognitive, and humanistic. CDT (Merrill 1983, 1987,
1988) is built directly upon Gagne's principal assumption. Merrill
extended the outcome classification system by separating content type
from performance level. The researcher also added a more detailed
taxonomy of presentation types and clarified the prescriptions of the
Gagne model. Nevertheless, Component Display Theory has the same roots
as the Gagne model.
learning along two dimensions: content (facts, concepts, procedures, and
principles) and performance (remembering, using, generalities) (See
Figure 5). The theory specifies four primary presentation forms: rules
(expository presentation of a generality), examples (expository
presentation of instances), recall (inquisitory generality) and practice
(inquisitory instance). Secondary presentation forms include:
prerequisites, objectives, help, mnemonics, and feedback.
Figure 5. Dimensions of Learning in CDT
The theory specifies that instruction is more
effective to the extent that it contains all necessary primary and
secondary forms. Thus, a complete lesson would consist of objectives
followed by some combination of rules, examples, recall, practice,
feedback, helps and mnemonics appropriate to the subject matter and
learning task. The theory suggests that for a given objective and
learner, there is a unique combination of presentation forms that
results in the most effective learning experience.
Merrill (1983) explained the assumptions about cognition that underly
CDT. While acknowledging a number of different types of memory, Merrill
claimed that associative and algorithmic memory structures were directly
related to the performance components of Remember and Use/Find
respectively. Associative memory is a hierarchical network structure.
Algorithmic memory consists of schema or rules. The distinction between
Use and Find performances in algorithmic memory is the use of existing
schema to process input versus creating a new schema through
reorganization of existing rules. A significant aspect of the CDT
framework is learner control, that is, the idea that learners can select
their own instructional strategies in terms of content and presentation
components. In this sense, instruction designed according to CDT
provides a high degree of individualization since students can adapt
learning to meet their own preferences and styles.
In recent years, Merrill has presented a new version of CDT called
Component Design Theory (Merrill & Twitchell, 1994). This new version
has a more macro focus than the original theory with the emphasis on
course structures (instead of lessons) and instructional transactions
rather than presentation forms. In addition, advisor strategies have
taken the place of learner control strategies. Development of the new
CDT theory has been closely related to work on expert systems and
authoring tools for ID (e.g., Li & Merrill, 1991; Merrill, Li, & Jones,
1991). The main principles of the theory are:
-Instruction will be more effective if
all three primary performance forms (remember, use, generality) are
-Primary forms can be presented by
either an explanatory or inquisitory learning strategy.
-The sequence of primary forms is not
critical provided they are all present.
-Students should be given control over
the number of instances or practice items they receive.
Merrill’s (Merrill & Twitchell, 1994) descriptive
theory of knowledge consists of a two
way classification based on performance
level and content type. The performance dimension is: remember instance,
remember generality, use generality with an unencountered instance, and
find a new generality. The content dimension is: facts, concepts,
procedures, and principles. Merrill proposed a descriptive
theory of strategy consisting of primary
presentation forms (PPFs), secondary presentation forms (SPFs), and
interdisplay relationships (IDRs). Primary presentation forms consist
of: expository generality (rule), expository instance (example),
inquisitory generality (recall), and inquisitory instance (practice).
Secondary presentation forms consist of information added to facilitate
learning such as attention focusing help, mnemonics, and feedback.
Interdisplay relationships are sequences involving example-nonexample
matching, example divergence, and range of example difficulty. For each
performance-content classification, component display
theory prescribes the combination of PPFs,
SPFs, and IDRs that comprise the most efficient and effective
Some of the strengths of this model include the fact that it separates
subject matter and performance. It recognizes four cognitive components
of learning matter: facts, concepts, procedures, and principles. CDT
does not aim at a sequencing of the instruction process, as for instance
Gagne does, but distinguishes four forms of instructional actions, that
is “presentation forms.” CDT is also more complex and extensive than
Gagne’s theory due to a number of subdivisions in its taxonomy. Another
strength of this theory is that it is generic to all types of subjects
and settings, and yet still addresses very specific aspects of
presenting instructional sequences (Richey, 1986). The model provides
guidelines for making detailed design decisions. While these decisions
are directed toward group instruction, the underlying assumption is that
individual learners would control both content and strategy.
Furthermore, in this model, the specific prescriptions are backed by
learning and instruction research, and the theory itself is supported by
experience and evaluation data. This model can be applied to the design
of programs, courses, materials, or individual lessons.
