Instructional Design — Ch. 1 (Smith & Ragan)

Smith & Ragan (1999). Instructional Design. New York: Wiley.

This is a great introduction to instructional design — what it is, why it’s important, and what the basic steps of a successful design process entail. Essential reading for those new to the field…

[*Note: Much of the following material was excerpted from the chapter…]

Instructional design – the systematic and reflective process of translating principles of learning and instruction into plans for instructional materials, activities, information resources, and evaluation.

Instruction is the intentional facilitation of learning toward identified learning goals. Driscoll (1994) defines instruction from a similar perspective: "the deliberate arrangement of learning conditions to promote the attainment of some intended goal" (p. 332). In both definitions, instruction is intentional arrangement of experiences, leading to learners acquiring particular capabilities.

  • education – all experiences in which people learn.
  • instruction – delivery of these focused educational experiences.
  • training – instructional experiences that are focused upon individuals acquiring very specific skills that they will normally apply almost immediately.
  • teaching – learning experiences that are facilitated by a human being–not a videotape, textbook,
    or computer program, but a live teacher.

Design is distinguished from other forms of instructional planning by the level of precision, care, and expertise that is employed in the planning, development, and evaluation process. Implies a systematic or intensive planning and ideation process.

The Instructional Design Process
The process involved in the systematic planning of instruction. At the most basic level, the instructional designer’s job is to answer three major questions (Mager, 1984):

1. Where are we going? (What are the goals of the instruction?)
2. How will we get there? (What is the instructional strategy and the instructional medium?)
3. How will we know when we have arrived? (What should our tests look like? How will we evaluate and revise the instructional materials?)

These three questions can be stated as major activities that an instructional designer completes during the design and development process:

1. Perform an instructional analysis to determine "where we’re going."
2. Develop an instructional strategy to determine "how we’ll get there."
3. Develop and conduct an evaluation to determine "how we’ll know when we’re there."

Instructional designers insist on creating instruction in which the goals, the instructional strategy, and the evaluation all match. By "match," we mean that the strategy (instructional method) that is used is appropriate for the learning task (goals) and that the tests measure how well the learners have achieved the learning task (assessment).

Instructional method <=> goals <=> assessment

Learning tasks are the things students are to learn, ex: being able to classify objects as either transparent, translucent, or opaque is the learning task.

Instructional Design Model Process

Frequently, creative individuals not trained
in systematic instructional design will develop ingenious approaches to instruction that are rather like "solutions looking for a problem."

Although these approaches may add to the repertoire of possible approaches, they seldom appeal to high-level management in government or business, to school system administrators, or to other funding agencies.

The innovations that are generally appealing are those that have clarified the problem into a learning goal, have developed an instructional approach that gives reason to believe that the problem can be solved and the learning goals will be met, and has a well-constructed plan for gathering evidence to determine  whether the approach has solved the initial problem and what undesirable effects it might have.

2 Responses to “Instructional Design — Ch. 1 (Smith & Ragan)”
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  1. […] to Instructional Design By lizzylearns Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Learning Instructional […]

  2. […]  Included in this blog is one completed by Dixie, where she provides information on reviews if various textbook and textbook definitions of instructional design. Another aspect of this blog is the use of some illustrations to graphically illustrate how instructional design works. Finally, as part of the blog hosted by blogs they supply other key elements and concepts concerning instructional design as a sidebar. In my opinion, this blog will continue to be a source of information to supplement with any instructional design material received in the course and through my career as an instructional designer. ( ) […]

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