Instructional System Design

Instructional Design (also called Instructional Systems Design (ISD) is the practice of maximizing the effectiveness, efficiency and appeal of instruction and other learning experiences. The process consists broadly of determining the current state and needs of the learner, defining the end goal of instruction, and creating some “intervention” to assist in the transition. Instructional design is the systematic specification of instruction to include: presentation, activities, materials, guidance, feedback and evaluation.

It applies learning principles to decisions about information content, instructional method, use of media and delivery system. The goal is to ensure instructional quality, effectiveness, efficiency and enjoyment. The purpose of instructional design is to maximize the value of instruction for the learner — especially the learner’s time. Instruction provides a concentration of life-experience into a shortened, optimized time frame and provides feedback to ensure that learning objectives are actually being achieved. Ideally, instruction allows the knowledge, wisdom, and skills of an instructor-author to be personally communicated or demonstrated to a learner.

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MODEL OF ISD: The most common model of Instructional System Design is ADDIE, which stands for Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate. ADDIE is an approach for creating the best instruction in an organized, efficient, and effective manner. It is a generic process that provides a systematic approach to help instructional designers and training developers build and create effective instructional products and training programs.

The ADDIE model is comprised of the five phases of the learning development process. Each phase has an outcome that feeds to the next phase. Together, they work like a loop. There are ongoing activities continually repeated throughout the entire program. [pic] The Analyze phase is the foundation for all other phases of instructional System design. Its main purpose is to clarify the instructional problems, establish the instructional goals and objectives, and identify the learning environment including the learner’s existing knowledge, skills, and materials.

The phase may include specific research techniques such as needs analysis, job analysis and task analysis. The outputs of this phase often include the instructional goals, and a list of tasks to be instructed. These Outputs will be the inputs for the Design phase.

  1. Needs Assessment People learn to meet a need. The need might be to perform a task, react, or think in a certain way given a set of conditions. The main purpose of the Needs Assessment is to identify what problem is triggering the desire for learning or training and to identify the specific knowledge/skills the learner needs to acquire. We have to analyze the level of commitment of the learner/ his supervisor, the limitations of time and resources available for these learners, who is financing this learning program and his expectations from this program. Identifying such information is essential to establish the goals and objectives of the training program and designing it in a way that it effectively delivers an instructional solution yielding the desired learner behavior.
  2. Audience Analysis The main purpose of this step is to analyze the persons enrolled, their present level of skills/knowledge of learners, understanding learner’s cultural background, analyzing their expectations about training, time and the amount of work, analysis of facilities and resources that a typical learner have its disposal and how much cost he will be willing to pay for this training program. The information obtained in audience analysis helps us in tailoring the instruction for specific learner’s types. It also helps the instructor understand at what level to begin the course, and how to best deliver the course to effectively produce the needed outcomes.
  3. Content Analysis After need assessment and audience analysis we have to select the material that will be used in the training process to achieve the desired level of outcome. It is just like literature survey that is being done in research. It is very important to identify whether any content exists that can be used whole, in part, or with modifications. This will save a lot of time and money. If some content are found then we have to ensure that content’s learning objectives must align with our Needs Analysis. In addition to searching for content, we have to outline our basic requirements in terms of content and selection of approach that should be taken for its effective delivery. The initial content analysis will emerge from the audience and the subject matter; the content might consist of different media depending on the subject matter.
  4. Technical Analysis How things are taught greatly depends on the technology available. So the basic purpose of technical analysis is to establish minimum requirements regarding the software, hardware, processors, hard disk space and the bandwidth available to the learner and the instructor. Identification of the tools needed to develop the course including all software and hardware and sever capabilities and the requirements of both the learner and the demonstrator. If instructors design content unaware of the technical constraints what they design might not be usable. For these reasons it is very important to define upfront what the minimum technological requirements will be to participate in the course or training. The success of training somehow depends on the Technical analysis i. e. If trainer understates the required technology then training cycle might run into a problem once the instruction starts. In this last case, a large number of learners might drop out or have a negative experience defeating trainer efforts.
  5. Structural Analysis Based on the information gathered in the prior steps, it is now necessary to focus the structure of the instruction. I. e. the main purpose is to plan the session of training depending on the availability of resources and learners abilities. We have to identify appropriate structure of the course (i. e. we can choose from: A one sitting single training experience, Longer but fewer sessions , Shorter more numerous sessions , An online only solution ,A blended solution ) and the appropriate duration for the course in light of the constraints, needs, and expectations. We have to analyze the appropriate time distribution in the course or training program (i. e. Time for instruction, assimilation and retention. Time for practical skill development (hands-on, simulations, games), Time for test preparation (certifications and other required tests).

