Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 30

Instructional Design Models

Copyright © Elena Qureshi

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 al., 1995). 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 (Richey, 1986).
According to 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 such as behaviorism, cognitivism, and/or constructivism. Braxton et
al. cited the following ID models as the most important ones among the specific ID models: Dick
and Carey Design Model (DM), Hannafin and Peck DM, Knirk and Gustafson DM,
Jerrold/Kemp DM, Gerlach and Ely DM, and the Rapid Prototyping DM.

Dick and Carey Design Model

The Dick and Carey (1996) design model (see Figure 2) uses a systematic 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. It is
based on a linear progression of steps in the design process.
Figure 2. Dick and Carey Design Model.

This model is applicable across a range of context areas (e.g., K-12 to business to
government) and users (novice to expert). It has been particularly effective in guiding the
processes associated with the development of printed distance education materials (Gustafson &
Branch, 1997). 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.

Some critics feel that the systems approach is too focused on specific objectives to be
successfully applied to the development of instruction that 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.

Generally, this model is considered to be logical and systematic. However, as distance

educators increasingly look to the Internet and other computer networks to deliver information,
there is opportunity to employ a nonlinear means of instruction. Multimedia instruction can be
very elaborate and multilayered, and it is helpful to consider alternative models of design that
address this particular method of instruction.

Hannafin and Peck Design Model

The Hannafin Peck (1987) design model (see Figure 3) 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. This model could work for web-based instruction (WBI). The needs assessment
would certainly identify the requirements for WBI and the design would be such that it would
meet the identified need (Auvigne, 1997). The strength of this model for WB design is in its
ongoing evaluation and revision as part of the process. Riel and Harasim (1994) indicated user
feedback is one way of examining if the online learning environment is successful in meeting
learning outcomes.

Figure 3. Hannafin Peck Design Model.

Knirk and Gustafson Design Model

The Knirk and Gustafson (1986) design model (see Figure 4) 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
Figure 4. Knirk and Gustafson Design Model.

It appears 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
process. In this sense, this model will not be suitable for web-based courses. With educators
designing and customizing Web learning environments, it is necessary to determine if these
environments are meeting the needs of learners. Mechanisms must be incorporated in Web-based
environments to evaluate the medium, content, format, design and structure so timely
intervention can occur if a problem is identified (Hazari, 1999). Moore and Kearsley (1996) also
stated that evaluation should be a continuous process and effectiveness of materials and media
should be routinely assessed.

Jerrold/Kemp Design Model

The Jerrold/Kemp (1994) design model (see Figure 5) 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. The model is systematic
and nonlinear and seems to encourage designers to work in all areas as appropriate. Kemp’s
model is most useful for large-scale programs involving groups of people and multiple resources.
It is especially suited to the higher education sector (Braxton, Bronico and Looms, 1995). The
model also seems to be a more advanced one by design and the most comprehensive for web-
based course development. However, all programs or projects may not require all nine elements.
Designers have to be prepared to make appropriate model adjustment to suit their own needs.
Figure 5. Jerrold/Kemp Design Model.

Gerlach and Ely Design Model

Gerlach and Ely (1980) design model (see Figure 6) is a prescriptive model that is well
suited to K-12 and higher education. Its orientation classification is prescriptive, outlining how a
learning environment can be changed. 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. This is an important component for the application of this
model for the DE course design. The model also addresses the allocation of resources.

Figure 6. Gerlach and Ely Design Model.

Gerlach and Ely model is outlined along a framework starting from the Specification of
Content and Objectives which give way to an Assessment of Entering Behaviors including:
strategy determination, organization of groups, allocation of time and space, and selection of
resources. It also provides evaluation of performance and analysis of feedback. The main
strength of this model is that 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. Much like Kemp’s model, this model can be
applied in the higher education sector (Braxton, Bronico and Looms, 1995).

According to Edwards (1999), Gerlach and Ely model has never been used for on-line
instructional design. To be effectively applied for WB course design, this model should be more
student-centered. This could be accomplished by building in collaborative components, which
parallel the nature in which participants may need to learn.

