Re: The Seven Characteristics of Instructional Design

A response to Chapter 3, “Characteristics of Foundational Instructional Design Models,” in Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology


According to chapter 3, Instructional Design:

  1. is a student-centered process
  2. is a goal-oriented process
  3. is a creative process
  4. focuses on meaningful experiences
  5. assumes outcomes are measurable. reliable, and valid
  6. is an empirical, iterative, and self-correcting process
  7. typically is a team effort

You have recently been hired by a large plumbing company to design a course to train recent high school graduates how to perform some basic plumbing skills. Describe how you might use each of the seven characteristics of instructional design that were described in chapter 3 to help you design an effective course.


For the group of recent high school graduates in need of basic plumbing skills, the program of training must be student centered. Students will come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Baseline knowledge of plumbing and hardware should be assessed to determine how familiar students are with the subject. In order to develop this evaluation, the instructional design team will consult with subject matter experts. Using this preliminary assessment, student groups can be formed so that students who are less knowledgeable may be paired with those who are more knowledgeable. A collaborative environment will encourage learning and personal development in students, with some leading or teaching and others growing their knowledge and developing trust in the team.

Teams of students will have very specific goals and be given measurable standards of performance. Though the teams will work apart from one another, the teams will be encouraged to help one another in a spirit of general cooperation. This sort of setting is meant to create a sense of community, as might be found in a workplace setting or a neighborhood. The skills, in terms of plumbing knowledge and teamwork, are meaningful life skills that students can share with others in the future. Individually, students must be able to perform proficiently to the given standards, repeatedly demonstrating the correct procedures according to the rubric specified in the course syllabus. Smaller, more frequent skill evaluations, both formal and informal, will be given throughout the course.

The design of the course will rely on the expertise of subject matter experts, technicians, and technology developers. Subject matter experts, the professional plumbers, will help determine the order of instruction, creation of learning experiences, and specifications of the learning objectives. Technicians will be instrumental in providing practical resources by constructing a series of sinks and toilets in the classroom to allow students to work simultaneously, in real-world situations, with immediate feedback from instructors and other students. Technology developers will create content-rich modules, using recorded lectures from experts, computer simulations of skills, and live close-up video demonstrations so all the students can watch in real-time as the on-site instructor performs important tasks.

The initial drafts of the course outline and the construction of classroom will be reviewed by subject matter experts at each phase of production. A small cohort, three teams of students, will test the modules of the training, providing feedback and allowing for correction, before the course is finalized and a full class of students is accepted. Each course will end with student and teacher evaluation of the course so that changes can be made to improve shortcomings before beginning a new class.

Branch, R. M. (2017). Characteristics of foundational instructional design models. In Reiser & Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (pp.8-22). New York, NY: Pearson.