The design phase deals with learning objectives, assessment instruments, exercises, content, subject matter analysis, and lesson planning and media selection. The design phase should be systematic and specific. Systematic means a logical, orderly method of identifying, developing and evaluating a set of planned strategies targeted for attaining the project’s goals. Specific means each element of the instructional design plan needs to be executed with attention to details. So it involves outlining the strategy for how to reach the instructional goals determined during the Analysis phase.

The design specification, often including layout drawings, templates or prototypes, then drives the next stage of development.

  1. Identify Goals Goals assist in the creation of objectives and tell instructors what learners need to know, understand, or apply. In order to design a learning program the most important step is to identify the goals and objectives to be achieved. These set goals serves as foundation of Focusing efforts and minimizing deviations during course design and delivery. It also provides guideline to learners against which their performance will be measured. Realistic goals help us to build accurate expectations. In order to formulate training goals we have to analyze the outcomes of the Analysis phase. i. e. Depending on the learner’s problem, capabilities and expectations we have to formulate achievable goals for the course or training in order to fill the required gaps. When we are formulating goals, we should keep in mind that more than one course/training might be needed to accomplish the outcomes outlined by the learners or those that commissioned the course or training. People often verestimate what can be efficiently assimilated in an instructional session, course, or training. Make sure you assess this realistically.
  2. Write Learning Objectives The purpose of this phase is to state the Terminal and Enabling objectives of the training process. Technical Objectives describes the learner’s expected level of performance by the end of the course/training and describe results. Terminal objectives will assist in focusing efforts and to develop enabling objectives. Whereas the Enabling Objectives define the skills, knowledge, or behaviors learners must reach in order to successfully complete terminal objectives. Setting the goal of the training create the terminal objective after this we have to analyze the skill/knowledge gap that lies between the entry behaviors and the terminal objectives. Outline the steps necessary for a learner to acquire new skills and knowledge leading to the performance level stated in the terminal objective.
  3. Identify Entry Behavior The purpose of this phase is to assess entry behaviors of learners and to set appropriate pre-requisites for learning. The information we obtained in the Audience Analysis will guide us in doing so.
  4. Establish Criterion Reference The purpose of this phase is to develop the criterion reference based on the learning objectives. In this process for each objective we have to determine how the behavioral change can be measured. The use of Cases and simulations may serves as a more realistic tool to measure behavioral change. Criterion reference point out that either the results are according to or estimated outcomes or we have to modify our training program to get the desires outcome. It serves as a measure of an effective training program.
  5. Research Sites & Resources For designing instructions we always need resources. These resources serve as support or supplement for the training activities. Resources that can be used as they are as part of the course (typically, learning objects from existing course /that can be used as guides or to draw experience from (for example, old courses or non-standard compliant courses)/ that can be used to supplement the course (for example, books, journal articles, and computer applications)/Supporting materials you might want to references but not use or assign as part of the course. This type of backup knowledge will always reduce the cost and time and make a training effort more effective. The purpose of this stage is to gather backup knowledge and experience needed for support. We also have to identify the experts that can contribute to this course or training as instructors or “guests” and identify the available online resources (libraries, websites, and discussion forums) for instructor and also the resources at learner locations (libraries, books, videos, testing centers, and other physical resources).
  6. Devise an Instructional Strategy Having developed objectives and established how to measure the acquired knowledge, it is necessary to devise an appropriate instructional strategy to maximize the learning effectiveness. This is the time to brainstorm about alternative way to attain the desired behavioral change in the learners. Among the things to consider are different instructional methodologies, techniques to reinforce and remediate, and the exploration of different motivational techniques. As we brainstorm do create storyboards as they are instrumental in making you aware of how the course will flow and how your proposed approach and techniques will play in the course or training. Start with the Learning Objective. Analyze the alternative ways in which the knowledge or skill being taught can be most effectively transferred to the learners. Techniques may involve the use of text, graphics, streaming video, streaming audio, PowerPoint presentations, PDF files, e-books, multiple choice questions, simulations, self-paced lessons, interaction via orums, audio-graphic exchanges, and even online chat or live cams. Any combination of technology or synchronous vs. asynchronous approaches is valid. Current trend in teaching make use of reusable learning object. Each learning object consists of an objective, instructional content (including appropriate media), assessment of the instruction, and references. Learning Objects should be re-usable as this might save future development time and money. To make Learning Objects re-usable they must be self standing and transferable.
