Connecting the dots… Analysis + Design

From an instructional design standpoint, I think analysis is perhaps one of the most critical and often overlooked parts of the process. Even when I am designing instruction I will teach on my own, it is helpful to spend time considering my audience, the needs of my learners, and establishing the overarching goals of the instruction and specific instructional objectives which I want the instruction to accomplish. If I don’t know what I’m trying to accomplish, it is difficult to measure whether or not the training was effective in getting there.

The design methodologies I learned are very similar to those outlined in Molenda, Pershing, and Reigeluth (1996). In order to design assessments at the outset, you must have clearly defined objectives and learning outcomes. Also, sequencing requires that you clearly understand your learners, the learning environment, and the task you are asking them to complete. Before you can complete either of these design elements, a thorough analysis is essential.

As I read the article on Anytown (Warren, Stein, Dondlinger, and Barab, n.d.), I was impressed by the design, but I could see the level of analysis that had taken place prior to designing the game. It was clear that the designers understood their audience and the elements they expected to find in a virtual gaming environment. The design team had clearly identified the objectives of the instruction and designed a game which actually did a better job of meeting those objectives than the silent sustained reading times that had previously existed in the classroom, while motivating students to participate. The thorough analysis of the existing classroom problems, instructional objectives, and student needs, as well as the tools available to designers, allowed the design team to be successful in producing a fairly effective instructional tool.

For me at least, analysis and design are two elements which go hand in hand. I don’t feel I can successfully accomplish one without the other. The R/Evolution video indicates that we have a responsibility in the way information is created and stored in this generation. That includes the way instruction is created. In today’s world it seems like everything is open and freely available. Although my work belongs to the university, that does not mean that at some point I won’t see my workshops posted online. I have a responsibility to make sure that everything I produce is well designed and effective; that goes double when I am planning instruction to be used by the professors at my school. To ensure I produce the highest quality instruction possible, I need to follow each step in the process, especially the first one.

Molenda, M., Pershing, J., and Reigeluth, C. (1996). Designing instructional systems. The ASTD Training and Development Handbook, 4th ed. McGraw Hill. Retrieved from

Warren, S., Stein, R., Dondlinger, M., and Barab, S. (n.d.). A look inside a MUVE design process: Blending instructional design and game principles to target writing skills. Retrieved from

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