Page 1

We thewant our house stand the test time, 1we toldhad architect. After to Macromedia wentof public, a chance to build our dream home. 1his was going to be the house we always wanted. Perhaps it would be in our family for generations. But defining and merging dreams is a lot more diflicult than having a pleasant sleep.

PartTwo The Art & Science of I nstructional


We had the solution. 1he exterior would be a style that has kept its appeal for centuries. We were fairly Rexible on this and easily settled on French Country, with brick, stone, and tall French doors. 1he interior, now that's where we could be trendy. We went for soft contemporary-a compromise between the contemporary designs 1 like and the softer, homey look my wife loves. We both like antiques and how they blend with modern art, so we had a happy solution. We engaged a talented architect who loved challenge. He carne up with lots of creative and very much unexpected ideas for the interior. "1he foyer should have exposed brick walls. A rough metal shelf or ledge with angular brackets will hide the up lighting. 1he main hallway Roor will be made of old glass bricks and have iron grates in it. Rooms will be placed at odd angles to each other. 1he walls will have industrial horizontal grooves." With each suggestion, 1was the one who objected. "1 don't want to live in a factory," 1 pled. He quietly acquiesced through every rejection without protesto One day, as we saw a blueprint amazing. When "1his was your

were agonizing about some finish detail, 1 and sketches upside down on his desk. Ir was 1 asked him who was the lucky owner, he said, house as 1 had envisioned it."

How do professional instructional designers overcome the pressures of stakeholders, the challenges of design, and unsuccessful traditions? 21


We then move on to basic prin-

Many people who have e-learning design responsibilities today have had little to no formal instructional

cipIes of successful design and finally

design training. They take guidance

great promise-that

from what others are doing and

ing how we can help Iearners prepare

from their experiences as learn-

themselves for Iearning, commit to

ers. I've been to the dentist many

improved performance,

times, but you wouldn't want me

newly Iearned skills successfully.



add a new perspective that shows of understand-

and appIy

to fill a tooth cavity in

your mouth, I assure you. Just being

Chapter 5-What is

around professionals doesn't make


you one. Being a student doesn't

We overview instructional

make you a teacher.

together with its purpose and tradi-

Design? design

At the same time, many well-

tions, both before e-Iearning and in

educated instructional designers who have not worked with interac-

today's contexto We identifY some of

tive technologies attempt to appIy

as a basis for introducing

designs that don't transIate well from the classroom or textbook to

approaches recommended throughout the remainder of the book.

the Ieading theories and approaches the design

e-Iearning. The medium realIy does demand different design decisions,

Major topics inc/ude:

and there are important skills to be mastered if one is to become a suc-

The design challenge

cessful e-Iearning designer.

New chalIenges

The big questions

In this part, we Iook briefly at instructional

Systematic process Art or science?

design as it is practiced

today with, admittedly, a somewhat

Education versus training

critical eye. Because the potential of

Knowing versus doing

e-learning is so great and the realiza-

Alternative design approaches Intuitive

tion of this potential so infrequent (although noticeably improving), we have to wonder whether the

Research and Theory-based Behaviorism

most popular approaches are well founded.

Cognitivism Constructivism





Chapter 6-SuccessBased Design

people know. Tbey in dude experi-

Success-based design is an edectic

before encoumering

approach sporting principIes that have been observed in successful

tional programs and influences that


acrass a wide range of

prajects. Tbe principIes are drawn

ences that may have occurred long our instruc-

exist afterward in the performance enviranment. Tbe psychology of behavioral

fram many different sources. Some

change has much to offer instruc-

were discovered simply by luck,

tional designers. Analysis of many

but most were taken fram theory,

research investigations

research, or experience.

there is an inviolable sequence of

suggests that

stages people move thraugh in order

Majar tapies inc/ude: Making good decisions Tbe three Ms

to change their behaviors, especially when bad habits are in conflict with desired behavior. In this chapter,

MI: Meaningfullearning

we align the stages of change with


the three major phases of learning

M2: Memorable



to pravide a primary structure for discussing instructional


M3: Motivationallearning expenences Tbe fourth M: Measurable results

Majar tapies inc/ude:


Braader perspectives

of successful designs

A practical and realistic guide

Buried in a box

Working the larger comexts Pre-instruction


Chapter 7- Designing Outside the Box


If the purpose of e-Iearning is to enable success, and if success comes


Tbe design challenge

fram doing the right things at the

Tbe psychology of behavioral change

right times, then e-Iearning needs to focus on the real-world factors that

Stages of Change model

determine behavior. Tbose factors



Aligning stages of change

much more than the things


Performance phase influences

Parallels to learning for performance



for instructional


Expanding the purview of instructional design Spaced learning events Informallearning Blended learning



