Instructional-Design Theories and Models: An Overview of Their Current Status

Instructional-Design Theories and Models: An Overview of Their Current Status

Instructional-Design Theories and Models: An Overview of Their Current Status

Instructional-Design Theories and Models: An Overview of Their Current Status


Instructional theory describes a variety of methods of instruction (different ways of facilitating human learning and development) and when to use--and not use--each of those methods. It is about how to help people learn better.

This volume provides a concise summary of a broad sampling of new methods of instruction currently under development, helps show the interrelationships among these diverse theories, and highlights current issues and trends in instructional design. It is a sequel to Instructional-Design Theories and Models: An Overview of Their Current Status, which provided a "snapshot in time" of the status of instructional theory in the early 1980s. Dramatic changes in the nature of instructional theory have occurred since then, partly in response to advances in knowledge about the human brain and learning theory, partly due to shifts in educational philosophies and beliefs, and partly in response to advances in information technologies. These changes have made new methods of instruction not only possible, but also necessary in order to take advantage of new instructional capabilities offered by the new technologies. These changes are so dramatic that many argue they constitute a new paradigm of instruction, which requires a new paradigm of instructional theory.

In short, there is a clear need for this Volume II of Instructional Design Theories and Models. To attain the broad sampling of methods and theories it presents, and to make this book more useful for practitioners as well as graduate students interested in education and training, this volume contains twice as many chapters, but each half as long as the ones in Volume I, and the descriptions are generally less technical. Several unique features are provided by the editor to help readers understand and compare the theories in this book:

• Chapter 1, which discusses the characteristics of instructional theory and the nature of the new paradigm of instruction, helps the reader identify commonalities across the theories.

• Chapter forewords, which summarize the major elements of the instructional-design theories, are useful for reviewing and comparing theories, as well as for previewing a theory to decide if it is of interest, and for developing a general schema that will make it easier to understand.

• Editor's notes provide additional help in understanding and comparing the theories and the new paradigm of instruction to which they belong.

• Units 2 and 4 have introductory chapters to help readers analyze and understand the theories in those units.

This is an essential book for anyone interested in exploring new approaches to fostering human learning and development and thinking creatively about ways to best meet the needs of learners in all kinds of learning contexts.

Readers are invited to use Dr. Charles Reigeluth's Web site to comment and to view others' comments about the instructional design theories in this book, as well as other theories. Point your browser to:


David R. Krathwohl Syracuse University

A fast-moving New York executive was weaving his way through the stream of pedestrians, pushing the pace. Suddenly he stepped aside from the line of traffic, stopped, and his face relaxed. Curious, I asked about the change. His reply: "I suddenly asked myself what I was doing, how I got here, and where I was going in such a hurry." We need to copy that behavior in knowledge development as well. It is important to examine the bases out of which a field of knowledge developed, the theories of the field that have operated with some success, and how current work can be consolidated into new models pointing the way to further development. That is what Dr. Reigeluth and his authors have attempted with respect to the field of instructional design.

Instructional design? Is that not pretty presumptuous? Can we really claim to have a base for solidly designing instruction? It seems only a short time ago that learning theorists were telling us that they did not think they had anything substantial to tell us about the pratice of instruction. Of course, shortly after that, such modesty faded when behavioristic psychology was translated into teaching machines and into programmed learning. Education was to be revolutionized. But that has not happened. Though the tantalizing promise of these ideas remains, both teaching machines and programmed instruction have yet to achieve substantial educational roles. This suggests that there is much yet to be learned about instructional design. New and more fully developed formulations of theory into practice are needed. Such efforts are found in this volume in the chapters of Aronson and Briggs, Gropper, Landa, and Scandura. Some practitioners may need to translate some of the terms; physical educators will . . .

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