June 22, 2022

Schools of thought in instructional design


BF Skinner was one of the first people to publish on instructional design. In a first article, he mentions the importance of the didactic material, including the steps to follow, the questions and the comments. This contribution is based on one of the theories of the author called Operant Conditioning Theory, which consists of learning through rewards and punishments, drawing the conclusion that reward and punishment have a link that leads to learning.

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Benjamin Bloom developed the “Taxonomy of educational objectives”. Better known as “Bloom Taxonomy”. It is a theory that consists of an equal classification of educational objectives according to the complexity of the cognitive process that they require. To better understand it is to visualize a pyramid, at the bottom will be the least complex cognitive processes and at the top of the pyramid they will be the most complex, the teacher must be aware that the student cannot pass from one level to another until the previous one is mastered. Bloom’s Taxonomy is divided into a series of equal levels, from bottom to top: Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, and Create.

David Merrill developed component display theory, which focuses on methods of presenting educational material. CDT or “Instructional Design Theory” is a set of steps to determine appropriate strategies to enable educators to achieve instructional goals. That is, determining which strategies work best for the learning, development, and design process. This theory has several tenets, including integration, application, demonstration, activation, and problem.

Florida State University’s Center for Educational Technology developed an instructional design framework for the U.S. military called ADDIE, which has since been adopted in educational settings. To this day, it remains popular in the corporate and educational learning space. ADDIE stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation. This model provides instructional designers with a clear process for managing the creation of effective learning experiences.

In the 1990s constructivist theory became more active. Constructivists asserted that the learner must be authentic and must produce learning experiences that allow the learner to form their own knowledge. Constructivist theory proposes the need to offer students a series of tools for them to construct and define their own learning, the aim being that they can face any problem that may arise in the future.

In 1982, the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute of California launched its first distance education program. Since then, e-learning has seen a steady growth in educational learning. Years later, Elliott Masie, an educational technology expert, coined the term, E-Learning.

In 2002, Nick Pelling, a game designer, first spread the term gamification. And after that, it became clear that gamification of online learning environments increases user engagement and learning outcomes.

Vibrant and thriving instructional design schools?

The creation of learning experiences, methods and materials that are useful for learners to acquire new knowledge is one of the fields of application of instructional design. But what are the guidelines of an instructional designer today? In a sprawling world of responsibilities, including creating and designing courses, tools, materials, workshops, evaluating what was learned in the course, and analyzing whether what was taught led to measurable intellectual and behavioral change, etc., perhaps guidelines and philosophical frameworks are not a thing of the past, but something needed now more than ever.

All over the world, different institutions offer degrees and courses related to instructional design. Here is a list of the best schools, universities, and platforms that offer training in instructional design. Hopefully they offer a high-level reflection on the profession today.

  • Harvard Extension School – Graduate Certificate in Learning Design and Technology
    This postgraduate program consists of four courses lasting over 12 months. With this course, you will learn about project planning, interactive content creation and editing, and website development.
  • Indiana University Bloomington: Teaching Systems Technology:
    This university seeks to prepare students to design processes, systems, and tools for use in different contexts. According to the university, they focus on turning problems into opportunities.
  • Florida State University: Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies:
    Program in instructional systems and learning technologies, with a strong emphasis on instructional design and performance improvement.
  • Purdue University: Learning Design and Technology
    This program provides doctoral and master’s level training to serve as outstanding educators and leaders in designing and evaluating learning experiences involving pedagogy and technology.
  • University of Wisconsin-Stout—Instructional Design Certificate:
    This program consists of four courses, which cover trends, instructional design issues, instructional strategies, instructional design-based project management, and electronics-based training design. The value of the certification course is US$5,592.
  • Instructional Design Video Series — Youtube:
    Through a series of videos, Ph.D. Ray Pastore offers an introduction to instructional design, from training strategies to the software used to create e-learning content. What you can learn through these videos does not come with any sort of certification.
  • Learn to Teach Online — Coursera:
    A 5-week beginner’s study plan containing videos, reading material, self-assessments and graded assignments. Certification costs around US$50.
  • Instructional Design for Online Learning — Udemy:
    Introductory course for beginners, for those who want to be part of digital capture terminology and context. This course has a value of US$95.
  • Learning the basics of design: from pedagogy to practice — Open Learning:
    This course focuses on the principles of design learning. In this course, you will discover the most effective way to teach and how to get students to retain information and apply it. The certificate for this course has an additional cost, and it should be noted that it does not have international accreditation.
  • Gamification — Coursera:
    This course focuses on the technique of gamification, exploring its meaning and analyzing why games influence people to learn new things. The student will learn about game design and will be tested on their knowledge related to instructional design.
  • Essentials of Instructional Design — Linkedin Learning:
    This short course is developed into a 50-minute video, where the methodologies used by instructional designers, such as ADDIE, are explained. Recommended for intermediate level learners and those with experience creating eLearning content.
  • Become a Learning and Training Professional: Learning Journey — Linkedin Learning: This program contains 11 video courses with different authors sharing information on different development and learning orientations to encourage participation from learner and gamify the learning experience.