--- -- -----



What Is Instructional Design? My Uncle Tommy was smart. Wif0i too. After working with my dad at his printing company for severalyears, he set off to the northeast to explore metropolitan lije. He landed a career-long position with Eastman Kodak with responsibility for the information sheets and manuals that came with their film and camera products. Uncle Tommy gave me a photographers used camera when 1 was only about twelve years old. Ironically, he didn't have the manual for it but promised hea deliver instructional material s the following day. 1 didn't wait (as was apparently expected) and shot up all eight rolls offilm he had given me. 1 completely ruined seven by not having setproper exposures, but the eighth roll turned out reasonably well. My dad was upset with me, but my uncle seemed fascinated. Because of the tension-

my dad ready to inflict punishment, and my uncle acting like 1 was about to win a medal-J'll never forget what Uncle T said: "l'贸u've done what most of our customers do, ignore the instructions and start pushing buttons and turning dials. Of course,you didn't really ha ve a choice, but you were learning without much feedback at al!. And you were doing it before the instructions could dissipate your enthusiasm. Now if we could only find a way to keep the fun and excitement high while we help our customers learn the fundamental concepts of cameras and photography. "

The world is instructive lnstructive, but dangerous. Fire is hot. Unrestrained objects fall to the ground. Sarcastic comments


little goodwill. We learn all these things and much more without the hand of the instructional


Singeing the skin, shattering


priceless vase, and being fired for poor attitude may be dramatically instructive experiences, but the feedback arrives too soon and the instruction arrives too late. We learn, . but the sequence do es harm.

Part Two

While in some ways we probably learn best by direct experience,

centuries and many civilizations,

it's not always possible or desirable

man has taken many approaches tú

to arrange. We can't have doctors

sharing experiences and transferring

developing their skills from the start

skills, almost always discovering

by experimenting

more questions than answers. Tbe art of instruction, based on intuition

on patients. Nor

can we let teenagers go out on the freeways by themselves tú learn tú drive.

teachers, but has

guidance, it's often both an inef-

controlled research) has provided

ficient way to gain skills and ir

many useful principIes but has also

provides incomplete knowledge.

awakened us tú the vast gaps in our

One might learn how tú fly aplane

knowledge of how people learn.

example. Given that the learner survived, it would take a very long time tú become familiar with all the instruments

and controls through


And after all that

learning effort, the novice pilot would still be unprepared

tú deal

Learning is an inherently personal process. No one can learn for us; we cannot learn for our students. But we clearly can facilitate the learning process such that learners require less time, incur less risk, and invest less energy than those who learned from the raw world witholit assistance.

with emergency siruations that had


not come up by chanceo

help learn what is true, become proficient, and have as much or more

The design challenge

pleasure in the process as we did are true measures of our work.


design is simply

defined as the process of arrang-

learners learning with our


learners assisted by

ing for learning tú happen more

our designs develop the ability and

safely, certainly, thoroughly, and expeditiously than might otherwise

interest to continue learning, either with or without assistance, is also of

happen. Tbe challenges that belie




design are not as genial



many consummate

through direct experience, without

through direct experience, for


and talent, has been mastered by been difficult tú pass on to others. Tbe science of instruction, based on

Even when it is possible tú learn


as the definition may suggest. Over

---------.---- -----

least to designers of programs. !t's perhaps

5: What Is Instructional

the most important goal of all, or should be, at least for our schools,

and boring presentations.



it's time to recast our approach.

but in making structured learning nearly effortless, as we often try to

The big questions

do, we risk depriving learners of the

Tbis chapter pursues some big ques-

skills for making sense of, and cop-

tions prevalent in the minds and

ing with, an unmapped,

literature of today's instructional


ing world and the joy of learning

designers and learning researchers:

that comes from successes. Serving as a bus driver for learners, instruc-

tional design process are required,

tional designers can port learners

if any, in a communications-rich

safely and comfortably

world influenced by the Internet


to places of

interest. But unless an

~ What changes to the instruc-

and rapid knowledge change? ~ Can a systematic process enable

effort is also made to help learners discover the endless unseen mirades


that lĂ­e in wait along rarely traversed

What are the issues? Most impor-

paths, they may end up dependent

tantly, how does one learn to be a

on tour guides and unable to navi-

great designer?

gate on their own, let alone devise personally rewarding adventures. Instructional

design is easy to

define, but always challenging, even

designers to succeed?

~ Is instructional or science?

design an art

~ Are different processes needed for education and

to the most talented and experienced. And now in the information


society, with much more content to

knowledge or performance?

learn than ever before, and rapidly

~ What design approaches are most effective?

advancing technologies to channel, design appears to be floundering.