Rapid Prototyping Design Model

Tripp and Bichelmeyer's (1990) Rapid Prototyping Design Model (see Figure 7) 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. At the same time, this is a very time
consuming and advanced model used mainly by those doing research.

Figure 7. Tripp and Bichelmeyer's Rapid Prototyping Design Model.

The Rapid Prototyping model addresses the cost and time inherent in developing complex
materials. Rather than create the entire instructional program, then test and evaluate it, designers
using a Rapid Prototyping model create a small-scale prototype then test and revise it before the
entire system is created. This model is based on computer system design, and is effective as an
ID model for computer-based instruction. Computer-based programs can be quite sophisticated
and layered, and it is much more cost and time effective to catch weaknesses in a reduced
version of the program before launching into a full scale model. Successive iterations of the
program can be field tested and revised based on learner feedback.
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 of learners.

Time-Focused Models
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).

Carroll’s Model
Carroll (1963) proposed a model (see Figure 8) to account for school learning. The
researcher’s major premise was that school learning is a function of time. Summarized Carroll’s
model would look like this:
School Learning = f (time spent/time needed).

Figure 8. Carroll's Model of School Learning.

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.
Carroll’s model was applied in Computer-Based Training (CBT) (Wegener, 1999). Carroll
(1963) asserted that teaching should be the management of learning. According to Wegener
(1999), this concept of teaching could be easily adapted to CBT. CBT should be the management
of learning and should include the largest possible set of events that facilitate learning. One of
the components in Carroll’s model that seems to be important for the web-based course design is
time for the students to master a skill. Mastery learning implies that "it is the task of instruction
to find the means which will enable our students to master the subject under consideration"
(Bloom, 1968) and, according to Carroll, (1963) more time may be needed for students to master
content. Hazari (1999) suggested that the use of an online feedback form enabled students the
opportunity after every class lesson to describe what they had been learning. This would focus
students’ attention and reinforce the key elements of the concepts they do know. Moreover, in
describing what students do not understand, the course instructor is given useful information
regarding concepts that still need reinforcement on both an individual basis and as a whole class.
The use of the feedback form extends beyond in-class time constraints and is a non-threatening
way for students to communicate their uncertainties regarding course content because it conveys
the message that it is normal to understand some concepts and not understand others.

Carroll’s model has some limitations that might have some impact on its successful
application in DE. First of all, it failed to include teacher characteristics. Also, there were
important variables, such as the context variables, that were not considered in Carroll's model.
According to Huitt (1997), 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. However, the changes in the global economy of the last thirty years and the need to
focus on additional outcome measures beyond achievement in basic skills, point to the need to
broaden the scope of important variables. Also, Carroll’s model failed to include classroom
planning and management.
Huitt’s (1995) Model
The 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. 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 9) 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
Figure 9. Huitt’s Model of the Teaching/Learning Process

In Huitt’s 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 complete.

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 planning, management, and instruction, it is ultimately the
result of many decisions about how time is spent in schools and classrooms, as depicted in the
Figure 10 below. Small increases in a number of these factors can lead to large increases in ALT.
Figure 10. Levels of Time.

Much like Carroll’s model, Huitt’s model is mostly suited for school learning. It has,
however, features that should be considered when designing an online course. They are context
and teacher characteristics. Huitt's model considers measures of school learning beyond those of
standardized tests of basic skills, teacher characteristics such as teacher efficacy, and context
factors such as school characteristics and processes and home environment. Furthermore, Huitt's
view of important classroom processes emphasizes the interaction between teachers and students.
This feature is especially important for a WB course design due to lack of interactivity in online
courses. This model might be too complicated for a novice instructor who has too consider that
all the part of this model constantly interact.

Other Time-Based Models

Bloom’s (1976) Model of School Learning is an input-process-output model. It is based upon

extensive analysis of research literature and Bloom’s own research, particularly Bloom’s
Taxonomy (See Figure 11).
Figure 11. Bloom’s Taxonomy.

The Taxonomy represented the classification of levels of intellectual behavior in learning.

