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Four Stage Model of Instructional Design


Four Stage Model of Instructional Design


 Educational Technology is the systematic and scientific approach to designing, implementing, evaluating, and developing the teaching-learning process to find out the perfect techniques to solve educational problems. Educational technology is the backbone of modern education systems and it has provided systematic approaches to various activities like need of assessment, designing distance courses, developing material, instructional media, product evaluation, etc, which are summarized in four stages: Analyses, Design, Development and Evaluation. The conclusion is illustrated on following figure.

                                                              Relation between educational processes based on educational technology definition

Both concepts of instructional and educational technology according to their technological approach reflect on the stages of Evaluation as an essential to enhance the quality of the entire process of the quality of telecommunication where instruction is the most critical point. As Zieger (2004: 3) denoted “Without measured and deliberate application of pedagogical design, collaborative technologies can inhibit learning rather than enhance it. While distance learning can emancipate students in distant and remote locations from geographic, economic, and social constraints, it can isolate students from their community and thus offer an educational experience inferior to that of the traditional classroom. A review of current studies of online or distance learning programs reveals that the development and growth of a community of practice is vital to the success of distance learning. Consequently, design of distance learning programs must focus on identities and modes of belonging.”

Four stages of application of Instructional Design will be discussed further.  Those are basically consequences of theories in practice. For instance, Distrubuted learningtheory, open and flexible learning and Systems approach. System approach is a key fundamental element in almost all the above instructional design definitions. Therefore, application of this concept is inspected first.

 Application of Systems Approach

As mentioned before the definitions of Educational Technology emphasize the application of systems approach. Systems and system approach is one the common element in most of the instructional technology definitions; e.g. the (U.S. Commission on Instructional Technology; (Silber 1970); (Ely, 1999); (Romiszowski 1981). Since this study is going to investigate the use of Instructional Technology i.e. ‘systematic approach of Analysis, Design, Development, Evaluation’, System and System Terminology will be the key concepts of the study. One the most important distinction, which will be discussed further, is the difference between ‘systemic’ and ‘systematic’. “Systematic refers to an orderly, logical method of identifying, developing and evaluating a set of strategies aimed at attaining a particular instructional goal.” (kemp,1985:13). Scheram (1963) spoke of the advantage of the system approach and remarked: “the advantages of systems theory is in its ability to provide a holistic perspective of the phenomena being studied.” (Ambashta, 1986: 16).

Understanding System and Systematic Approach

This part of the literature deals with the definition of system. These definitions are collected from different authors, which provided a complementary perception of the concept of ‘System’. Hence, the further definition aims to bring different point of view and approaches to the concept.

Encyclopedia Autopoietica defines system as:

“Any definable set of components.” (Maturana & Varela, 1980: 138)

International Encyclopedia of Systems & Cybernetics elucidates that there are numerous definitions and have given the word and the concept even if limited to G.S. Theory and Cybernetics, the differences between these definitions are striking. However, comparisons do not destroy the notion. On the contrary, many interesting shades appear.

Accordingly, we give hereafter many definitions, obtained from authors of different countries and specializations. As much as possible, they are supported by comments of the authors themselves. In some cases a critical evaluation or comment has been added.

-“A group of independent but interrelated elements comprising a unified whole;

-A complex methods or rules governing behavior;

-A procedure or process for obtaining an objective;

-A group of physiologically or anatomically related organs or parts;”1

-A set of related elements that work together to accomplish a task or provide a service. For example, a computer system includes both hardware and software.

To put things into perspective here is G. Weinberg’s different explanation of system that: “The system is a point of view”. And similarly, for G. PASK it is a “universe of discourse” (predefined by a reference frame) (1961: 22-3).

All definitions are more or less complementary. Some are more embracing than others and others more specific. All in all, this is one of the most evident cases of polysemy in language and it would not be satisfactory to reject any off-hand without a careful scrutiny. It is because of the term system, which describes rather an abstract concept.

It should however be noted that no “point of view” and no “universe of discourse” on systems could exist without the simultaneous existence of something on which these subtle arts can be practiced and which is generally called “concrete system”, or perhaps more imprudently “real” system.

As a result, the simplest and synthetically defined opens the way to careless generalizations and simplifications.

Accordingly, the present literature will thus give a number of definitions; first general, next more specific, in every case with the required comments. Most definitions are from genuine systemizes or cyberneticians, and some more from other scientists or philosophers, because they seemed relevant. In conclusion, a critical synthesis will be proposed, even as the conclusions are by no means to be taken as definitive.

“A system is a set of elements dynamically interacting and organized in relation to a goal” (J. de Rosnay, 1990, p:93).

“A set of parts with a common destiny, which maintain their inter-relations, even when placed in a different environment” (Bonsack, 1990: 67).

“A set of inter-related elements”. (Bertalanffy, 1956 – Ackoff, 1972).

This sweeping and embracing general definition is thus explained by R.L.Ackoff: “…a system is an entity which is composed of at least two elements and a relation that holds between each of its elements and at least one other element in the set. Each of a system’s elements is connected to every other element, directly or indirectly. Furthermore, no subset of elements is unrelated to any other subset”.

This definition does not allow a clear distinction between logical or formal systems, for example, and dynamic concrete systems. Nor is the role of the observer in any way expressed.

“… Any set of variables that (the observer or experimenter) selects from those available on the real “machine” (Ashby, 1960: 16).

One very important feature of this definition is the emphasis upon the role of the observer or experimenter, who is supposed to “select” the variables, and whose intervention implies clearly that, in Ashby’s opinion, any system is a mere constructed model. Of course, some criteria would be needed, in order to avoid radical arbitrariness in the process of selection. A criterion should be, for instance, coherence, in relation to some general types of interconnections present in all systemic-cybernetic models. One should also note that Ashby postulates the existence of the real “machine”, an object “out there”, which may very well be differently modelized by different observers.