~ Is the goal of instruction

Following discussion of these

Instead of the dynamic, highly

questions, in the next chapter we

personalĂ­zed learningexperiences

will turn to Success-based design, an

today's technology enables, we're

edectic approach so named because

seeing a dominance

of the applĂ­ed success many have

of impersonal,

content- focused, pseudo- interactive,

had with it, induding

my colleagues 27


hundreds of projects. Success-based

without easy access to information. Indeed, we ourselves behave dif-

design is pragmatic and yet enjoys

ferendy than we did only a decade

support from research, theory,

or two ago. For example, in our

and consistency with many of the


approaches advocated by others.

we now not only assume that desired

In subsequent chapters, we will


review details of this approach and

also expect it to be accessible quickly

also identify the major points of

and easily. If one source of informa-

coherence it has with major design theories.

tion fails to readily provide what

and myself over hundreds and


is freely available, we

we want, we jump-we


another source, perhaps unwittingly

New challenges

settling for inferior content in the

In dramatic, and seemingly sudden

process, but we satisfy our need

contrast to the recent past, com-

for speed, for instant gratification.


We're actually insulted if even a free source of information serves it

media are more capable,

knowledge is more expansive, and sources of information are more

up slowly. Similarly, if we are not

accessible. While the goal of instruc-

instandy engaged with an electronic

tional design has been and remains


the induction

find it poorly tailored to our needs, we search elsewhere or abandon the

of learning, neither

the tools nor expectations have remained the same. Some of these changes are obvious, such as the

interest and pursue something else. Mass ADD? Ir seems so. (1 wonder

affordability of distributing

what we'll evolve to next.)



the ability to animate

A great deal of thought and

illustrations, recognition of spoken commands, and communication

investment goes into the creation

with mobile devices. 1hese new

To succeed, designers must deal not

capabilities redefine the playing field in both exciting and perplexing

only with the innate complexity of the human mind, but also with





behave differendy from those

of successfullearning


---- ------------



behaviors, needs, and

expectations that bias perceptions, determine focus, and selectively



find it lackluster, or


5: What Is Instructional

energize actions. When one is fully

~ Selection and format of infor-

aware of all the challenges to be met

mation to be presented or made

and risks to be managed, it is clear

available on request

that design of instructional

~ Learner guidance and conditions under which it will be


is anything but easy. lhose unaware of the challenges and risks may delight in the many decidedly enjoy-

pravided ~ Performance feedback

able and creative aspects of the work,

~ How learners will practice what

but often and unknowingly plant the seeds of instructional failure and

they're learning

lost opportunities.

~ Means of measuring

~ Extent of practice required

Examples are



praficiency ~ Criteria for completion

Systematic process When people speak of instructional



design, they are often referring to

Many systematic appraaches have been advanced and used

systematic approaches-methodical,

with success [see Resources below

orderly processes that are believed to

for a sampling], yet much of

produce better learning designs than would be achieved without them.

today's e-learning suffers fram

lhe range of issues considered; the

to do everything "right" according

ineffectiveness. It's clearly possible

theory, rationale, or experience


behind the process; and how they deal with specific issues differentiates



Traíníng Oesígn Basícs [ASTD

design approaches.

In general, we look to every instructional

design to specify the

ADUlE Model

Training Basics1. Alexandria, Virginia: American Society for Training &

following critical attributes of learn-


ing interventions:


~ What happens when (seq uence/branching/ event selection) ~ What communication media

Carliner, S. (2003).

Dick and Carey Model

Dick, W.,

& Carey, L. [19961. The Systematíc

Oesign of Instruction

[4th ed.1.

New York: Harper Collins College Publishers.

will be used and for what 29


Part Two

Some believe that instructional

Resources W


and Ely, O.P. [198m. Media:

Gerlach, U.S.


science, suggesting that systematic

Teaching and

A Systematic



this view forms from recognizing the

Halllncorporated. Hannafin-Peck

creativity needed to engage learners, hold their interest, and deal with the



M. J. and Peck, K. L. [19881. The Oesign, Oevelopment, EvaluatĂ­on

of InstructĂ­onal

and Software.

of cognitive issues than affective

Company. Kemp Mudel

The Ă­nstructional

ones, while design artisans so metimes achieve a much more effective

Kemp, J. [19851. design process.


New York: Harper & Row.


mysteries of human thinking and behavior. lndeed, most models are much more at home in discussion

New York: MacMillan Publishing


approaches will never achieve the quality that an artist can. Perhaps

ed.J. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-


design is more truly an art than a

Rapid Prututyping


Some critics actually oppose


any attempts at systematic design

S. and Bichelmeyer, B. [199OJ.


Rapid prototyping: An alternative instructional

design strategy.


Technology Research




- 44.

1994), fearing that if they

were highly effective, instructional interventions would tyrannically entrap minds and shape behaviors against the learner's will. But this

to many models and still produce

extreme position ultimately argues


against any effective learning pro-


grams, regardless of how they were

Art or science? Although

there is some evidence that

crafted, systematically or otherwise. We are far from possessing the

systematic approaches are helpful

ability to create e-learning programs

in the production

that oppress minds and suppress

of higher quality

learning designs, we have little com-

voluntary behavior (although we cer-

parative evidence for ranking one

tainly have demonstrated many ways to victimize learners and torture

system over another (Hackbarth, 1996; Gustafson and Branch, 2002; Alessi and Trollip, 2001).

them with boredom). What we're searching for today are procedures



5: What Is Instructional Design?

for designing learning applications that can be built within realistic con-

experience as a designer. Even with

straints of time and resources and

available today, outcomes will vary with the talent and inventiveness of

Resources WI

the designer. Conversely, even great Alessi, S. and Trollip, S. (20011.


for Learning:

and Oevelopment,


(3rd ed.J Needham

Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon. WI

caring, and beyond: Can feminist


34, p. 37.

