Instructional Design


“Teachers must learn how to teach... they need only to be taught more effective ways of teaching.”—Burrhus Frederic Skinner


Knowles’ Postulates of Adult Learning


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Visual representation of Knowles' andragogy showing the four postulates of adult learning

For corporate learners—who are essentially adults—the instructional premise around which training programs are designed should be andragogy (teaching to adults), not pedagogy (teaching to children). For this, Malcolm Knowles’ theory is used, which has four key postulates:
  1. Self-concept and Motivation to learn—Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction. This includes pre-assessments and custom learning paths for different knowledge prerequisites.
  2. Experience—Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for learning activities. This encompasses practice activities with feedback and remedial reviews.
  3. Readiness to learn—Adults are most interested in learning those subjects that have immediate relevance to their job or personal life. Job-specific content and job-aids are provided for this purpose.
  4. Orientation to learning—Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented. For this, scenarios and simulations for real-world problem-solving experience are provided.

Bloom’s Taxonomy for Cognitive Domain


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Depiction of Bloom's taxonomy for the cognitive domain showing the six mastery levels

As most of corporate learning programs aim to build cognitive (thinking) skills, Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy is used to define the learning objectives/ outcomes for such programs. Bloom’s taxonomy has six levels:
  1. Knowledge—This level of learning is said to be achieved if, after completing the content, learners are able to recall their learnings.
  2. Comprehension—This level of learning is said to be achieved if, after completing the content, learners are able to restate the concepts in their own words.
  3. Application—This level of learning is said to be achieved if, after completing the content, learners are able to apply their learnings at work.
  4. Analysis—This level of learning is said to be achieved if, after completing the content, learners are able to analyze the constituent components of typical work problems.
  5. Synthesis—This level of learning is said to be achieved if, after completing the content, learners are able to synthesize new solutions to typical work problems.
  6. Evaluation—This level of learning is said to be achieved if, after completing the content, learners are able to judge the quality of new solutions to typical work problems, and then decide on the optimal solution.

Gagne’s Instructional Events


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Rendition of Gagne's instructional events showing the nine steps to learning transfer

Learning units need to have a structure that enables systematic progression of instruction. Robert Gagne’s theory identifies this step-by-step building of learning as nine instructional events:
  1. Gain attention, wherein the learner is presented with an introductory scenario or rhetorical questions
  2. Inform learners of objective, wherein the learner is presented with the learning objectives
  3. Stimulate recall of prior learning, wherein the learner is presented with experience recollection
  4. Present stimulus material, wherein the learner is presented with content presentation
  5. Provide learner guidance, wherein the learner is presented with graphics and examples
  6. Elicit performance, wherein the learner is presented with practice activities
  7. Provide feedback, wherein the learner is presented with practice feedback
  8. Assess performance, wherein the learner is presented with post-assessment
  9. Enhance retention and transfer, wherein the learner is presented with job aids and resources

Merrill’s Components Display Theory


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Merrill's Components Display Theory presented as a 2-dimensional grid

Within each learning unit, optimal presentation tactics and components should be used to enable the learning process. David Merrill’s Components Display Theory (CDT) on these learning components and their displaying tactics enables instructional designers effectively keep the learner engaged in each learning unit. Content of typical courseware covers the “facts”, “concepts”, “procedures”, and “principles” of a specific knowledge or skill component. Depending on the learning outcome, a combination of presentation tactics and components enables the learner to “remember” the new learnings acquired via the courseware, “use” the learnings at work, and also “find” new ways to apply the learnings.

The CDT tactics—called “primary performance forms”—are:
  • Expository—”Show” the learners, including visuals and demonstrations
  • Expository—”Tell” the learners, including text and audio
  • Inquisitory—”Ask” the learners, including learner interactivities

The CDT components—called “secondary performance forms”—are:
  • Prerequisites, such as learner prerequisites
  • Objectives, such as learning objectives
  • Helps, such as global/ contextual helps, hints, job-aids (templates)
  • Mnemonics, such as job aids (checklists)
  • Feedback, such as remedial, reinforcement

Source: http://elearning-guidelines.wikispaces.com/