Chapter 3. Systematic Instructional Design 45
The Systematic Process of Instructional Design
vs. models
the·o·ry \
thir-ē\ n, pl -ries
— a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of
principles offered to explain phenomena
— a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation
— an unproved assumption
— a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject
(Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 2003, p. 1296)
mod·el \
l\ n
— a description or analogy used to help visualize something (as an atom)
that cannot be directly observed
— a system of postulates, data, and inferences presented as a mathematical
description of an entity or state of affairs
(Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 2003, p. 798)
of instructional
theories and
design models
The field of instructional design provides “a theoretical foundation to prin-
ciples of instructional design, a research base confirming the theoretical
foundations, and a direct involvement in the application of those principles”
(Tennyson and Schott, 1997). Instructional design as a field of study starte
gaining recognition during the 1950s and 1960s when a lot of instructional
theories and models were developed. The early development of the field o
instructional design was led by the work of pioneers such as Robert Gagné,
Robert Mager, David Ausubel, and Jerome Bruner. While the applications
of behaviorism to teaching and learning were waning in the late 1960s
and throughout the 1970s, cognitivism gained popularity. In the 1990s,
constructivist theories also started to influence the development of new
instructional approaches.
Instructional design models provide instructional designers with guidance
in systematic instructional design and help them improve the probabilit
that desired learning will occur due to the instruction they designed.
Instructional design models help instructional designers be aware of all
the interdependent elements in the instructional system (e.g., learners,
media, methods, materials, learning environments, etc.) and be able to use the
most appropriate combination of those elements. With the guidance o
instructional design models, instructional designers will be able to produce
reliable and desired outcomes of learning.
approaches to
This chapter provides an overview of various individual contributions to the
development of instructional theories and systematic instructional design
processes, including those of Robert Gagné, Robert Mager, Walter Dick an
Lou Carey, and John Keller.
46 Foundations of Instructional and Performance Technology
Robert Gagné’s Instructional Theories
Robert M.
Robert Gagné received a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Brown
University. He served as a director of research of the American Institutes fo
Research and pursued his academic career at Princeton University, the
University of California–Berkeley, and Florida State University (Gagné an
Medsker, 1996). Robert Gagné is well known for developing instructional
theories about learning hierarchies, domains and conditions of learning, an
the nine events of instruction.
His main interest was in applying knowledge obtained from experimental
psychology to actual instructional design. “How can what you know about
learning as an event, or as a process, be put to use in designing training so that
it will be maximally effective?” (Gagné, 1962, p. 84).
Gagné was a prolific writer. His published works cover six decades, starting in
the late 1930s. He made great contributions to the development o
instructional theory and design practice in the fields of education and militar
training (see Richey, 2000).
The domains
and conditions
of learning
Gagné published four editions of his book The Conditions of Learning (1965,
1970, 1977, 1985), and another edition of the book on training applications i
1996. After several revisions of his theory on different types of learning, in the
third edition of the book, published in 1977, Gagné finally defined the five
major types of learning outcomes that learners are capable of achieving:
1. Verbal information: declarative knowledge (knowing that)
2. Intellectual skills: procedural knowledge (knowing how)
3. Cognitive strategies: strategic knowledge (self-management skills)
4. Attitudes: a belief, emotion, or action that influences behavior
5. Motor skills: physical movement
Gagné (1988) emphasized that it is important to categorize learning outcomes,
because the types of learning capabilities require different optimal conditions
in instruction.
For example, the process for learning verbal information would be quite
different from that of attitudes. Instructional conditions needed for verbal
information would focus on the process of meaningful encoding, storage, an
retrieval using distinctive cues and practice, whereas human modeling might
be an appropriate condition for changing attitudes (Gagné, 1977).
Figure 11 illustrates the different conditions of learning provided by external
events of instruction to produce different domains of learning outcomes.

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