Gustafson, K. L. and Branch, R.

M. (20021. Survey of Instructional Oesign Models (4th ed.J. Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information. WI

Hackbarth, S. [19961. The


Technology Handbook:

A Comprehensive and Products

tive applications without the aid of a systematic approach, especially when 1here's

simply too much challenge for most designers to succeed without the aid

ethics inform educational technology? Educational

designers can fail to produce effec-

large projects are undertaken.

Oamarin, S. (19941. Equity,


the most prescriptive approaches

Guide to Process

for Learning.

of process. Art or science? Perhaps instructional design should be called a



blend of science and regardless of semantics,

good instructional design benefits from both. 1he sciences of human learning and educational


ogy identifY issues of concern, suggest approaches that have been

Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications. (p. 58)

successful under carefully identified conditions,

and provide the means

that do interest and enable learners

to evaluate the appropriateness

in behaving more effectively.

design choices. Creativity is needed

Clearly, there's value in having a


to adapt to specific needs and

process to help with the complexity


and enormity of the instructional

between substantiated

design task, even for the most talented designers. There's value

and provide the aesthetics, drama, tension, and humor needed to entice

in experimental

learner participation.

studies that show

varying outcomes attributable different instructional


designs. And

there is value in having considerable

fill in the many gaps principIes,

Both art and

science are invaluable to making learning happen, and it's apparent when one is missing. 31



Education versus training

examine a few comradictions:

Is the same instructional

train elememary school children on

design pro-

cess fitting for both education and training? Are differem approaches better for one than the other?

basic math, writing, and comprehension skills (or at least we used to). These are basic intellectual skills everyone is likely to find valuable.

One expects to find stark contrasts between education and train-

Adherence to standards is often pre-

ing, perhaps because we see them

requisite: He and 1 are going ..., Not,


Him and 1 are going .... Conversely,

in different venues.

Education happens in schoolrooms

we prepare business managers to

and at home. Training happens in

solve problems, listen effectively,


Education V5. Training


we ought to). People need to have

contexts, we chain

broad range of daily challenges and

education is somehow softer, more accommodating, and imerwell-rounded

and provide leadership (or at least

military, sports, and athletics. Given these

our thoughts forward to think

ested in producing individuals who can

these skills for dealing with life's opportunities.

In both schools and

training environmems, performance


at alllevels requires

having generalized knowledge and specific skills, and it's all the province of instructional


Effective instructional


approaches must therefore provide

cope effectively with both expected

assistance in developing both specific

and unforeseen challenges. Training, on the other hand, is focused on

skills and generalized cognitive skills

specifically defined tasks. It's no nonsense, hard, and demanding.

and enjoying life. Although differem instructional evems may be

Efficiency is paramoum.

pose of training is to develop specific

appropriate for differem outcomes, we shouldn't have to look for dif-

skills, as fast as possible, to deal with

ferem design approaches. A robust,

specific tasks.

systematic approach should identify

The pur-

This perspective is too neat and simple to be right, isn't it? Let's 32


for inveming, evaluating, coping,

what is needed and provide matching heuristics.

5: What Is Instnsctionai

Knowing versus doing

Much later, a college friend

The education versus training debate is sometimes reframed as a know-

tion. 1 thought he was out of his

ing versus doing debate. Fram this

mind for choosing something so

perspective, education is focused

boring. But then he corrected my

on acquisition of knowledge while

misconceptions by showing me that history is

training is focused on application of knowledge; in other words, educa-

decided to major in history educa-

tion is about knowing and training is

and can be taught as a tool for

about doing.

evaluating current

Fram the training perspective,

Knowing vs. Doing

events, creating

it's easy to see that no retailer, swim

strategies and social

coach, or army general will be satisfied if his people can correctly

programs, creating multinational trade

answer multiple-choice

agreemems, and gene rally making

about performing


their assigned

sense of things otherwise appearing

tasks but fumble in the pracess of

senseless. The classes he taught were


fun, exciting, mesmerizing-you

them. Successes come

fram people actually doing the right

could see it in the faces of his young

things at the right times, not fram

studems as they blasted into his

only knowing what should be done.

school room, eager to find what was in store for them. You could

Do educators care only about knowing? Of course nor. Well, per-

do something with history. No, not

haps some do. 1 knew some of them.

boring. Empowering.