It contained three overlapping domains: the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective. Within the
cognitive domain, Bloom identified six levels: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis,
synthesis, and evaluation. These domains and levels were useful as guides for the development
of student learning goals and objectives. The major idea of the taxonomy was that what
educators wanted students to know (that was included in “educational objectives”) could be
arranged in a hierarchy from less to more complex. In general, research over the last forty years
has confirmed the taxonomy as a hierarchy with the exception of the last two levels (Huitt,
2000). It is uncertain at this time whether synthesis and evaluation should be reversed (i.e.,
evaluation is less difficult to accomplish than synthesis) or whether synthesis and evaluation are
at the same level of difficulty but use different cognitive processes. According to Huitt (2000),
the latter was more likely. Both depended on analysis as a foundational process. However,
synthesis required rearranging the parts in a new, original way whereas evaluation required a
comparison to a standard with a judgment as to good, better or best.

Instead of old thinking that there are good learners and poor learners, Bloom believed there were
faster learners and slower learners. Bloom’s model of School Learning 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.

The value of this model for traditional and DE instruction lies in the fat that it helps to recognize
the need for understanding more about the "cognitive entry behaviors" and "affective entry
characteristics" which each learner brings to the instructional setting (Smith, 1996). While
college entrance test scores and high school grade point averages provide some clues to the
cognitive ability of students, the student's motivational capacity is yet to be understood. Bloom’s
model, however, is focused on school learning primarily from the instructional perspective.
According to Smith (1996), while the model deals with prior learning and motivation, the nature
of the learning task, and indicators of learning effectiveness, it is not directly concerned with the
wide variety of approaches that a teacher may use in creating a learning environment. Moreover,
it does not consider variations in student learning style. This is a major limitation for its
application in WB environment. Wegener (1999) pointed out another disadvantages of this
model for its application in the traditional instructional environment -it is not a cost effective
model. However, the prohibitive cost factors found in Bloom's model could be removed when
the instructional environment was changed to Computer-Based Training.
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 achievement.

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 traditional classroom instruction and not to the online instruction.

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 characteristics. This is a
major disadvantage as related to the application of this model to the DE format where successful
student learning largely depends on learner characteristics.

Task-Focused Models

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 complement 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

1. Enactive: Learners acquire knowledge by action, past events and patterned

motor response.
2. Iconic: They perceive outside with internal images by using visual and other
sensory organizations.

3. Symbolic: They can understand knowledge by language and reason, moreover

they start trying to solve problems by thinking creatively.

Bruner (1966) asserted that the order of these modes was not fixed, rather it could 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

Bruner’s constructivist theory can be applied to instruction, as Kearsley (1994b)

surmised, by applying the following principles:

1. Instruction must be concerned with the experiences and contexts that make the student
willing and able to learn (readiness).
2. Instruction must be structured, so that it can be easily grasped by the student (spiral
3. Instruction should be designed to facilitate extrapolation and or fill in the gaps (going
beyond the information given).

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.

· Predisposition to learn: Bruner emphasized that instruction should be set up in

relation to learners' experience and contexts because those things tend to make
learners 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.

· Reinforcement: 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 instruction.

Based on Bruner’s constructivist theory, Patsula (1999) suggested the following strategies for the
web-based course design:

1. Attract, hold, and focus attention so students can learn principles. Fahy (1999) listed the
following ways to attract attention: (a) To draw attention, use novelty, differences,
motion, changes in intensity or brightness, the presence of moderate complexity, and lean
and focused displays. Merrill (1989, as cited in Fahy 1999, 60), however, cautioned
against the overuse of attention-getting strategies, especially on the computer. The
researcher pointed out that “screen motion and animated movement are very powerful in
attracting and holding attention. The program should therefore not require the user to read
while watching an animated display," (b) To increase attention and maintain learner
focus, create moderate uncertainty about what is about to happen next or what the
eventual outcome of a presentation will be, (c) To sustain attention, maintain change and
variety in the learning environment, (d) To focus attention, teach learners to interpret
certain cues such as specific colors, sounds, symbols, fonts, screen or display
arrangement, underlining, etc., (e) To focus attention, use captions in pictures, graphics
and illustrations.
2. Improve retention by sequencing screens and presenting related materials together. In
designing materials of all kinds sequence is important. According to Fahy (1999),
material presented together will be associated in the learner’s memory and more easily
recalled especially if repetition is used. Fahy believed that events, ideas, words, concepts,
and stimuli in general which were not organized in some meaningful way were harder to
understand and remember than those which were embedded in some organizational
context. The researcher also advised that when sequencing was considered that the first
and last displays in any sequences were especially important. Accordingly, introductions
and summaries are key learning opportunities.
3. Provide structural cues to avoid information vertigo. Jones and Farquhar (1997)
recommend arranging information in a non-threatening manner through techniques such
as chunking, overviews, advance organizers, maps, and a fixed-display format. They also
pointed out that the consistent placement and style of section titles was an important cue
to the structure of information.

