Brief Introduction to Systematic Design and Development
strong educational programs is challenging. The purpose of this
page is to provide a brief introduction to the systematic
design and development of learning environments,
particularly online environments.
of Instructional Systems Design gained prominence following
its use in the development of training during WWII. Since
that time, a great deal of research and the development of
several ISD models has occurred. Most of these models appear
to be the product of applied common sense and many share a
common core of elements. This common core includes:
defining instructional goals,
instructional strategy and materials development,
formative and summative evaluation of instruction.
of these elements is described below.
Assessment: Why do anything?
needs assessment answers the question, "Why do anything?"
A need can be defined as the gap between what is and what
should be (Kaufman,
personal communication). A thorough needs assessment will
define needs and specify, in quantifiable terms, how we will
measure whether we have closed the gap(s).
Instructional Goals: What, in general, do we want learners
to be able to do?
is determined to be a means of satisfying one or more needs,
the purpose or goal of the instruction should be defined as
concisely as possible. This goal will be very precisely outlined
in the next step, information processing analysis.
Analysis: What does "expert" behavior look like?
of a good information processing analysis is a complete description
of what an "expert" does when performing "in
the field." This description is driven by the goal(s)
defined previously but is a very specific description of the
behaviors, motivations, and cognitions that our instruction
is intended to produce or add to our learners repertoire.
Knowledge engineering, in computer science, is a close cousin
to this area of instructional design. An information-processing
analysis, typically, results in a variety of flow-charts,
diagrams, and other visual representations of expert behavior
related to our instructional goal(s).
Instructional Objectives: What, specifically, do we want
learners to be able to do?
should define, as precisely as possible, what a learner will
be able to do after instruction. Objectives should be measurable
and directly relate to fulfilling elements of the information
processing analysis. In addition, a complete set of objectives
defines precisely what learners must know prior to entering
the instructional episode (i.e., entry level skills), and
the sequential order of objectives if such a sequence is necessary
for effective instruction.
important to note that traditional "behavioral"
ISD models have relied on limited descriptions of potential
learning outcomes. Recent developments in cognitive science
and the study of motivation have provided instructional designers
with a much broader palette of outcomes from which to select.
Indeed, motivational design is a relatively new addition to
the set of skills an instructional designer should include
in his or her skill set.
Strategies, Tool Selection and Materials Development:
What to do and how to do it?
an instructional or learning environment that facilitates
the accomplishment of our instructional goals requires
deliberate planning, the selection of media appropriate for our objectives,
and the development of "materials" (broadly defined).
The following list of questions is a sample of those asked
and answered at this stage of the design process:
are the technologies / media available to our target audience(s)?
are the internal and external administrative, technical,
or other constraints framing our instruction?
are the specific attributes of the learning environment
required for each objective?
are the resources available to create the learning environments?
each of these questions helps to narrow the set of possible
media and learning technologies for our instruction. In addition,
these answers help ensure that our instruction is not only
available to learners but is as effective as possible by matching
our objectives to our selection of media / environment.
and Summative Evaluation of Instruction: Are we doing what
we intended to do?
can be defined broadly to include assessment. Formative evaluation
refers to data collected with the intention of revising.
systems are best viewed as living organisms that require regular
care and feeding (i.e., attention and updating). Summative
evaluation refers to data collected directly relevant to the
needs identified at the beginning of this process (i.e., the
reasons for doing anything!).