Posted on: January 11, 2021
Written by Charles M. Reigeluth and Yunjo An, authors of Merging the Instructional Design Process with Learner-Centered Theory: The Holistic 4D Model.
Instructional design (ID) is essentially the development and delivery of effective, psychologically informed, large-scale teaching and learning experiences. The most common ID models have been around for many decades, yet knowledge about how to make effective, efficient, and enjoyable instruction has advanced considerably in recent years, based on developments in the learning sciences, brain science, technology, and other areas. I have spent much of the last seven years studying ways to bring our ID process models up to date on this recent knowledge.
In this blog series, we discuss what I believe are the top 10 most important updates needed. The first two are the need to integrate guidance about instructional methods into the ID process, and the need to focus on learner-centered instruction in that guidance about instructional methods.
1. Integrate Instructional Theory into the ID Process
It is rare to find an ID model that provides any guidance about what the instruction should be like. This is ironic, considering that:
• The nature of the instruction is what the whole ID process is intended to determine. Without instructional theory, you are missing half the guidance you need to design high quality instruction.
• The quality of the instruction will largely determine the success of the ID project. While finishing the ID project on time and within budget is important, the most important determinant of the success of an ID project is the quality of the instruction, including its effectiveness, efficiency, and appeal.
• It is not just that the ID process determines the instructional methods to be used, but the instructional methods that are selected also influence the subsequent parts of the ID process that are needed. For example, if you decide to use a computer-based simulation for a project-based approach to learning, you will need a different set of ID activities than if you decide to use a classroom lecture-based approach to learning.
Hence, it is very important to integrate instructional theory into the ID process.
2. Focus on Learner-Centered Instruction
The biggest strides in the development of instructional-design theory have been in the area of learner-centered instruction, including project-based learning, competency-based learning, personalized learning, collaborative learning, self-directed learning, and anytime anywhere learning. It is particularly important to include guidance for learner-centered instruction because:
• Most instructional designers are very familiar with teacher-centered instruction but not so much with learner-centered instruction.
• Learner-centered instruction has been proven more effective, efficient, and appealing than teacher-centered instruction, especially for situations where different learners have different learning needs and preferences.
Therefore, it is essential that the instructional theory that is integrated with the ID process focuses on guidance for learner-centered instructional methods.
We will describe our other eight updates shortly.