Gagne's Model

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 (see Figure 12) 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 instruction.

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 persuasive arguments.

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.
Figure 12: Information Processing Model

In addition, the theory outlines nine instructional events and corresponding cognitive
(1) gaining attention (reception);
(2) informing learners of the objective (expectancy);
(3) stimulating recall of prior learning (retrieval);
(4) presenting the stimulus (selective perception);
(5) providing learning guidance (semantic encoding);
(6) eliciting performance (responding);
(7) providing feedback (reinforcement);
(8) assessing performance (retrieval);
(9) enhancing 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 designing instruction:

1. Identify the types of learning outcomes.

2. Each outcome may have prerequisite knowledge or skills that must be identified.
3. Identify the internal conditions or processes the learner must have to achieve the
4. Identify the external conditions or instruction needed to achieve the outcomes.
5. Specify the learning context.
6. Record the characteristics of the learners.
7. Select the media for instruction.
8. Plan to motivate the learners.
9. The instruction is tested with learners in the form of formative evaluation.
10. After 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

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. Patsula (1999) believed that an important implication of Gagne’s
model for the web-based course design was providing a variety of learning activities for students.
The researcher noted that instructional designers should anticipate and accommodate alternate
learning styles by "systematically varying teaching and assessment methods to reach every
student (Sternberg, 1994, as cited in Ross-Gordon 1998, 227).” They should also provide
alternate offline materials and activities, as well as present "alternate points of view and
interpretations (Fahy, 1999, 237),” so that the learner is free to "cress-cross the intellectual
landscape of the content domain by looking at it from multiple perspectives or through multiple
themes (Jonassen, Dyer, Peters, Robinson, Harvey, King, & Loughner, 1997, 122).

One can see that adapting Gagne’s "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. Furthermore, one of the significant weaknesses generally found 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). Other limitation of this model
comes from the fact that Gagne and his followers are known as behaviorists, and their focus is
solely on the outcomes, or behaviors, that result from training (Kruse, 2000).

Learner-Focused Models
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, the 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)

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, (4) adults learn best when the topic is of immediate value,
and (5) adults tend to be internally motivated (Knowles, 1984).

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 rationale 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:
1. Establishing a climate conducive to learning.
2. Creating a mechanism for mutual planning.
3. Diagnosing the needs for learning.
4. Formulating program objectives (which is content) that will satisfy these needs.
5. Designing a pattern of learning experiences.
6. Conducting these learning experiences with suitable techniques and materials.
7. Evaluating the learning outcomes and rediagnosing learning needs (Knowles,
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.).
2. Instruction should be task-oriented instead of memorization - learning activities
should be in the context of common tasks to be performed.
3. 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.
4. Since 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. 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. Furthermore, the importance of this model for the WBI is in the role given
to adult student motivation. In distance education, the ability of an instructor to influence
motivation is greatly reduced because of the loss of face-to-face contact with the learner (Cote,
1998). Instructional design, while always important, becomes critical in distance education to
ensure that the learning provided is both appealing and effective. According to Blake (1999),
since adult learning is heavily governed by motivation to learn, adults become frustrated easily
when they cannot see the "obvious" connections. For adults to be motivated they must be able to
actually see how the learning is relevant to them. Accordingly, online instructors should try to
relate all new information to what adults already know, and refer to situations where the subject
matter can be usefully applied, even if it seems obvious. Blake provided the following example:
when introducing shell scripts to an ex DOS user, an instructor might start by pointing out the
major similarities and differences, then list a few ways that easy scripts can be used to make
students’ everyday tasks easier, and follow up with actual examples as the technique is

