Posted on: January 18, 2021
Written by Charles M. Reigeluth and Yunjo An, authors of Merging the Instructional Design Process with Learner-Centered Theory: The Holistic 4D Model.
This is the second of our blogs on ways that ID process models should be updated based on developments in our field. These next three suggestions (#3, #4, and #5) are related to the integration of instructional theory into the ID process (#1).
3. Topic Expertise as well as Task Expertise
Due to their behaviorist roots, ID models have focused almost exclusively on designing instruction for developing expertise in performing tasks. But many courses and other instructional programs are focused more on understandings than on performing tasks. Examples include courses on biology and other natural sciences, economics and other social sciences, philosophy and other humanities, and much more.
Topic expertise requires the development of various kinds of mental models, including causal models, conceptual models, and natural process models. Therefore, it is important that the instructional theory that is integrated with the ID process offers guidance for instructional methods to develop topic expertise – including a variety of applications of such expertise – as well as task expertise.
Topic expertise requires a different kind of analysis from task analysis, and it requires different instructional methods centered around the development of mental models.
4. Holistic Instructional Sequences
Schema theory has helped us understand that learning is improved when it occurs within a meaningful context of broader and more inclusive knowledge. Hierarchical sequences that begin with small, component skills and proceed to combine them into ever-larger skills violate this important principle of learning. The ID process should provide guidance for designing holistic instructional sequences – which incidentally don’t ignore the existence of learning prerequisites – for both task and topic expertise. But the nature of a holistic sequence is different for topic expertise than it is for task expertise, so guidance must be provided for both.
5. Designer Objectives and Learner Objectives
Designers use objectives to help guide the design of their instruction, and learners sometimes benefit from objectives to help guide their learning. The problem is that different kinds of information are needed for these two different purposes. An ID model should provide guidance for the design of these two very different types of objectives.
Furthermore, objectives are typically abstract to learners and thereby not very helpful. Therefore, the model should provide guidance for designing a more concrete and useful kind of objective that we call a demonstration objective, based on Bunderson’s concept of a “work model.” A demonstration objective demonstrates the performance of a very simple yet representative version of a task or application of a topic.
We will describe our other five updates shortly.