Instructional System Design (ISD) is an organized procedure that includes the steps of analyzing, designing, developing, implementing and evaluating instruction. Process rather than product is emphasized in ISD. Analyzing is the first process where the instructor must define what is to be learned and the context in which is it to be learned. The second process is designing. The instructor must specify how it is to be learned. Developing is the third process and involves the authoring and producing of the instructional materials. Implementation, actual use of the materials and strategies in context, is the forth process. Evaluation is the final process and it involves determining the adequacy of the instruction.
Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism are the leading learning theories used in ISD. Briefly, Behaviorism is based on observable changes in behavior. It is the study of overt behaviors that can be observed and measured. Behaviorism can be contributed to both John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner. Watson’s Classical Conditioning suggests the role of conditioning in the development of emotional responses to certain stimuli. Skinner tested Watson’s theory and agreed that people respond to their environment but suggested that learning behaviors can be shaped by selective consequences. The behaviorist learning theory has had great influence on ISD. Behaviorist based instruction, such as simple drill and practice and multiple choice questions, is commonly used when seeking immediate feedback. Behaviorists believe that breaking down of a task into small steps is an efficient and fail proof method of shaping a learners behavior.
Cognitive theory is said to be the dominant theory in ISD. Cognitive scientists study how individuals acquire, process, store, and use information. Cognitivism is similar to behaviorism but it attempts to understand mental functions. Changes in behavior are observed indicating what is happening inside the learner’s mind. Individuals are able to model behavior by observing the behavior of another. Cognitive designers, like behaviorists, break down a task into smaller steps or chunks but the instruction moves from simple to complex building on prior schemata. Trouble shooting programs are often used in cognitive learning environments. When evaluating the ISD, both cognitive and behaviorist designers must determine whether the criteria for the objectives have been met.
Constructivism differs from both behaviorism and cognitivism in that it argues that knowledge can only be constructed, never produced or transmitted. Reality, according to constructivists, is more in the mind of the knower. The knower constructs a reality, or at least interprets it, based upon his or her apperceptions. Once information is received the learner must be able to interpret that information and make it meaningful, otherwise the information is of no use to him or her. When designing a constructivist learning environment the methods and results of learning aren’t the same for every learner and are therefore not easily measured. Some argue that constructivism is not compatible with the present systems approach to ISD since we can not determine and insure a common set of outcomes for learners. Constructivists assert that students need to engage in active, constructive, intentional, authentic, and cooperative learning. The components of a technology-supported learning environment include problem or project space, a set of related cases to explain the problem, information resources to support investigation of the problem, cognitive tools, and conversation and collaboration tools and supports. Developing a Constructivist learning environment involves much more preparation than a Behaviorist or Cognitive learning environment. When designing instruction, the most useful tools for a constructivist designer is hypertext and hypermedia because it allows for a branched design rather than a linear format of instruction.
Instructional System Design Models
Using ISD models to design courses can greatly simplify the process, no matter what learning theory the designer favors. The differences between models are often related more to the level of detail, terminology, and emphasis than to clearly differentiated foundations, assumptions, and learning paradigms.
One of the first ISD models developed was the ADDIE model. The ADDIE model is commonly used by designers in the development of instructional courses and training programs. ADDIE is short for Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate. Click the boxes below for more information about each phase:
Design user interface and application graphics standards
Design functional elements
Design application architecture
Create detailed storyboards
Construct and develop performance support content
Script and program functional elements
Create graphics and animation sequences
Create supplemental learning guides
Prepare media for installation and shipment
Provide training to instructors and students on any specialized technology they may need to teach/complete the content.
Test form and funcation
Validate content accuracy and completeness
Revise as necessary
In 1981, Romiszowski proposed six major steps in his instructional design process. According to Romiszowski, with every project the designer must make adjustments to his or her model since each learner and every situation is different.
The first step is to develop an instructional plan and identify the instructional problem and define the instructional objectives.
Detailed Design of Compenents
The second step is to develop the detailed design of components. The designer must also analyze the problem to identify alternative approaches to solving the problem.
Production of Components
The third step is the production of components or design. The designer must select methods and media to solve the problem.
Implementation is the fourth step and involves the use of the methods and media to solve the problem. This includes tests, manuals, teachers’ guides, and so on.