  7. Create Maps & Flowcharts Once we have device the strategy for the training program it is now the time for how we describe these strategies graphically and pictorially. Flowcharts would be built in a logical way so that they pertain to the order of the objectives. While thinking of the logic also envisions the navigation. Content navigation will be greatly impacted by how the course is mapped. Do not assume that logical alignment of objectives will automatically provide you with intuitive navigation. Try to think as the learners and identify what they will want to access at any given point in the instruction The flowchart should include all course components: main menu, modules or headers in the course, lessons (web pages for each lesson), pretests, quizzes/tests, discussion forums, help items and any other elements used in the course or training.
  8. Design Lessons & Materials Lesson design causes us to think over the instruction in terms of the effectiveness of lesson elements. It provides the chance for a critical assessment of the instructional approach and causes us to consider learning styles and set guidelines. The steps to follow in lesson design are: Create a lesson template Start by creating a generic template for the lessons in this training. In the template include all those aspects that should be covered in each lesson keeping in mind that their use may be altered during lesson authoring. Keep in mind the “See, Hear, and Do teaching approach. ? Plan each lesson Once you have a generic template begin planning each lesson by keeping in view of learner’s preferred learning style and their background knowledge. Planning of lesson also includes the selection of a medium and ways for its effective delivery.
  9. Plan Media Utilization With appropriate planning and use, media serves as a significant asset to the training program. The main purpose of this is to analyze the technical and instructional considerations of the selected media which is to be use for effective delivery of contents. Technical considerations: tell that the instruction should be compatible with the minimum requirements set for the instruction. Not only the media needs to efficiently support the learners but it should be easily accommodated by the development tools of the instructor and staff. Instructional considerations: Media use should always support the objectives and must have instructional reasons for its use like. Media serves as a primary source of instruction, a complementary source for different learning styles, a reinforce agent and as a remediation.
  10. Design Tests Testing has a positive role in a course or training. The goal is to evaluate the learner in order to provide constructive feedback and remediation when necessary. This is an aid to learning that should focus on the course objectives and measure performance against them.
  11. Design Evaluation Approach It is very important to provide an opportunity for the learner to evaluate the course or training so it can be improved. Understanding learner perceptions and obtaining their feedback is essential to the continuous improvement process that all good instruction should have. The evaluation can be made up of a number of multiple choice questions that can be processed into statistically meaningful results but it is also advisable to provide at least one open form area for the learner to state whatever he/she feels is important. This might make the instructor aware of items he/she might not have thought of.
  12. Design the Interface The interface is a very important part of the training method. Interfaces can without words convey messages to learners. As such, they can have motivational or de-motivational effects. An appealing interface can draw the learner to be engaged in the course while a confusing or non-appealing interface can have the opposite effect.

The metaphor helps the learner get into an appropriate state of mind. Layout: The layout is related to the Interface design but it is not the same as the interface. Within a certain look and feel we can have a number of different layouts. Test moving buttons, links and other elements of the design around and see if they make any difference. In some advanced systems the learner can alter the layout as you do in many portals on the web. This might help the learner feel in control but it reduces predictability and adds extra complexity depending on your system.

Test your layout to make sure it is as friendly as you anticipate. Usability testing: You were encouraged to do user testing to verify the design and layout. This is called “usability”. It is best to do usability testing with those who have not seen or are not familiar with your instruction. A fresh pair of eyes uncovers a lot more and is less biased. Remember that at this stage you are only dealing with ideas. You don’t have a developed site to test. This is some of the most valuable testing because you have maximum flexibility to change things.

