Instructional-Design Theories and Models, Volume I


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About this book

(This is excerpted from pages xi and xii of the book)

This book is dedicated to increasing our knowledge about how to improve instruction. It is founded on the premise that the process of learning can be made easier and more enjoyable. During the previous twenty-five years (1957-1982), a young discipline has developed to so improve instruction. This discipline about Instruction has produced a growing knowledge base about methods of instruction and their effects for different kinds of goals, content, and learners. Because it is a very new discipline, the knowledge that has been generated so far has tended to be piecemeal, and instructional researchers have tended to develop independent "knowledge bases." Moreover, different researchers often use different terms to refer to the same phenomenon, and they often use the same term to refer to different phenomena. The result has been somewhat chaotic.

The major purpose of this book is to encourage the building of a common knowledge base that integrates the independent and piecemeal "knowledge bases" that presently characterize the discipline. Unit I discusses the nature of the discipline, especially the nature of the knowledge it generates. Unit II summarizes some of the most comprehensive "knowledge bases" that presently characterize the discipline. It shows that, rather than conflicting and competing with each other, these "knowledge bases"-theories and models-tend to either duplicate or complement each other. Several of these theories represent efforts to integrate independent and piecemeal "knowledge bases" into a common knowledge base, mainly in the form of optimal models of instruction which are prescribed on the basis of kind of goals, content, and/or learners. It should be noted that this unit summarizes but a sampling of instructional design theories and models-it is by no means a complete representation of work that has been done. Finally, Unit III presents a discussion about the preceding chapters.

At the time that this book was going to press, a companion volume is nearing completion. It is also edited by myself, and is entitled Instructional Theories in Action: Lessons Illustrating Selected Theories and Models. In that book, each of the theories in this book is illustrated in a Lesson, and all lessons teach the same objectives in order to facilitate comparison of the theories and models. Each lesson is followed by commentary that relates specific aspects of the lesson design to specific prescriptions in the theory or model. With only one exception (the Gagne-Briggs theory), the lesson and commentary are authored by the original theorist. The six objectives that comprise each lesson represent a variety of intellectual skills and verbal information. That book complements this one nicely by (1) facilitating the understanding of each theory or model through a concrete representation of it and (2) facilitating the comparison and integration of the theories and models through a clear indication of what unique and valuable contributions each makes to the design of a variety of objectives.

One can envision a time when there will be a variety of different models of instruction, each prescribing the best available methods for achieving a different kind of learning goal under different kinds of conditions. One can also envision researchers all over the world building upon this common knowledge base, continually improving and refining those models. It is my hope that this book will contribute in some small way to forming that common knowledge base.

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This file was last updated on March 10, 1999 by Byungro Lim
Copyright 1999, Charles M. Reigeluth