Evaluation, Revision and More Controlled Implementation
Evaluation, revision and controlled implementation is the fifth step. The designer collects data to evaluate the solution so that changes can be made for future implementation.
The final step is to standardize the improved solution. The designer must adapt the successful solution so that it can be used to resolve similar problems in the future.
Dick & Carey Model
The Dick & Carey Model is considered to be a systems approach model rather than a curriculum design model because there is a specific input, process, and output for each component. In addition, curriculum development requires additional steps such as goal identification analysis, needs assessment, and curriculum analysis. The Dick & Carey Model is usually used in colleges to train instructional designers and is an effective model to use when designing workplace training programs
Identifying an instructional goal is the first step. The instructor must determine the instructional problem and decide how it can be resolved. What will your students be able to do once they have completed your instruction? Statements of goals, needs assessment, or practical experience can help a designer develop the instructional goal.
Conduct Instructional Analysis
This involves the specific steps the learner would go through in performing the goal and the subordinate skills that a student must learn in order to achieve that goal.
Identifying entry behaviors and characteristics, asks "What do the learners know?" Identification of the knowledge and skills the learner must have prior to the instruction is necessary. This may include special interests, maturation level, and attention span.
Write Performance Objectives
When writing performance objectives, the designer must write specific statements of what it is the students will be able to do once the module is completed. This is based on the instructional analysis and the statement of entry behaviors and characteristics.
Develop Criterion-Referenced Test Items
Developing criterion-referenced tests is the fifth step and it involves the utilization of assessment instruments that will measure the extent to which the learners have achieved the performance objectives.
Develop Instructional Strategy
Developing an instructional strategy requires the designer to specify what the strategy is in order to reach the objective. Information from the five preceding steps should be used by the designer in order to determine the best strategy to reach the objective. Pre-instructional activities, presentation of information, practice and feedback, testing, and follow-through activities should be included in the strategy. The strategy will be based upon current outcomes of learning research, current knowledge of the learning process, content to be taught, and the characteristics of the students who will use the materials.
Develop & Select Instructional Materials
The designer must produce instructional modules. This can include student manuals, tests, instructional material, and teacher's guides.
Develop & Conduct Formative Evaluation
Designing and conducting the formative evaluation questions how effective the module is and the designer is to come up with ways it can be improved.
Revising the Instruction
This is the final step and the first step if the cycle is repeated. Difficulties experienced by the learners while trying to achieve the objectives of the module are identified and the module can then be reexamined leading to revisions of the module.
Develop and Conduct Summative Evauluation
Conducting summative evaluation is not part of the design process but it is used to determine the effectiveness of the instruction and occurs only after the instruction has been formatively evaluated and revised.
Seels & Glasgow ISD Model II
In 1997 Barbara Seels and Zita Glasgow presented their Seels & Glasgow ISD Model II: For Practitioners based on the assumption that design happens in a context of project management. The project management plan establishes roles, tasks, timelines, budget, checkpoints, and supervisory procedures. This is divided in to three phases: needs analysis management, instructional design management, and implementation and evaluation management. It is a very designer friendly model since it isn’t necessary to complete a step before proceeding to the next. Click on a section below to learn more about it.
The first phase is problem analysis and it involves the designer finding the solution using needs analysis. All questions related to needs assessment, performance analysis, and context analysis are addressed.
The second phase includes all steps involved in the design, development, and formative evaluation of the course. These steps are done in order but can be returned to again and again to make adjustments or the designer can go on to another step without the preceding step being completed.
Implementation & Evaluation
Implementation and maintenance is the third phase and it involves real life settings. Preparation of training material and programs are done during this phase. Training is conducted and evaluated as well as support systems and materials are provided. Instruction is evaluated and the project is disseminated while the ideas are diffused. Instructors and learners need to learn new technology.
Once the phases are completed, a summative evaluation is to be conducted. Each phase can then be repeated.
Click the image below to read an article about Hanan Yaniv and Susan Crichton's proposed ISD model.
Ally, M. (1997). Instructional Design. Edmonton, AB: Grant MacEwan Community College and Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.
Dick, W., Carey, L., & Carey, O. (2000). The Systematic Design of Instruction (3rd ed.). Glenview, IL: Addison Wesley Publishing.