Just like

TV game show hosts, 1 had

some history teachers who felt their


Ir wasn't just

about knowing. Educational



jobs were to teach us to recall the dates of evems, the names of mili-

are in the business of helping learn-

tary and politicalleaders, nomenclature for social classes,路 and so on. AlI

even if the outcome performance

with liule comext and no purpose. 1

imelligem conversation about art,

hated ir. And 1 forgot almost every-

enjoy a musical performance,

thing they tried to drill imo me.

with rationality. And while training

ers become capable performers, is simply the ability to carry on an or vote




events are obviously about produc-

and training. I condude

ing outcome performances,


design approach fits the needs of

are also concerned with instilling

both while recognizing that some

knowledge. Trainers see knowledge,

differences in the final product may

just as good educators do, as an

be appropriate.


may, for example, be effective with a

enabler of performance.

Training programs

They know that people who under-

narrower set of application exercises,

stand not only the whens and hows

but justify a higher level of over

of performance,

learning. Trainees willlearn which o/

but also the whys-

Why is this action preferred? Why does

our insurance policies are appropriate

inaction causeproblems?-can

for jinancially independent retirees


better performers, adapt to changing

and be able to identifY their pros and

situations, and feel more satisfied by their contributions.

Exercises in an educational

In the end, training and educa-

cons instantly in a sales conversation. program

may need to be broader. Learners

tion are not differentiated by an exdusive interest in either knowl-

will identifY the characteristics o/

edge or performance;

sUitability for jinancially independent retirees.

rather, they

each share the purpose of enhancing both. Education

is, perhaps, focused

insurance policies that determine

Ultimately, both education and

on broader areas of outcome per-

training need programs mat enhance

formance abilities where training

learner motivation,

What training-related practices might improve education? What educationrelated practices might improve training?

ingful and memorable-all

differences in either

the intent of achieving excellent

desired outcomes or




learning experiences,

and make those experiences meanwith

designs to

in order to determine whether differentiated

provide behav-

typically has a more narrow focus, but we do not otherwise find

stimulate learning. We bother with these reBections

design methods are

needed or whether one approach can reasonably serve both education 34

that one

Alternative design approaches Approaches to instructional design can be dassified as intuitive, research-based, success- based.



5: What Is Instructional Design?

Intuitive approaches

through keen awareness of their

Due to the rapid adoption of

own learning needs, successes, and

e-Iearning, promulgated

failures, they were able to derive and

by the

Internet and the ubiquity of media-

apply guiding principIes that work.

enabled compurers,

1he unfortunate

the large major-

reality of today,

designers has linle formal schooling

however, is that the powerful interactive multimedia and communica-

in instructional

tions resources available to support

ity of people serving as instructional designo Lack of

formal preparation

doesn't mean

learning are onen inappropriately

one is necessarily a poor instruc-

and inettectively employed because

tional designer. Quite the contrary,

of poor instructional

unschooled people have created some of the best instructional

many people are working unguided by knowledge and experience in

designs I've seen, whereas pro ud,

what is truly challenging work.

confident, degree- and certificatebedecked designers have conjured

Just as corporations initially underestimated the cost and dif-

some of the worst designs ever

ficulty of designing and supporting

foisted upon innocent learners. And VlCeversa.

competitive websites for promo-

Some public speakers can mesmerize an audience. 1hey do so

designo Too

tion and sale of their products by multiple levels of magnitude, they have also tended to underestimate

with an intuitive sense of timing, sequencing, and intonation. 1he

the importance

most successful recognize not only their inborn talent bur also anribute

neither an intuitive sense for good design nor acquired design skills

much to extensive practice. At one

are onen responsible for design-

point in his life, Jay Leno worked

ing today's e-Iearning applications.

300 clubs a year! He still practices


for hours before every show. He's

poorly designed applications

often the first "Tonight Show"

delivered to large numbers of learn-

employee to arrive for work and the last to leave.

ers with destructive consequences

Some instructional


have found inborn talento Perhaps

of designing on-

line learning well. People with

many of these are

ranging from an enormous waste of human time to incompetent performance in hazardous situations. 35



Which one of the following objectives will be your organization's highest e-Iearning priority in 2006? (Select only one)

e-Learning Guild maintains a continually

33% Improve the quality of e-Iearning content

updated online library of survey studies




and other helpful white papers.



Gartner. (2005). Client issues

in the high-performance workplace. ID Number G00126793. lhe top two priorities selected by respondents to e-learning Guild's surveys reflect concerns about content and design (Pulichini, 2006).

Surveys [see Resources below] are indicating that organizations,


of which initially underestimated the importance of quality design and what it takes to achieve it, are

Cited in

Boehle, S. Sept. 2005, The state of the e-Iearning market. Training, pp. 12-18.


