“What Is Instructional Design?”, Reiser and Dempsey

In “What Is Instructional Design?”, Reiser and Dempsey present “the phases and distinguishing features of the process,” a “systematic process that is employed to develop education and training programs” (p. 10). The authors describe it further as “complex process that is creative, active, and iterative,” systematic in that it has (according to systems theory) elements that are “interdependent, synergistic, dynamic, and cybernetic” (p. 11). These elements (also known as “phases”), at the core of all instructional design is (again) ADDIE: analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation (p. 11).

Reiser and Dempsey also lay out the “Characteristics of Instructional Design”:

  1. Instructional design is learner centered.
  2. Instructional design is goal oriented.
  3. Instructional design focuses on meaningful performance.
  4. Instructional design assumes outcomes can be measured in a reliable and valid way.
  5. Instructional design is empirical, iterative, and self-correcting
  6. Instructional design typically is a team effort. (p. 13)

On the whole, I found this article relatively elucidating, though I’m still a little fuzzy on exactly how instruction in the military, academia and business can all look so similar. I think I need (or need to find) a few more detailed examples.

And, I could be wrong, but I think this article may be the first I have come across (in this or any of my other classes in the DMDL program) that makes an explicit reference to the move to learner-centered instruction as “represent[ing] a paradigm shift of immense power when planning for effective educational environments” (p. 13). The authors don’t say much more about this power shift, and I think any larger statement about the nature of power in education is only implicit, but it has reminded me to think about the topic more.

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