Reigeluth’s Elaboration Theory
a Cognitive Prescriptive theory, which is based on Bruner’s
Spiraling curriculum, Norman’s Web Teaching, Gagne’s Cumulative Learning
Theory, and Ausubel’s Subsumptive sequencing. Reigeluth’s goal was to
integrate all existing knowledge on learning and instruction, including
behavioral, cognitive, and humanistic. Like CDT, the Elaboration Theory
organizes instruction in such a way as to facilitate learner control,
but on the macro level this means control over selection and sequencing
of ideas as well as control over frequency and timing of such strategy
components as synthesizers and reviews (Reigeluth, 1983).
According to elaboration theory, instruction should be organized in
increasing order of complexity for optimal learning. For example, when
teaching a procedural task, the simplest version of the task is
presented first. Subsequent lessons present additional versions until
the full range of tasks are taught. In each lesson, the learner should
be reminded of all versions taught so far (summary/synthesis). A key
idea of elaboration theory is that the learner needs to develop a
meaningful context into which subsequent ideas and skills can be
Elaboration theory proposes seven major strategy components: (1) an
elaborative sequence, (2) learning prerequisite sequences, (3) summary,
(4) synthesis, (5) analogies, (6) cognitive strategies, and (7) learner
The first component is the most critical as far as
elaboration theory is concerned. The elaborative sequence is defined as
a simple to complex sequence in which the first lesson epitomizes
(rather than summarize or abstract) the ideas and skills that follow.
Epitomizing should be done on the basis of a single type of content
(concepts, procedures, principles), although two or more types may be
elaborated simultaneously, and should involve the learning of just a few
fundamental or representative ideas or skills at the application level.
Prescriptions for Sequencing
the elaborative sequence is developed, the lessons within each unit are
similarly sequenced. The rules for sequencing are simple:
- Begin with the most familiar
or organizing concepts.
- Put supporting content
immediately after the organizing information.
- Place learning prerequisites
before new content.
- Group related concepts.
- Teach principles before
The above five rules repeat at different levels. It is the theme of
moving from the simple to the more complex. First, introduce new
material in the order of familiarity, that is, maximize the connections
learners can make to material they already know. When possible, start
with material that can organize, or provide mental hooks for, new
material. Connect new content immediately to the familiar content and
show the relationships. Be sure that learners know what they need to
know before learning new information. Then, group related concepts to
increase the number of connections. Increasing connections both
facilitates learning and promotes effective and efficient movement from
short- to long-term memory. Finally, teach underlying principles before
the procedures that make use of those principles (e.g., have a model for
development before you begin.)
Summarizers collapse lessons to single, easily handled concepts. These
summarizers can be presented by the developer or drawn from the learners
Synthesizers make the connections both to previous learning and to
current learning. They allow us to make connections, so that we can
begin to make sense and new meaning. Synthesizers may be lessons in and
of themselves (depending on the complexity of the material), but
typically they are simple ways to connect content (subject matter),
procedures (what to do), or theories (why to do what you do).
Analogies relate new material to old. They take two forms: examples and
non-examples. Examples are those where the resemblances between objects,
situations, or ideas are similar, and the similarity is extensive.
Non-examples are instances in which the similarities may be superficial
or misleading. The combination of the two helps the learner understand
how the new material is similar to the old and equally important, in
what ways they differ.
Activators are cues to the learner to apply the learning skills they
already have, for example, asking, "How does this relate to your past
Learner control is a relatively advanced function. Basically,
entry-level learners learning primary skills tend to need a lot of
structure to facilitate new learning. More advanced learners, however,
learn more quickly when they have control over their learning decisions.
Typical participants bring a wealth of information to the community.
Therefore, it is critical that instruction is set up to maximize the
number of choices the learner can make.
It is claimed that the elaboration approach results in the formation of
more stable cognitive structures and therefore better retention and
transfer, increased learner motivation through the creation of
meaningful learning contexts, and the provision of information about the
content that allows informed learner control. Elaboration theory applies
to the design of instruction for the cognitive domain. The theoretical
framework has been applied to a number of settings in higher education
and training (English & Reigeluth, 1996; Reigeluth, 1992). Hoffman
(1997) considered the relationship between elaboration theory and
Reigeluth's (1999) model
of instructional-design theory has two components for facilitating human
learning and development:
-methods of instruction
which relate to the context in which learning can take place and
effect the methods of instruction.
Reigeluth's (1999) model is illustrated in Figure 6
Reigeluth's Components of Instructional Design Theories
strength of this model is the provision of numerous aids to guide the
development process. It is thus suitable for use with novice
instructional designers. Limitations of this model include lack of
attention to project management and implementation
The analyses of various instructional models showed
that even though each model had its differences, they were fundamentally
similar in their need to provide certain components or stages that are
universal to teaching. At times, the components were called different
things or several steps of one model were lumped into one step of
another, however, they were all attempting to create effective