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
treatment variations.
Based on the previous work of Bruner (1966) and Glaser (1976), Snow worked out an
eight step instructional theory framework procedural in its nature:
1. A theory or model of the learning process, describing how learning is presumed to take
place in a given situation.
2. A specification of instructional objectives. These are derived from value judgments
made by governments, educators, parents, and learners themselves.
3. A task analytic description of each objective, showing the state of knowledge, skill,
etc., to be achieved.
4. A description of the initial stage of each learner when learning begins.
5. A specification of admissible instructional actions and conditions that can be
implemented to bring about changes from initial states to desired states.
6. A methodology for interactive design of assemblies of alternative instructional actions,
to decide which are likely to be optimum.
7. Monitoring procedures that will permit instructional actions to be adapted in midstream
for the purposes of quality control.
8. 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
that needed the theories. Furthermore, critics of Aptitude Treatment Interactions (ATI –
framework for conducting research based on the assumption that fundamental learner differences
will affect what instructional methods are most

appropriate) argued that student performance was too dynamic to be supported by the
permanence and pervasiveness of primarily cognitive ATI and that students, for instance, without
learner control, would become system dependent on prescribed solutions.

In spite of its limitations, Snow’s model set the stage for the learning orientation research.
The learning orientation research attempts to reveal the dominant power of emotions and
intentions on guiding and managing cognitive processes (Martinez, 2002). It is in understanding
the structure and nature of the complex relationships between learning orientations and
interactions that one can return to Snow and Cronbach's original hypothesis that an instructor
should find "for each individual the treatment to which they can most easily adapt." And,
"ultimately instructors should design treatments, not to fit the average person, but to fit groups of
students with particular aptitude patterns. Conversely, instructors should seek out the aptitudes
which correspond to (interact with) modifiable aspects of the treatment (Cronbach & Snow, 1977
as cited in Martinez, 2002)."

Richey’s (1986) Instructional Design Model

This model (see Figure 13) is based on four clusters of large and often interactive
variables. They are the following:
1. The learner
2. The content
3. The environment
4. The delivery

Figure 13. Richey's Model of Instructional Design

The Learner

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 as 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 cultural background.
Capacity. 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 dexterity) development.
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
educational background).
Attitudes. They have a direct influence 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

The Content
Content has three major components: 1) the type of learning task, 2) the mental
operations required, and 3) the subject matter domain.
Type of 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 tasks).
The Mental Operations Required. Three major types of mental operations considered by Richey
are selective attention (focusing, expectation, reinforcing, and guiding), retention (organize,
rehearse for storage, and retrieve for use), and transfer (lateral, vertical, problem solving and
creative thinking).
The Subject Matter Domain. It consists of basic skills, general cultural concerns, vocational
skills, and personal skills.

The Environment
This component is absolutely critical to design. Environment, according to this model
pertinent to instructional design, has two key components – setting and climate.
Setting. It includes schools, business, health care, community and government.
Climate. 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.

The Delivery
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.
Scope. 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. 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 instruction).
Presentation. Richey suggested one could 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,
reinforcement patterns).

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 impact 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 in the online

Other ID Models

Merrill’s Component Display Theory (CDT)

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.
CDT classifies learning along two dimensions: content (facts, concepts, procedures, and
principles) and performance (remembering, using, generalities) (see Figure 14). 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 14. 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 underlie 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:

1. Instruction will be more effective if all three primary performance forms (remember, use,
generality) are present.
2. Primary forms can be presented by either an explanatory or inquisitory learning strategy.
3. The sequence of primary forms is not critical provided they are all present.
4. Students should be given control over the number of instances or practice items they

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 instructional strategy.

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 in traditional and online environment. Its
strength comes from the fact that this model reflects changing views of how to work with
learners most effectively. The model draws from the multiple perspectives of behavioral,
cognitive, and humanistic beliefs (Hiemstra & Brockett, 1994).