You also have not invested in the development and therefore you will not feel that a change will mean a waste of a lot of money, time, and effort. Template design: Once you have incorporated the results from the usability testing you are ready to create a template that will apply to all pages in your instruction. Having templates is not required but if you have them they will make development of subsequent pages easier and more consistent. Use flowchart, layout and design to help you create a template. This will insure you have the right template for the right part of your site.

The development phase is where the developers create and assemble the content assets that were created in the design phase. Programmers work to develop and/or integrate technologies. Testers perform debugging procedures. The project is reviewed and revised according to any feedback given. It entails building all forms of instruction necessary to execute the learning strategy and any supporting documentation. Development includes instructor activity guides and materials appropriate for the mode of delivery.

  1. Authoring The purpose of this phase is to start authoring the content based on the nformation obtained through the prior phases of ADDIE (Analysis and Design). Take each learning objective and write the lesson that teaches specifically those concepts and skills. While writing make sure that we are supplying all the information needed in a logical manner and also make sure that you include media and that you take into account the different learning styles. Authoring techniques vary widely based on the subject matter and course.
  2. Prototyping While all the previous steps and phases should contribute to the effectiveness of the instruction, it is wise to test a prototype before full development. It is best to find potential problems at this stage and adjust, than it is to wait until all the development is done, or worse, until we are getting poor results. With part of the content for the course or training develop a prototype present it to potential learners and get their reactions. Make any necessary changes and then again test with a prototype. Only after you are satisfied that the instruction will meet its goals should you proceed with then next ADDIE step.
  3. Processing This step is carried out by technical staff and consists of the creation of the Web pages. Most of the time this is HTML with embedded media but it could also involve the use of Flash, for example. In some instances instructors carry out this step, however, given the more extensive use of media and the skill required, it is most efficient to get staff proficient in development to assist with this step. Processing requires familiarity with HTML templates, cascading style sheets, Flash, and tools such as Photoshop and Dreamweaver to mention only a few.
  4. Quality Assurance The learner will be able to state why quality assurance is necessary and who should perform it. Those developing the instruction have been working losely with it making it possible for them overlook problems. For this purpose bring Quality Assurance (QA) staff which will be new to the content, being able to spot problems and inconsistencies as well as deviations from style. In addition, the quality assurance staff is trained to “torture” the software to the limits of the stated requirements for taking part in the instruction. Quality assurance staff is also trained to think like end users and try all kinds of possible controls.. The feedback from quality assurance needs to be taken seriously and as many of their suggestions as possible should be incorporated.

If some suggestions are not possible due to technical limitation, costs, or because the feature is not deemed helpful, document this under the “help” option so that users can find why the interface might have such limitations. The main purpose of this phase is the actual delivery of instruction in a way that ensures learner’s mastery of the learning objectives and transfer of necessary skills to the job setting. During the implementation phase, a procedure for training the facilitators and the learners is developed. The facilitators’ training should cover the course curriculum, learning outcomes, method of delivery, and testing procedures.

All links must function, servers must perform appropriately and timely, Internet access needs to be reliable, etc. Plan appropriately so in the event of a failure the system can be restored or a back up put in its place. Be aware that not all technical support is the same. The difference between and excellent technical support service and a mediocre one is not that the latter cannot correct the problem. The difference is the timeliness of that correction. The purpose of this phase is to analyze the basic outcomes of the process. The evaluation phase consists of two parts: formative and summative.

Formative evaluation is present in each stage of the ADDIE process. Summative evaluation consists of tests designed for domain specific criterion-related referenced items and providing opportunities for feedback from the users. Formative Evaluation is ongoing during and between phases. The purpose of this type of evaluation is to improve the instruction before the final version is implemented. Summative Evaluation usually occurs after the final version of instruction is implemented. This type of evaluation assesses the overall effectiveness of the instruction.

Data from the Summative Evaluation is often used to make a decision about the instruction (such as whether to purchase an instructional package or continue/discontinue instruction). Evaluation is important to insure that we are meeting our objective and to improve future offerings of the instruction. ADDIE builds in evaluation as a very important component, as do other approaches of online and traditional instructional design. Without appropriate evaluation it is almost impossible to provide the improvement essential for your success.

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Instructional System Design. (2018, Feb 18). Retrieved from