Pulichino, J. (20061. Future

Oirections in e-Learning Research Report 2006. Oownloaded from www. elearningguild. comlresearch/archives.

learning. Quality design has become one of the most important


factors and goals of these organiza-

reliable, replicable approaches that

tions. 1he e-Learning Guild's 2005

achieve success every time. We do

and 2006 surveys, for example, both

have to have enough knowledge and

found one-third of respondents

experience to make success through

selecting "Improve the quality of

other approaches, if not a certainty,

e-learning content" as their high-

at least a very high probability.

est priority (Pulichino, 2006, p. 7). According to Gartner research,



Research on human learning and on


content is the most

factor used to determine


the comparative effects of alterna-

the success of e-learning efforts"

tive instructional

designs has been


going on for a very long time, and

Although intuitive approaches

we know quite a bit abolit both.

occasionally succeed, the costs of

Knowledge of stimulus-response

wasted learner time, missed opportu-

relationships provide helpful guidance for instructional and user

nities, and poor performance 36




5: What Is Instructional


interface design, for example. Practice leads to increased performance ability. Distributing


ing events so they are spaced over

Notes on Human Learning by distinguished learning researcher and founding director of the Talaris Research Institute, John Medina*

time is powerful, although it is rarely done in instructional Comprehension


of on-screen text is

measurably lower than comprehension of printed texto And so on (see sidebar). However, and with respect for scientific research second to none, 1 must suggest that research has not provided an effective rudder for many instructional Whether


this is primarily because

research is difficult to interpret and apply properly, because research principIes are too narrow for general application,

or because designers are

unaware of applicable research is, 1 suppose, arguable. No doubt all of these factors come into play. With increasing realization that much of today's e-Iearning is poorly designed and responding guidelines" unabashedly

~ Human brains do not receive and process information like "video tape recorders." They deconstruct input and then reconstruct meaning. ~ Every brain is wired differently from every other brain{ individually processing information in ways unique to that wiring. ~ People are natural explorers{ using hypothesis testing to process information. This tendency can be observed in early infancy and is probably genetic. ~ Practice increases learning. Repetition and rehearsal are critical for the successful creation of long-term memones. ~ Half of the human brain cortex is devoted to processing visual information. We process visual information more effectively than any other type. ~ Focused attentional states facilitate learning. The maintenance of such states may be directly proportional to the emotional content of the subject. ~ People do not learn optimally from continuous{ long stretches of linearly supplied information. Deliberate breaks ... critical for comprehension. oo.

~ Stressed brains do not learn the same way as nonstressed brains.

to "proven touted

*Presented at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical

University Symposium, 2001

with increasing frequency (many of which are quite over-generalized), research-based instruttional design has drawn some recent attention.

designers are now putting stock in

While many of us have hoped for

validity only in specific circum-

decades to see design based more


firmly on research, many intuitive

overlooked when there is pressure to

glibly promoted

principIes that have

restriction that is easily 37


complete designs and generate learn-

(2005) point out that new designers

ing applications quickly.

tend to cling closely to research as a

Spurring on responsibility-laden designers are those who, too eagerly,

to draw upon. Driscoll and Carliner

in this author's view, over-general-

advise, most astutely, that "What

ize research findings and offer them

new designers have to realize, however, is that the more different the

as dependable

directives, implying

applicability that is often far from

situation they face is from the one

proven. On close examination,

described in the research study, the

some popularized

less they can rely on that study to


guidelines fall far ourside what the

predict the likelihood of their own

research actually reveals and is some-

success" (p. 20). Even understanding

times even contrary to ourcomes

this, as surely most designers do, it's difficult to determine what situ-

actually and frequently observed. Ir's not the research studies or results that are concerning,

it's the design

principIes derived from them that

ational differences are likely to have an impact; ever more so for inexperienced designers. Perhaps the most responsible

glVe us pause. 1his criticism is not directed to


researchers, as researchers tend to be

approach is looking to research to


suggest designs for consideration,

reluctant to general-

of a research-based

ize outside the precise framework

realizing that any one of many

in which their experimental results were derived. Ir does often work

possible differences between the

to go beyond what is proven, but

may invalidate the research applicability. Any source of intuitively


is chancy and should

be recognized as such with proper warning and qualification. designers oversimplifying

researcher's setting and one's own

appealing designs has value in a process that Driscoll and Carliner prop-

Although 1 frequently see new the prob-

erly describe as problem solving. Ir is critical, however, that design

lems their designs must address and,

decisions actually be evaluated in


the process. lndeed, the successive

improvising designs

with little recognition of applicable research, Driscoll and Carliner 38

guide because they lack experience


process we use in this

book series promotes early experi-

5: What Is Instructional

mentation with multiple designs and with actuallearners to determine

to make dreadful mistakes, even

what works before the design is

tion may appear to be supported research.

finalized and fully developed.


though each decision taken in isolaby

Tbeories are developed to 1)

Resources iWI

Driscoll, M. and Carliner, S.

