|This page presents five theories for
developing instruction. The five models should be read first as they
provide a framework to build upon and are fairly consistent in their
approach. The two main differences are the level of detail that they go
into and their semantics.
The sixth section brings the theories together in an easy to follow model for ID design. This is followed by a section of resource of templates.
There are three types of strategies within Instruction Design theories:
According to John Keller, there are four steps in the instructional design process - Attention, Relevance, Confidence, Satisfaction (ARCS).
According to Keller attention can be gained in two ways:
Methods for grabbing the learners' attention include:
The first step, "gaining the learner's attention" is normally relatively easy; the key is to then maintain their attention at an optimal level after grabbing them. You have to keep them from becoming bored nor over stimulate them (see Arousal).
Emphasize relevance within the instruction to increase motivation by using concrete language and examples with which the learners are familiar. They are six major strategies foe accomplishing this:
Allow the learners to succeed! However, present a degree of challenge that provides meaningful success.
Provide opportunities to use newly acquired knowledge or skill in a real or simulated setting. Provide feedback and reinforcements that will sustain the desired behavior. If learners feel good about learning results, they will be motivated to learn. Satisfaction is based upon motivation, which can be intrinsic or extrinsic. Some basic rules are:
Notice that satisfaction is closely related to confidence. If you allow the learners to build confidence, satisfaction will follow if the task remains challenging.
Merrill's Component Display Theory (DDT) describes the micro elements of instruction (single ideas and methods for teaching them). It is designed to work in conjunction with Riegeluth's theory.
CDT is comprised of three parts:
The theory classifies learning into two dimensions:
By forming a matrix using content and performance, the instructor
determines which elements on the matrix are the goals for the
The theory also identifies four primary presentation forms:
And some secondary presentation forms:
The matrix is set up to determine the level of performance needed for an area of content. For each of the categories in the matrix, it can be assumed in CRT that there is a combination of primary and secondary presentation forms that will provide the most effective and efficient acquisition of skills and knowledge available. CRT specifies that instruction is more effective when it contains all the necessary primary and secondary forms. Thus, a complete lesson would consist of an objective, followed by some combination of rules, examples, recall, practice, feedback, helps, and mnemonics appropriate to the subject matter and learning task.
The theory is primarily designed for use by groups of learners. Several components are provided so that a wide variety of learners may participate, however each learner only needs the components which specifically work for her to achieve the goals of instruction.
Charles Reigeluth was a doctorate student of Merrill. He used a sequencing approach that is consistent with Merrill's Component Display Theory (that is, each theory enhances the other). Reigeluth believes that instruction is made out of layers and that each layer of instruction elaborates on the previously presented ideas. By elaborating on the previous ideal, it reiterates, thereby improving retention. This layering has a zoom lens sequencing approach that runs from simple to complex and repeated general-to-specific:
This zoom lens approach first looks at the subject through a wide-angle lens. That is, the subject matter is general and fundamental. This allows us to deal with the core aspects of the subject. Elaboration begins with an overview of the simplest and most fundamental ideas of the subject.
Then we start to zoom in with the lens so that we pick up some details and specifics about the subject matter. We can also observe the relationships between the wide-angle subject shot and the zoom details. This principle as applied to elaboration theory is called a cognitive zoom.
As we continue to zoom, we go into great detail with each iteration or layering. Note that we are primarily concerned with the sequencing of ideas as opposed to the individual ideas themselves. Each zoom that we make is called a sequence. Sequencing in this case relates to fundamental ideas or core principles. The basic ones are presented first, this in turn, leads to a great layer of specifics. Each sequence of ideas or principles are called epitomes in elaboration theory. The epitome serves as a foundation from which more specific information may be developed.
This simple to complex procedure can take many forms such as an overview, advance organizer, or spiral curriculum. This sequence is one in which the general ideas epitomize rather than summarize, and the epitomizing is organized on the basis of a single type of content:
One of these three contents is chosen to achieve the goals of a lesson or course. Epitomizing is structured as follows:
This is the subject matter before the first level of elaboration:
This is after elaboration:
From this first layer or epitome, we can then elaborate by organizing (the second step) the content.
The second step elaborates upon organizing the content in the first level. This process continues in the same way as the first step of Sequence. The relationships that result between the levels are organized according to content. At each level the expanded epitome is used to create a means to elaborate upon the next level.
Each epitome should be examined closely to determine if the learners have the essential knowledge that will allow them to learn the subject matter. If the necessary knowledge is not present, it must be provided.
In order to systematically review what has already been learned, a summarizer is created. A summarizer provides a concise statement of each idea, an example. Two types of summarizers are used:
This step integrates and interrelates the ideas taught thus far. The goal is to facilitate deeper understanding, meaningfulness, and retention in regards to the content area.
Analogy is the use of a familiar idea or concept to introduce or define a new idea or concept. Analogies aid the trainer in reaching the learner's field of experience. Presenting analogies throughout the instruction helps the learners to build on their present knowledge or skills.
