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Instructional Design

To fully understand the systematic approach to instructional design, there’s a need to clarify the meaning of some common concepts that arise in the process of designing and implementing instructions. A systematic design of instruction can be described as an instructional systems model. The term can also be used to describe any systematic design concept or methodology that can transform the principles of learning into instructional materials and learning strategies. Behind the implementation of any systematic instructional design, there are some basic aspects that are taken into consideration to ensure its successful implementation.

They are listed as follows: Dick and Carey’s detailed model of an instructional systems design is achieved by looking at instruction as a combination of activities that can be broken down into smaller components that are measurable and achievable. To understand the concept of systematic instructional design, it’s important to take into consideration the definition of certain critical concepts (Dick & Carey, 1990). Dick and Carey define some key words that are associated with instructional system design and they are outlined as follows:

Performance objectives This is a combination of what learners are expected to be able to do after completing a specific course of instruction. They can also be referred to as learning outcomes and refer to what the learner will be capable of accomplishing at the end of the course. Learning outcomes can be categorized into different types which are outlined as follows: subject-based knowledge, transferrable skills such as team work and communications, critical thinking and ethical practice (Dick & Carey, 1990).

Key concepts and knowledge materials should always be specified during instructional design and students’ performance based on this should be analyzed (Bloom, 1971). Learning activities on the other hand, are best designed to match the objectives of the study. For example, activities may be targeted at developing particular skills in the student like comprehension, real-life application, knowledge transfer and analysis of certain learning events. This objectives model of instructional design is further supported by Bloom’s Taxonomy (Bloom, 1971).

It comprises different stages of learning like knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Instructional analysis This refers to a set of procedures that are applied to an instructional goal so that relevant skills in a person can be identified. A good example of the systematic instructional design is the WOWDOC (WebCT Ordinal Web Delivery Organization Companion) which was developed in a bid to aid lecturers in coming up with course content.

This model makes use of four strategies in designing instructional materials: The level of online involvement is estimated and built into the instructional strategy; activities to take place before the use of the instructional strategy are identified and defined; the content of the instructional material is identified, collated and presented in a format that is easily understandable ; the level of learner participation is determined and assessment procedures are defined to review the activities and performance of learners (Dick & Carey, 1990). Curriculum Content

This refers to what the learner needs to know in order to be able to carry out certain tasks or achieve set learning objectives (Bloom, 1971). Assessment should also form a core part of systematic instructional design. The feedback received by the instructor based on the overall performance of students is an effective indicator of the suitability of the learning strategies and instructional design adopted. A Systematic Approach to Curriculum Design Gagne and Briggs define instructional system design as the process of planning and implementing the development of instructional materials and practices.

Gagne developed his theories by incorporating the principles of behavioral theorists through the integration of appropriate learning theories into practical instructional strategies that ensure effective learning (Gagne, Briggs & Wagner, 1992). Gagne and Briggs contributed to three major areas in education and these are instruction events, diverse learning levels and the various types of learning events that a student can experience. The basic principles of instruction proposed by Gagne and Briggs are as follows:

According to Gagne, instructional design must exceed traditional learning theories such as cognitivism, behaviorism and constructivism. It must provide additional allowance for individuals to develop their skills from one level of complexity to another thus employing a hierarchical method of learning. This learning hierarchy comprises five learning outcomes which include verbal information, intellectual skills, cognitive strategies, motor skills, and attitudes. In a nutshell, Gagne’s system approach to instructional design emphasizes that one skill must be learnt before the other (Gagne et al, 1992).

Gagne’s theory has been used in numerous instances to design instructional methods used in many educational settings today. Although during its initial design, its application was intended for the development of military instructional systems, it has proven to be effective even in present educational settings. Through these theories, Gagne and Briggs were able to address the role of instructional technology in learning. In summary, Gagne and Briggs assert that different conditions are needed for achieving different learning outcomes.

For each type of learning outcome, the associated event is different (Briggs, Gustafson, Tellman, 1991). According to the duo, effective instructional design can be achieved by adopting techniques that involve gaining the student’s attention, employing the use of intellectually stimulating materials, providing guidance, providing feedback to the student on performance and knowledge transfer (Gagne et al, 1992). A systematic approach to instructional design involves setting clear objectives for the learning process.

These objectives act as milestones that make it easy to identify when a particular learning outcome has been achieved. The next stage of the design involves creating learner hierarchies that describe the requirements for achieving the set goals. Ultimately, there’s a need to create the learning event (Michael, 2002). Conclusion Systematic instructional design comprises critical principles that should be strictly adhered to. The environment of the student should always be arranged in a manner that facilitates effective learning.

Learning, the result of people’s knowledge and skills needs to be enhanced through effective interaction with the environment. Tools should always be designed as a combination of people, environment and tasks. So long as the objectives of learning are achieved, the systematic instructional design can be deemed successful.

References

Bloom, B. (1971). Handbook of formative and summative evaluation of student learning. New York McGraw-Hill. Briggs, L. J. , Gustafson, K. L. & Tellman, M. H. , Eds. (1991). Instructional Design: Principles and Applications. Second Edition, Educational Technology Publications, Englewood Cliffs, NJ

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