[2005). Advanced Training Strategies: /nstructiona//y Learning. ~


lished facts, 3) predict outcomes


not yet researched, and 4) suggest research that is needed. Tbeories for

Sound On/ine

San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Thalheimer, W. [2006l.

provide explanations for findings, 2) fill in the blanks between estab-



design do exist, if in

somewhat ragtag forms, and they

learning events over time: What the

can provide helpful guidance to

research says. Retrieved Dec. 15,


2006, from com/catalog/


For an overview perspective, most, if not all, of today's theoretical design approaches can be seen as


the complexity

derivatives of behaviorist, cognitivist,

and uniqueness of each attempt to

and constructivist


develop desired behaviors, clarity of thought and objectivity througholit


the process are the most apt and

Applying the principIes of learning

constantly desired companions

and behavioral conditioning

followed by a healthy knowledge of

developed by Edward Tborndike, John Watson (who coined the term

research methods and findings.

behaviorism), and B.F. Skinner,

Theory-based approaches

GagnĂŠ set the foundations

Tbeorists recognize that research

modern instructional

findings are ohen incomplete





beyond the

inadequate to guide complex practices, that witholit a context for the

evidence ... [GagnĂŠJ produced a

knowledge we have and a perspective

practice. Tbis 'creative leap' made

for interpretation,

by GagnĂŠ provided the basis for

research find-

ings can and do cause technicians

formal framework to guide teaching

the subsequent


of 39

Part Two


designo In the view of

network of understanding,


its critics it also provides its central

ers have troubIe responding

weakness" (Boyle, 1997, p. 68).


Behaviorists take a relatively

to new

creating new responses

or adapting old ones, and reaping

simple view of learning. Based on

satisfaction from applying intel-

the notion of operant condition-

ligence during the Iearning process.

ing-behaviors that are rewarded tend to be exhibited more ohen

These are major weaknesses not to be overlooked.

than those that aren't-we

can teach

Perhaps worse, although behavior-

by having Iearners practice and by

istic principIes are the most widely

giving positive rewards for correct

known principIes for instructional

responses. Knowledge of resuIts is ohen found to be a sufficient

design, they tend to produce boring

reward. Whether

Iearning events, especialIy for


adult Iearners. They put

ers actually understand

cognitive blinders on ,

why their responses are correct is not of

learners as if they were horses, unabIe to cope with real world stimuli.

great concern as long as Iearners respond

As Alessi and Trollip

correctly. There's no doubt that

(2001) so aptly put it:

the rationale, principIes, and techniques set forth by behaviorists have had great influence. I suspect that the evolution of my own thinking abollt instructional

design parallels

that of many of my contemporaries who also began their careers adher-

A strict behavioral attention



only to observable


behaviors them,




is not appropriate

influence for multi-

media design (p. 36). We believe the strict







that grew out of the


resulted in much

ing closely to behavioristic principIes and have become less and Iess


satisfied with the results. Because


and difficult to apply in

new situations

(p. 37).

the process is realIy an attempt to implant improved performance, and little effort is made to build a



was dry,

While most designers today eschew behaviorism in discussion,




5: What




there's no doubt that these principIes still guide much of their thinking.

Note: GagnĂŠ didn't confine his thinking to behaviorism, as

Happily, if the needed outcome

many critics contend. He actually assumed that different

is more of a rapid reflex than a

types of instructional approaches are appropriate for different


response, behavioristic

types of learning. He continued his work (GagnĂŠ and Medsker,


are probably just the

1995), giving consideration to factors that affect adult

ticket. But behaviorism

is clearly not

a sufficiem and comprehensive

learning, and synthesizing cognitivist views.


for e-Iearning designo We need to get

There are many useful constructs

out of the Skinner box if e-Iearning

in cognitivism to guide instructional

is going to realize its potential.

design, such as


noting that information is easier to remember if it is structured or has

Human behavior is surprisingly unpredictable

if your only view


a comext, meaning-noting that it is easier to recall information

of learning and behavior is from a

if it is linked to many things

behavioristic viewpoim.

already understood

lt's hard, for

and anchored


example, to explain successful behav-

in memory, and

iors that have never been explicitly

that we compare structures of

learned (practiced and reinforced).


Something else is going on in our brains besides stimulus and response

of analogies), not just poims of fact, and that we can learn new



Cognitivists, while recognizing that reinforcemem does affect the

similar to existing schema.


fuI activity, requiring attemion

of certain behaviors, are

imerested in modeling the memal

and concepts (think

more easily if it is


see learning as a willand

energy. As a result, issues of percep-

structures and processes that seem

tion, techniques

necessary to more fully explain human behavior. lf we can devise


of gathering learner

and motivating learners

are central and provide an excellem

accurate models, we can then create

basis for e-Iearning design work,

learning evems to address more

ranging from user-imerface

complex behaviors, such as problem

display design to techniques to moti-


vate learners and sequence coment.



Part Two

We will see these concepts, added to

~ Knowledge construction

the useful concepts of behaviorism

fram activity, so knowledge is

and constructivism,

embedded in activity.

surfacing in

success-based design discussed in the

~ Knowledge is ancho red in and

next chapter and throughout of this book.

indexed by the context in which


the Iearning activity occurs. ~ Meaning is in the mind of the knower.

