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What is an Instructional Design Model?

Organizations are realizing that a well-trained and efficient workforce is a decisive factor for business success. As a result, training has gained importance and the ubiquity of computers and the Internet has made e-learning or online training, a popular choice.

Instructional Design (ID) models are an important part of the e-learning development process. An ID model is a guideline or framework, based on which an instructional designer creates the instructional material, or the course. It is based on how people learn.

It is important to have an ID model because it helps the instructional designer plan how the course should be designed and developed. It helps him visualize the course and ensure that all design elements are included in the course. An ID model helps to evaluate learners’ needs and design and develop the course based on this.

Different ID models 

Different ID models have been developed over the years. Some of them are:

  • ADDIE Model
  • Kemp Model
  • Dick and Carey Model
  • ASSURE Model
  • SAM Model
  • Hannafin and Peck Model
  • Waterfall Model
  • Rapid prototyping design Model

These models are either prescriptive or adaptive. Prescriptive models prescribe particular solutions for particular learning needs. Descriptive models on the other hand, clearly define the components of design.

Models such as ADDIE and Kemp follow a linear approach where the completion of one step is logically followedby the next step.

The SAM model follows an agile approach for e-learning development which allows designers to create and refine prototypes repeatedly, with inputs from the client. In this iterative approach, ideas and assumptions are discussed and tested during the early stages. This allows for the quick development of a product with minimum iterations.

The choice of the ID model is important for an e-learning project as it determines the:

  • Scope
  • Deliverables – lessons, modules,exercises
  • Cost and time
  • Skills required in the development team

Each ID model follows specific steps and the instructional designer must be familiar with them. 

Phases Common to Models

Regardless of the ID model you choose for your course, there are five phases common to all models, these are:

1. Analysis

This phase forms the basis for all the other phases in the instructional design process. This phase involves collecting data, organizing the information, and looking for patterns in the information to identify gaps. The barriers or constraints faced by learners are identified and possible solutions are determined.

2. Design

In this phase, the organization of content, how it will be presented to learners, and the delivery format to be used are decided. The types of activities and exercises that will be used in the course are planned and how learners are to be evaluated is also determined. The best ideas are implemented in a prototype which goes through a cycle of feedback and validation between the client and the designer.

3. Development

In this phase, the focus is on developing the materials that were finalized in the design phase. The phase involves developing storyboards, scripts, screen layouts, lessons, modules, interactivities, and assessments.

4. Implementation

In this phase, the course is delivered based on the instruction that was designed. The actual course is put into action, and the final product is presented to the client.

5. Evaluation

In the last phase, data is collected and analyzed to determine if the course is meeting its objectives. The aspects of the process that need to be strengthened are identified. This is done by analyzing learners’ feedback on the course. Feedback can be gathered from participant reaction, participant learning, on-the job performance, and the effect of training. Though each ID model is different, these phases are an integral part of any ID model that is used for e-learning development.

Arguments Against ID Models

Critics of ID models charge that they are linear in structure, and do not allow for going back and forth or for iterations during the design process. They feel that adhering to models is a time-consuming process and some are too slow to meet today’s training challenges. The use of agile development models such as SAM has mitigated this charge.

Others accuse ID models of limiting creativity. Well, if an instructional designer is familiar with various models, he can creatively combine elements of different ID models that align with his vision and fit the design to the demands of the course.

ID models help the designer execute the designing of the course using the process or method prescribed in the model.

nstructional Design 101: A Handy Reference Guide to eLearning Designers