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

Question

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.

Answer

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.

Re: ADDIE, SAM, and Pebble-in-the-Pond Models

A response to Chapter 4, “SAM and Pebble-in-the-Pond: Two Alternatives to the ADDIE Model,” in Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology

Question

Compare and contrast the ADDIE, SAM, and Pebble-in-the-Pond models. Discuss strengths and weaknesses of each model. You are encouraged to utilize texts as well as graphs to share your information.

Answer

Unfortunately, some of ADDIE’s strengths are connected to its weaknesses. Because of the sequential order, an error or misjudgment at the beginning is often carried through the process. The documentation for this model is laborious and produces a written plan that is essentially an abstract concept until it the implementation phase, at which point major revisions of the project could be costly, if not impossible. The written plans of the instructional designer are subject to misinterpretation by others and the proposal is a description of what to do, but not necessarily how to do it. In all of this, it is easy to lose sight of the learner in lieu of focusing on the instruction (Branch, 2017, p. 24).

SAM (Successive Approximation Model) is one of the instructional design alternatives to the ADDIE model. It is a process model that relies on successive throwaway prototypes to communicate suggestions visually and provide opportunities for early and frequent formative testing of functionality (with live learners). As opposed to ADDIE’s document-heavy, abstract process, SAM’s use of prototypes throughout the project allows troubleshooting from the very beginning and makes for clearer communication of ideas and feedback between the designer and the stakeholders. SAM also develops preliminary plans for all of the content, from the beginning. Operating in this manner makes the SAM model very time-efficient, and therefore more cost-effective, in comparison to ADDIE (Allen & Merrill, 2017, pp. 33-35).

Above is the more basic SAM, which is a two-phased approach for simpler projects. The three-phased approach, for more complex projects, breaks the second phase into design and development phases. A key strength of the SAM approach is the Savvy Start where the design team meets (including stakeholders) to brainstorm the initial prototypes, constantly analyzing for weaknesses by asking themselves, “Why shouldn’t we do this?” From the outset, the team is committed to flexibility by generating multiple disposable iterations. Obviously SAM is a very creative process that keeps the end in mind from the beginning. The weakness of SAM is the possibility of getting stuck in the cycle of revision and having trouble finalizing the product (Allen & Merrill, 2017, pp. 33-35).

PEBBLE IN THE POND is another design alternative to ADDIE that is a problem-centered approach where the problem, something learners must solve, is the catalyst for instructional design. This model begins with the assumption that some initial evaluation and analysis has occurred and that the solution to the problem is instruction instead of some other option (Allen & Merrill, 2017, p. 35).

In this illustration, each concentric ring represents a step in the process of instructional design, where the problem initiates the process. The “pebble” represents the problem the student must be able to solve. The pebble is thrown into the “instructional pond,” causing a ripple that begins the design process.

  • The first ripple is the development of a prototype that illustrates the problem and how students can solve it (Merrill, 2013).
  • The second ripple is the creation and demonstration of a progressive series of prototypes that illustrate increasingly complex problem solving for students (Merrill, 2013).
  • Ripple number three is comprised of determination and demonstration of the specific skills required to respond to the problems as seen in the progression of prototypes (Merrill, 2002).
  • The fourth ripple is development of a structural framework for the problems in the progression using specific, task-centered instructional strategies and peer collaboration (Allen & Merrill, 2017, p. 35).
  • Ripple five is finalization of the prototype. Necessary components include design of “interface, navigation, and supplemental instructional materials” (Allen & Merrill, 2017, p. 35; Merrill, 2009).
  • The sixth ripple is the evaluation phase where data is collected to evaluate the course (formative evaluation) in order to make revisions to the prototype (Allen & Merrill, 2017, p. 35).

Unlike ADDIE, the Pebble model is very student-centered and learning-focused because it begins with the problem that the student must solve and demonstrates the skills necessary for students to succeed. Use of prototypes throughout the process avoids some other pitfalls of ADDIE such as inefficient use of time due to laborious documentation and miscommunication within the design team due to the abstract nature of a written plan. On the other hand, the Pebble model is limited since it lacks “the important steps of production, implementation, and summative evaluation” that are essential to the overall instructional design process (Allen & Merrill, 2017, p. 35).


Allen, M. W. & Merrill, M. D.  (2017). SAM and Pebble-in-the-Pond: Two alternatives to the ADDIE model. In Reiser & Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (pp.31-41). New York, NY: Pearson.

Branch, R. M. (2017). Characteristics of foundational instructional design models. In Reiser & Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (pp.23-30). New York, NY: Pearson.