When I have an online course that needs to be designed and developed, even though it has been years that I’ve been designing instruction, I still go through a formal design process, be it Rapid Instructional Design (Piskurich, 2006) or another process more suited to the topic and audience. I start with an analysis of the audience and the learning platform, unless those steps can be skipped because the audience is one with which I am familiar and the platform has been predetermined by some outside factor. I then analyze the task or topic so as to determine the best approach, and from there determine the best instructional design method. In additional to Rapid Instructional Design, I have used the Kemp Design Model (Morrison, Ross, & Kemp, 2007), and ASSURE (Smaldino, Russell, Heinrich, Molenda, & Cavanaugh, 2005) among others.
I received my Master’s degree from a program with a very practical focus. While we discussed learning theory and principals of instructional design, it was expected that we would actually design instruction using the Kemp model right from the outset. I cut my teeth with real projects and learned to design instruction one step at a time.
I have a very eclectic palate when it comes to what I believe about instruction. I firmly believe in social constructivism and believe that learners learn more in a group setting when they can benefit from the knowledge of others than they do learning in isolation. I also believe that learning is constructed based on things you already know, and that if you don’t help the learner make that connection to prior knowledge, they will not be as engaged with the content.
That said, I do believe there are times when direct instruction is appropriate. I have been known to choose a more behaviorist approach to learning, and have even used Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction (Gagne, Wager, Golas, & Keller, 2004) as a model for my instructional design. I try to find the approach best suited to the learners and their level of expertise with the subject matter. I am more likely to use a direct instruction approach with beginners and a more constructivist approach as my learners become more advanced. Where my process diverges from my theoretical perspective is when the learning platform has been pre-determined and does not support the process I would prefer to use, or when designing for an instructor who does not embrace the same ideologies as myself.
Gagne, R. M., Wager, W. W., Golas, K. C., & Keller, J. M. (2004). Principles of Instructional Design, 5th Edition.
Morrison, G. R., Ross, S. M., & Kemp, J. E. (2007). Designing Effective Instruction (5th ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Piskurich, G. M. (2006). Rapid instructional design: Learning ID fast and right. Wiley. com.
Smaldino, S. E., Russell, J. W., Heinrich, R., Molenda, M., & Cavanaugh, C. (2005). The ASSURE model: Creating the learning experience. In Instructional technology and media for learning (pp. 46–70). Retrieved from http://libproxy.library.unt.edu:2095/docview/860596225