The Process of Designing Instruction

Simple and universal design model:

1.     Needs Assessment

2.     Development of Objectives

3.     Planning the instructional program activities

4.     Implementing the instructional program

5.     Evaluation of instructional program effectiveness

All of these steps have a feedback and modification in and out flow so that summative evaluation is possible, as well as stopping the entire process, throughout the design process.

A slightly more sophisticated approach is the systems analysis flow:

1.     Need (defining goals to be reached or functions to be performed in terms of learner or program needs)

2.     Objectives (statement of needs and constraints in terms suitable for ongoing and product analysis

3.     Planning Considerations

a.     Constraints of varying types

b.     Capabilities (resources and new approaches that may be needed or possible)

4.     Alternatives (various possible approaches that can be tested)

5.     Analysis and selection of alternatives (apply various selection criteria)

a.     Performance costs

b.     Effectiveness

c.      Timing

d.     Risk

e.      Organizational policies

6.     Development and pilot testing (to work out details on a trial basis)

7.     Evaluation (determine effectiveness of the system in meeting objectives

All of these steps have a feedback and modification loop and the system in rotated as needed until the appropriate program, instructional unit, or system is developed.

Strategic areas in the systems approach to a total curriculum design:

1.     Input data on students

2.     Formulate student performance or behavioral objectives

3.     Construct any needed pretests

4.     Select appropriate course content

5.     Select instructional strategies (methods, techniques, devices)

6.     Produce those instructional materials not available commercially

7.     Select the instructional delivery process (or processes)

8.     Conduct the instruction

9.     Post-test analysis

10.                        Evaluate overall effectiveness

All of these steps have a feedback and modification loop in terms of student achievement.

An alternative model is the Hiemstra and Sisco (1990) Individualizing instructional process model:

·        Step One: Activities of various types performed or designed prior to the first session with learners

·        Step Two: Creating a positive learning environment throughout the learning process

·        Step Three: Developing an instructional plan based on learner needs and interests

·        Step Four: Identifying appropriate learning activities

·        Step Five: Putting the learning into action and monitoring the progress

·        Step Six: Evaluating individual learner outcomes (based on individual learner needs and usually designed through a learning contract)

Breaking down the Gagne, Briggs, and Wager (1992) instructional design process into manageable components. These are based on assumptions about having completed appropriate needs and learner analysis, understanding something about required or determined instructional outcomes, understanding the varieties of learning skills and strategies desired or needed, understanding the varieties learning outcomes, attitudes, and skills desired or needed, and understanding what is needed to be known about learners, learning processes, memory, cognition styles, learner's barriers, etc.:

1.     Write course objectives

2.     Generate a course description

3.     Identify appropriate topics and content areas

4.     Determine appropriate lesson sequencing

5.     Write lesson objectives (including the instructor's hidden agenda objectives

6.     The instructional planning process -- writing learning objectives, identifying learning methods, techniques, and devices, planning presentational strategies and sequencing, and defining appropriate evaluation or testing procedures

7.     Generate a plan of action for the instruction in terms of sequence, time lines, people responsible, etc.

8.     The instructional design component -- design student’s learning materials, design appropriate course aids and media, and assembling necessary course material in a workbook or learning guide (often supplemented by text books)

9.     Create or write necessary tests or evaluation materials for students

10.                        The instructional creation component -- make and or produce instructional material, generate any support documents or materials, and write individual lesson plans as needed

11.                        Do any necessary pretesting and validation

12.                        The courseware creation component -- based on any appropriate testing or evaluation date update instructional materials, prepare appropriate support equipment or material, prepare any individual courseware as required, and ensure that instructors are sufficiently trained

13.                        Implement the course material and activities and do appropriate testing and corrections as needed

14.                        Complete and end of the course evaluation

15.                        Revise as needed through post course evaluation and feedback.

Methods, Techniques, and Devices

1.     Method - the ways in which people are organized in order to conduct an educational or training activity, such as travel, study groups, discussion groups, workshops, independent study, etc. In a sense, methods for a group of learners are pre-determined by the way learners are naturally organized in society, such as individuals desiring to learn alone, group settings, community settings, etc.

2.     Techniques - the means of relating learners to information; the facilitator/trainer and learners select specific ways through which to relate to, deal with, and grasp knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors, etc., such as panel discussions, lectures, group discussion times, and tests

3.     Devices - the vehicles appropriate as a means to facilitate certain learning methods or techniques. Basically there are three types of devices –

a.     Equipment (projectors, computers, etc.)

b.     Physical conditions (lighting, temperature, sound, etc.)

c.      Social mechanisms or arrangements (appointed recorders of group discussion, arranging chairs in a circular format, etc.)

Selecting methods, techniques, and devices to supplement instructional goals:

1.     Examine instructional givens -- a. learners (who are they, what brings them to the learning setting, how do they learn, etc.), b. content plans (what is being studied, why is it being studied, etc.), c. educational resources (what is available or need to assist in the learning experience), and d. method (what are the needed or required patterns of organization, how many students are there, how much time is available, what are the physical constraints, etc.)

2.     Consider the nature of instructional techniques available, known, or necessary -- a. what structure or arrangements are required or appropriate, and b. what are their functions or what can they accomplish?

3.     Examine the strengths and weakness of various techniques (panel discussions, lectures, educational tours, internships, web searching, etc.)

4.     Make decisions and carry out appropriate planning -- For each technique to be used determine why it is to be used and what will be accomplished (strengths and weakness)

5.     Carry out the instructional plans and apply or use the various techniques supported by any required instructional devices


Created January 1, 2009

Return to the planning page.

Return to the home page.