6. Cognitive-Strategy Activator
There are two categories of cognitive-strategy activators:
7. Learner Control
Learner Control deals with the freedom of the learner to control the selection and sequencing of such instructional elements as content, rate, components (instructional-strategy), and cognitive strategies.
Note that this is a macro strategy of instructional design that focus on the organization and sequencing of subject matter content by addressing the four design problem areas: selection, sequencing, synthesizing, and summarizing.
Elaboration theory is best suited for teaching causal relationships and sequences rather than problem solving or facts. It works in conjunction with component-display theory, which deals with the micro aspects of instruction and works out the details of elaboration.
Constructivism is a learning theory, not an instructional approach, hence it can best be thought of as a way of "growing" or improving instruction. It is greatly influenced by Piagetian epistemology and Lev Vygotsky.
Constructivists place the learner at the center of the equation; the idea is that the learner constructs knowledge rather than passively absorbs it. Meaning is constructed by the learner, each in her own way. It is based on according to how the learner's understanding is currently organized. An individual's knowledge is a function of one's prior experiences, mental structures, and beliefs that are used to interpret objects and events.
In many classrooms, the predominant training model is direct instruction, which called instructivism or objectivism (based on information processing theory). The trainer's central role is to transmit knowledge to learners and learner's role is to absorb information (reception and compliance). In this model the trainer's performance is critical. Also, there is a over-reliance on rote memorization, which does not give the learners the skills in how to think and solve problems.
However, in today's real-world context, the work environment is becoming a learning environment (learning organization). Learners will not make use of concepts and ideas unless they use them through some type of process, that is, learners master only those activities they actually practice. Note that this is an assumption in both constructivism and rote learning environments.
Both constructivism and instructivism are required as learners need to be able to solve complex problems and be able to understand the reasons or methods they use to reach their conclusions. Note that this follows Bloom's Taxonomy in that it goes from simple leaning to the higher levels of critical thinking.
Good interactive strategies enhance the cognitive, social, and emotional climate.
Small Group Activities
In traditional classroom training, small group exercises involves the more conventional notion of cooperation, in that learners work in small groups on an assigned project or problem under the guidance of the trainer who monitors the groups, making sure the learners are staying on task and are coming up with the correct answers (if there is a right or a best answer). This is known as cooperative learning.Collaborative learning is a more radical departure. It involves learners working together in small groups to develop their own answer through interaction and reaching consensus, not necessarily a known answer. Monitoring the groups or correcting "wrong" impressions is not the role of the trainer since there is no authority on what the answer should be.
One small group method is "Numbered Heads Together" developed by Spencer Kagan. This method divides the learners in groups of three to six. Each group is assigned a team number and each group member is assigned a number. When the trainer poses a question, group members get together, examine the possibilities, and construct an answer. The trainer then picks a number by drawing a card or rolling a die. The number selected designates the spokesperson for each table group. A second number designates the table group that will respond first.
Group learning activities cause learners to integrate experiences, knowledge, and beliefs and at the same time, knowledge and beliefs are formed within each learner. While the group activity allows them to gain a new experience.
Learner Developed Instruction
Constructivist learning theory also places importance on the learner's point of view. Make a point of including participant requests in the design process. Although it requires extra work, the payback in engagement and learning is well worth the effort. This is because the learners bring some form of prior knowledge to presentations. These conceptions (and misconceptions) should become part of the design process for the experience you are trying to create. A mind map is a good method for helping a learner to present her current theories.
Metacognition and Reflection
Metacognition allows the learner to plan, set time lines, allocate resources. Also, metacognition also refers to the ability to reflect on one's own performance. Reflection allows the learners the opportunity to develop, assess, and organize their thoughts.
1. Chunk the material (epitomize)
2. Sequence it into a logical structure
3. Build an Interest Device (Get their Attention)
4. Organize the Objectives
5. Stimulate Recall of Prior Knowledge
6. Create Strategies to Foster Critical Thinking and Deeper Understanding
Lesson Plan Template (Word)
Presentation Template (Word)
Notes and Reference
|Gagne, Robert M. (1985). The Conditions of Learning and
the Theory of Instruction, (4th ed.), New York: Holt, Rinehart, and
Keller, J.M., & Suzuki, K. (1988). Use of the ARCS motivation model in courseware design. In D. H. Jonassen (ED.) Instructional designs for microcomputer courseware. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Merrill, M. D. (1983). Component Display Theory. In C. M. Reigeluth (ed), Instructional Design Theories and Models: An Overview of their Current States. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Reigeluth, C. M. and Stein, F. S. (1983). The Elaboration Theory of Instruction. In C. M. Reigeluth (ed), Instructional Design Theories and Models: An Overview of their Current States. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
May 29, 2000. Updated November 4, 2000|
ISD - Development