Instructional Design?

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I want to take some time to define what I feel Instructional Design is and how it relates any organization.  The definition that I have come to use for ID is the overall process that it takes to build curriculum and course material to create learning either through blended or online instruction. What I mean in process is the structure the organization has established as the working model to accomplish instructional design and the resources identified in which this will be accomplished with. Of course this assumes that one will understand the pieces to the process and how they function as a working model.

What is Instructional Design Theory ?

According to Reigeluth (1999: 6-7) a “grand old man” in this field, Instructional Design-Theory is:

  1. design-oriented (focusing on means to attain given goals for learning or development) and
  2. identifies methods of instruction (ways to support and facilitate learning) and the situation in which these methods should and should not be used.
  3. Methods of instruction can be broken down into more detailed component methods
  4. Methods are probabilistic, rather than deterministic…

This process in the development of course content and curriculum design becomes very apparent in the overall process of instructional design.  The process dictates the flow of the content as well as the chunking and sequencing. In instructional design this is very important because it will structure the course in a way that the student will make sense of the course objectives and will see the learning outcomes as they are developed.  The design process is akin to Blooms Taxonomy in that the lower levels of applications are building steps towards the big picture. You wouldn’t want a student to enroll in a Math program  and go straight to Calculus without having to learn algebra or geometry. Chunking and sequencing are kind of the same in theory. The course should be designed within a framework that introduces the subject at the beginning and gets into the meat of the course with building blocks. Kind of like holding their hand but without the contact. This article on Instructional Strategic Design has a good illustration of the process in action.

So before you begin that project make sure your ducks are all lined up before you get started. It is a set back once you get going and you have to back track to address a critical step after the development process has begun.


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