Constructivism Constructivists

theorize that we

~ Meaning making is prompted

cannot ingest knowledge, under-

by a probIem, question, confu-

standing, and skills. We need to construct our own representations

sion, disagreement, or dissonance (a need or desire to know) and so

of the world and how things work.

involves personal ownership of

lf we predigest knowledge for our

that problem.

Iearners, spitting it out in smal!,

Minimalism is an instructional

tender bites, as designers often do in


an effort to make Iearning easier, we

principIes that has had significant

deprive Iearners of an essentiaIIearn-

success in application

ing activity. Learners actually need

1998). John Carroll coined the

to put everything back together and

name aher observing that many

then take it apart for themselves. Put


another way, while we can recount

odds with the way adults like to Iearn:

experiences for Iearners and have them regurgitate them, they Iearn at a much more superficialIevel


if they could have those experiences themselves. Jonassen, et al. (1999) list constructivist assumptions

about Iearn-

ing, including the following (pp.

3-5): ~ Constructivists

believe that

knowledge is constructed, transmitted. 42



based on constructivist (Carroll,

designs were at extreme

People want to learn by doing, but this inclines them to jump around opportunistically in learning sequences. 1hey want to reason things out and construct their own understandings, but they are not always planful, and they often draw incorrect inferences. 1hey try to engage and extend their prior knowledge and skill, but this can lead to interference or over-generalization. 1hey try to learn through error diagnosis and recovery, but errors can

5: What Is Instructional

be subtle, can tangle, and can become intractable

Keep text very brief, don't explain

obstacles to comprehension

and motivation


everything, and make each refer-

(p. 6).

ence item independent so that learners don't have to search for

These observations are something


of a wake-up call to many designers, who have had similar observations


and wish learners would just behave. A more constructive

response (the

pun is nice) is to restructure learning events to meet the natural desires of learners. Minimalism

responds with



Alessi, S. and Trollip, S. [20011.

Multimedia for Learning: Methods and Oevelopment, [3rd ed.] Needham

the design principIes paraphrased

Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

from van der Meij and Carroll


(1998, pp. 19-53) below: 1. Choose an action-oriented

Boyle, T. (19971. Oesign for

Multimedia Learning. Essex, England: Prentice Hall.


Get learners doing

things as soon as possible, support exploration,

and provide helpful,


Carroll, J.M. (Ed.] (19981.

Minimalism Beyond the Nurnberg Funnel. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

respectful feedback.


2. Anchor activities in the task

(1995] The Conditions of Learning:


Training Applications. Belmont, CA:

Provide authentic


for learners to perform, making sure not to overwhelm novices




Jonassen, O.H., Peck, K.L.,

and Wilson, B.G. (19991. Learning

while giving advanced learners something

GagnĂŠ, R.M. and Medsker, K.L.

of interest and value.

with technology: A Constructivist Perspective. Upper Saddle River, NJ:

3. Support error recognition


Prentice Hall.


van der Meij, H. and Carroll,

recovery. Provide tools to help learners discover thdr mistakes

J.M. (19981. Principies and

and make corrections.

heuristics for designing minimalist instruction. Minimalism Beyond the

4. Use text to help learners perform,

study, and locate help.

Nurnberg Funnel. J.M. Carroll. (Ed.1. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 43



take all three

sometimes develop effective Iearning

Each of these three theory-based

experiences through intuitive means,

approaches has appealing aspects, and there is no reason why design-

but Iacking extraordinary taIent and also a basis for effective instructional

ers need to work exclusively in

design, many of today's designers are

one. Indeed, experienced designers

missing the mark. Most designers need well-defined

tend to switch from one approach to another as the case warrants. The choice should be made based

guiding principles on which to base their decisions. Because education

first on research findings, if they

and training are ultimately interested

are availabIe and applicabIe. If no formal, relevant evidence exists, then

in enabling performance,

observed success should guide the choice. And if that's not availabIe,

the same

processes can serve them both. Alternative systematic processes include research-based,


based, and success-based approaches.

then careful conjecture. In the following chapter, we'll

This chapter reviews the first two,

pick up success-based designo lt is a

while the Iatter is the subject ofthe

bIend of approaches that has Ied to

next chapter.

consistently high Ievels of success. As


approaches can

one researcher put it, "lt's amazing

provide the strongest specific guid-

how the principIes of success-based

ance, but the error of over-general-

design are increasingIy substanti-

ization is common,

ated by research and consistent with

designs. Theory-based

newer theoretical positions." There's

provide more practical guidance

nothing Iike consistent success to draw attention and consideration!

while recognizing that some tenets

Ieading to poor approaches

are conjectural. The primary theorybased approaches are behaviorism,



Although the world is instruc-

While the strongest advocates of an

tive, we can speed the sharing of

approach may be critical of the oth-

knowledge and the development skills through well-designed


ing events. TaIented people can 44


and constructivism.

ers, most practitioners for all three approaches.

today find use

Part two designing allen chap 5