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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Instructional Design Model Report

When beginning the search for my scholarly articles relating to different models of instructional design I first went to Google Scholar at the suggestion of a coworker and UF Educational Technology alumnus.  I also explored the UF Library distance portal and I found a few articles that interested me but ultimately, Google Scholar won the fight due to straightforwardness and ease of use.  I started by simply searching, “instructional design model.” I am very new to the instructional design field so I assumed that it would be best to report on two articles that explain different types of models of instructional design rather than the stages of instructional design.  I know very little about the subject so getting a feel for two different models seemed like the best route to take.
After I decided upon my search topic, I resolved to only search of current articles.  I made sure that I used articles that were published within the last 10 to 12 years.  During my undergraduate career I studied psychology.  During those years, I wrote many research papers and article reviews.  I was instructed to always look for the most current, up-to-date work. The first article I decided to use was “Towards an instructional design model based on learning,” by Laverde, Cifuentes, and Rodriguez (2007).  It should be noted that when I was searching for my articles, I was at work and in a bit of a rush before my next class was scheduled to arrive. I scanned the abstract and keywords and decided that this would suffice for this project.  This was in hindsight, a great mistake on my part. 
            I found “Towards an instructional design model based on learning objects,” (Cifuentes, Laverde, & Rodriguez, 2007) to be vague and redundant.  This article was based around the reform of the policies of Higher Education in Colombia.  Perhaps it is the translation of the article, or maybe it is my lack of experience in instructional technology, but this article made very little sense to me.  According to the authors, the Columbian Government and the Columbian Universities, in recent years have resolved to formulate a long-term vision for higher education. The committee seeks to base its policy improvements around five axes: quality improvement, the improvement of the coverage for all Higher Education subsystems, modifications to the financial scheme on behalf of the state, the improvement of internal procedures within institutions, and internalization of Higher Education (Cifuentes, Laverde, & Rodriguez, 2007). 
Essentially, the authors’ main focus is to improve education in Columbia through a process of creating quality contents with instructional design utilizing learning objects.  What are learning objects you ask?  Well, I asked the same question because I kept reading this article completely baffled by what learning objects may or may not be.  I did a little side research myself and discovered that a learning object is, “any entity, digital or non-digital, that may be used for learning, education or training," (Beck, 2009).  Learning objects are also a way to break educational content down into small chunks that can be reused in other learning environments (Beck, 2009).
The authors of “Toward an instructional design model based on learning objects,” (2007) concede that the definitions of learning objects are “rather wide and ambiguous” therefore; it is convenient to say that anyone can use learning objects in the classroom.  “A learning object, as a proper definition presented in this article, is a digital, self-contained, reusable entity with a clear learning aim that contains at least three changing elements: content, instructional activities, and context elements,” (Cifuentes, Laverde, & Rodriguez, 2007).  The authors believe that there are four reasons why learning objects should be used to establish a hopeful path of Columbian Higher Education.  First, they believe that learning objects have become a complex institutional process that go beyond an individual production is led by a teachers enthusiastic motivation.  Secondly, learning objects should be stored in repositories that allow for public use.  Thirdly, learning objects permit easy application as a study material for independent work, self-study, or as a compliment to traditional, distance, virtual or blended learning processes.  Finally, the authors believe that learning objects are multidimensional tools that are not only applicable to study materials, but also as a teaching strategy (Cifuentes, Laverde, & Rodriguez, 2007).
After reading this article and coming to a better understanding of learning objects, I can see that this model of instructional design would compliment many learning environments.  The University of Florida distance education program I am currently enrolled in utilizes some aspects of the learning objects.  We have message boards, articles accessible through the Internet in PDF form, and weekly units that are “chunked” into small easy to digest segments.  I also agree with the authors when they state that learning objects should be accessible to all for this model to be affective.  Technological equity is not something that we often think of when speaking about higher education because generally we think that every college student has a laptop, iPod, smart phone, etc.  However, this is not the case for many learners who have to use a college computer lab late into the night. As stated by the authors, learning objects are ambiguous in theory but I may have been using them in my classroom without ever putting a label to these methods. “Toward an instructional design model based on learning objects,” (2007) was honest and straightforward in its approach to instructional design.  However, I believe that I was seeking a design model that was more concrete than conceptual to put into practice in my own classroom.
The second article I discovered in my search is essentially the polar opposite of the first article.  “Non-linear instructional design model: eternal, synergistic design and development,” (2004) by Caroline Crawford explains the purpose of the instructional design process and a more holistic overview of the design process. The author states, “Instructional design models have been developed to fit into numerous theoretical models and philosophical expectations so as to appropriately fit the needs, desires, and expectations of the instructional designer,” (Crawford, 2004).  The first ID model I studied implements learning objects as a tool of instructional design with all phases falling within specific time parameters and learning expectations; this article works backward in a non-linear fashion.  “Often a glimmer of an idea is developed to give the core of an instruction situation,” (Crawford, 2004). Personally, I feel that this “glimmer of an idea” is what creating effective instruction is all about.  It is my belief that teaching should be inspired rather than regimented and stiff.
Crawford speaks of a less restrictive instructional design model, as traditional linear models did not fit her nature.  I have to agree that often when I am planning instruction I think about the final goal of what I want my students achieve rather than starting from the rigid phases of the ADDIE model.  “I began generating a model in the back of my mind that more appropriately met the need of my own developmental needs and my philosophical conceptual framework of the instructional design process,” (Crawford, 2004).  From this need came the Eternal, Synergistic Design Model, which offers a continual growth process with a strong emphasis on evaluation. 
Crawford speaks of the synergistic growth and refinement of the final product.  However, there will never be a final product because each time the plan is implemented, it can be improved and developed further.  “Implementation of the product most appropriately occurs at numerous points through the instructional design process so as to ensure formative evaluation ad feedback in obtained throughout the design and development processes.  I feel that in reality, this model holds true.  No matter how well you plan and design instruction, the end product will always change because you cannot account for the unexpected, human influence.  As teachers, we must always be flexible and willing to accommodate our students, hence changing our lessons if something is amiss in delivery.  Crawford’s emphasis on constant evaluation and feedback enhances the design and development within the model, which creates a superior product (Crawford, 2004).
The Eternal, Synergistic Design Model shares some roots with the constructivist model of learning.  “The Eternal, Synergistic Design Model offered herein further supports the real-world focus upon the end user or customer,” (Crawford, 2004). As an elementary teacher, I can identify with this model because it can also be applied to project-based learning as well.  Crawford’s model is based in reality as it is clear yet flexible.  Of the two models I studied for this report, the Eternal, Synergistic Design Model would be applied to my instructional designs in a very natural and simple way. 

Cifuentes, Y.S., Laverde, A.C., & Rodriguez, H.Y.R.  Toward an instructional design model based on learning objects.  Educational Technology Research and Development, 55(6), 671-681, Retrieved from:

Crawford, C. (2004).  Non-linear instructional design model: eternal, synergistic design and development.” British Journal of Educational Technology, 35(4),  413–420. Retrieved from:

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Angelica:
    Thank you for your generous discussion of the model that I framed in the 2004 article. I am honored, and truly appreciative of your thoughtful reflections.
    Caroline (Crawford)