Reigeluth’s Elaboration Theory

Reigeluth’s Elaboration Theory is 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,

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 assimilated.

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 control.
1. Elaborative Sequence
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.

2. Prescriptions for Sequencing

Once the elaborative sequence is developed, the lessons within each unit are similarly
sequenced. The rules for sequencing are simple:

1. Begin with the most familiar or organizing concepts.

2. Put supporting content immediately after the organizing information.
3. Place learning prerequisites before new content.
4. Group related concepts.
5. Teach principles before procedures.

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

3. Summarizers

Summarizers collapse lessons to single, easily handled concepts. These summarizers can
be presented by the developer or drawn from the learners as insights.
4. Synthesizers

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).

5. Analogies

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.

6. Cognitive-Strategy Activators

Activators are cues to the learner to apply the learning skills they already have, for
example, asking, "How does this relate to your past experience?"

7. Learner Control
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). For
example, 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:
1. methods of instruction that relate to the context in which learning can take place

2. situations for learning that affect the methods of instruction.

Reigeluth's (1999) model is illustrated in Figure 15.

Figure 15. Reigeluth's Components of Instructional Design Theories

McGriff (2001) pointed out that educators would choose to use the elaboration theory for
guidance in making scope and sequence of instruction decisions, particularly ones that support
holistic approaches to learning. Holistic approaches are key for the new paradigm of learning,
which includes simulations, apprenticeships, goal-based scenarios, problem-based learning, and
situated learning. The theory is flexible enough so that different guidelines can be used for
different instructional situations (McGriff, 2001). One of the advantages of this model is that it
provides a holistic approach to sequencing which enhances the learning process to be more
meaningful and motivational to learners. Also, it was designed to allow the instructional designer
to empower the learner to make some scope and sequence decisions during the learning process.

The 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. Other strengths of the model are:
(a) Organizes instruction to facilitate learner control, (b) Holistic instructional design theory -
exclusively on the macro level, (c) General-to-Specific learning model, (d) Uses analogies to
facilitate learning. Furthermore, Simple-to-Complex approach of this model can be valuable for
the web-based course design. This approach (1) helps to ensure that the learner is always aware
of the context and importance of the different ideas that are being taught, (2) allows the learner to
learn at the level of complexity that is most appropriate and meaningful to him or her at any
given state in the development of one's knowledge, (3) the learner never has to struggle through a
series of learning prerequisites that are ton too deep a level of complexity to be interesting or
meaningful at t he initial stages of instruction (Remley, 2002). Limitations of this model include
lack of attention to project management and implementation.

The analyses of various instructional design models showed that even though each model
had its distinctive characteristics, 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 educational tools.

Limitations of ID Models
Most of the instructional theories described in this chapter were developed relatively
independently of one another, yet produced similar recommendations, thus providing some
rough confirmation of the validity of the recommendations (Merrill, Li, & Jones, 1991). All these
theories represent First Generation Instructional design (ID1). Merrill et al. (1991), in their
analysis of the first generation ID methods, suggested that the use of contemporary instructional
design methodologies did result in instruction that was more effective than that based only on
folklore and trial-and-error. However, these methods did not provide the hope for increase in
instructional effectiveness that could enable learners to more adequately and efficiently grasp,
and to apply, the content presented. Merrill et al. also pointed out the following weaknesses of
the first generation ID models: they were analytical, not synthetic, component rather than model
or schema oriented, and their application required considerable effort. Because the theories upon
which these methods were based predated the development of highly interactive, technology-
based delivery systems, little guidance was provided for developing instruction for these

Instructional theories of the first generation share a number of limitations (Merrill et al., 1991):
· Content analysis does not use integrated wholes, which are essential for understanding
complex and dynamic phenomena.
· ID1 has limited prescriptions for knowledge acquisition.
· ID1 has limited prescriptions for course organization.
· ID1 theories are essentially closed systems.
· ID1 fails to integrate the phases of instructional development.
· ID1 teaches pieces but not integrated wholes.
· ID1 instruction is often passive rather than interactive.
· Every ID1 presentation must be constructed from small components.
· ID1 is labor intensive.

May 2003 Copyright © Elena Qureshi