Instructional design models

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Most instructional design approaches are similar to flow diagrams in systems design ...but less linear
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Last Update

  • Updated.jpg 23 July 2017


See also Adult learning theory (andragogy) | ADDIE model | ASSURE model | Critical thinking | Famous learning theorists in history | Teaching library users | Transformative learning

Instructional design models (IDMs) are defined as "...systematic guidelines instructional designers follow in order to create a workshop, a course, a curriculum, an instructional program, or a training session...". (McGriff, 2001). While IDMs tend to involve linear processes, taking the instructional designer step by step through a series of design stages for a course, workshop or class, some IDMs are more heuristic and iterative. In most cases, IDMs provide a template or framework within which the current needs of learners can be examined, listed and defined. Here, the goals and objectives of instructional activities are critical as are the creation of "interventions" to assist in learning. The process of instructional design is deeply influenced by the use of pedagogies or theories that match and/or complement learning - where it will take place, and who will be there i.e., students, faculty or combinations of groups and disciplines. Learning theories play a critical part of the entire process. Classic learning theories such as behaviourism, constructivism, social learning and cognitivism are used to create instructional materials and shape learning spaces.

Reiser and Dempsey have said that instructional design is "...a systematic process that is employed to develop education and training programs in a consistent and reliable fashion...". Instructional design models can be thought of as frameworks for developing modules and lessons. The goal is to increase the likelihood that learning will take place, and that learner engagement will be full and deep. A vast number of instructional design models have been developed and implemented during the 20th century. Some of the most popular instructional design models, theories and methodologies are listed below.

Should instructional design models be used by librarians in their teaching?

The simple answer to this question is yes, absolutely.

The question is how can academic librarians (and, health librarians) make better use of instructional design models to improve upon their design of library workshops, and other training sessions. One of the major challenges facing our field is that learning theory and instructional design tools are not widely-used. So, librarians should start at the beginning. It's important that instructional librarians learn the basics and that they know about the most common learning design models and frameworks, continually working towards deeper understanding of the process. A lot of the materials on this wiki are intended for those interested in self-study so that the basics can be learned at a pace that is convenient to them.

Some starter questions: what do we mean by instructional design? Where do you start with instructional design? What does good instructional design look like? What are the strategies for success? What are the key evaluating development tools?

Behaviourist approaches

Cognitivist approaches

Constructivist approaches

Overview of IDMs


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