“The term system has been used in many ways by many people. Similarly, the perhaps more recent term ‘ system approach’ has been used in at least three senses by writers on the subjects. To some a systems approach education implies the use of educational hardware; closed-circuit television, teaching machines, film projectors, etc. Others draw parallels between the precise functional objectives used by systems engineer and the programme writer’s behavioral objectives; between model building and task analysis; between simulation and validation.

Thus, they define the systems approach as the application of programme learning principles to all aspects of a course. They would claim that the system approach is a scientific approach to structuring a course. Finally, still others would reserve the term system approach to describe the application of cybernetics to the teaching and learning processes.

In order to summarize the necessary concepts of System, figure shows the component of a system:

Figure 2-7: The component of a System (relationship between elements)


Source: Romiszowski, (1981: 6)

In above figure A, B, C and D are elements of system or a subsystem. Black arrows display the interaction between the elements of system. According to the systems definition a system is a series of interrelated elements wherein a change in one part brings about changes in all parts. As demonstrated any system has a boundary, which must be defined and located. In some of the related literature System is defined in different forms such as: ‘A system is a little black box of which we can’t unlock the locks. But find out what it’s all about by what goes in and what comes out.’ (Romiszowski, 1970: 11).

 A ‘system’ is defined as a set of inter-relation of elements that together accomplish a goal. Hence, it could be concluded that any system has a goal, elements, inter-relation of elements, boundaries, inputs and outputs. This is a step to acquire more cognition about the Systems in general and instructional systems in particular. Inter-relation between elements of an instructional system and how to manage it to accomplish the goals of the system is the key concept of this study. For example, once the goals and objectives of an instructional training system are determined, it is necessary to know more about how they are related to the objectives of instructional materials.

Thus, as mentioned before, the main aims of instructional technology is to solve the educational problems, which can be defined in terms of system. In other words, system theory has a very close relationship with the concept of educational technology and as is highlighted earlier, some schools of Educational Technology describe ET as the solution of instructional problems through analysis of educational systems.

2-12 System Analyses and its Application in Instructional Situation

The first step in system analysis is to define the system interest, its boundaries and the chief inputs and outputs across these boundaries. Quantifying these inputs and outputs defines the purpose and to some extent the efficiency of the system.

In order to understand the relationship between inputs, outputs and processes, it is necessary to understand the environment in which all of this occurs.

 Types of Systems

Systems are different in terms of goals, number of elements/ subsystems, size, etc. Systems may also vary in the sheer complexity of the inter-relationships. “For example a motor car is a much more complex than the inter-relationship between the various mechanical parts of the car may still be predicted in a deterministic fashion. We see therefore two types of system: Deterministic – ones which can be determined in advance, where every inter-relation between every part can be prescribed, and providing the system continue to function and does not breakdown, we know exactly how the system will behave at any particular time and under any influences from the environment; and secondly Probabilistic systems, that is systems where we cannot be certain on how the total system will behave under certain conditions of environment, although we can in some cases be fairly confident about the type of reaction which will take place”.(Romiszowski, 1970: 11)

 Systems can be classified according to their type to understand more about the peculiarity of characteristics. “Such a classification is useful because it identifies the sort of techniques which may be use to try to investigate a particular system. The techniques for investigating deterministic systems are different from those, which are necessary for investigating probabilistic system, and similarly the technique for investigating a simple system. (Romiszowski, 1970: 15).

 Development of Instructional Technology Process

As it is discussed above, three stages of instructional technology process includes Design, carrying out and evaluation. It appears from some definitions of instructional technology that it gives more emphasis to the products than the processes. Based on the application of system theory, the process of Designing and Evaluation are the main focal point in delivery of instruction according to the new approaches of Instructional technology.

Hence, the four stages include Analyses, Design, Development and Evaluation was introduced. Now, another model will be discussed in (Figure No. 2-8) to complement and organize the literature of the study, in particular to show the way of application of instructional technology based on systematic designing processes and products. Indeed, this model intends to explain more accurately the processes, interrelation and the dynamics of the systems.

                        The Main Phases of Instructional Technology Approach

Main phases, which are interlinked and interact together, diagnosis, planning, intervention or experimentation, and assessment (Above Figure ). Upon completing these phases we need to decide whether to return to the beginning of the process (analysis problem diagnosis) and start another cycle; or iterate to a revision of the planning phase; or proceed with scaling-up, starting another planning, implementation and evaluation cycle.

Instructional System Analysis

 Although not always possible, it is necessary to inquire about the target population. These are the folks who will actually be taking the course training, or working through the self-paced instructional materials. In the ideal form of a course delivery the contents of a training course must meet the needs of the learners as a result of the analysis process.

 Some instructional design theorists Bloom and others contend “the most important factor for an instructional designer is specific prior learning”. Theoretically, these approaches suggest that the main aims of learner analysis revolve around what learners already know about the subject and the prerequisite knowledge course or instructional unit.

It is also important to consider:

-Cognitive characteristics, such as learning aptitude, learning styles, prior knowledge of topic.

-Psychosocial characteristics, such as motivation, attitudes, socio-economics.

-Physiological characteristics, such as age, race, ethnicity, cultural and linguistic background.

  Instructional Design

 The concept of instructional design can be traced back to military training efforts during and immediately following World War II. At the same time the work of psychologists was revealing important new information about how human learning take place, including the importance of specifying details of a task to be learned or performed, and the need for active participation by the student or trainee to ensure learning. At the same time, audio-visual specialists were developing ways to utilize the recognized learning principles to designing effective films and other instructional materials.

At a glance to the literature about Instructional design it can be concluded that it may be used in four manners:

1. Instructional Design as a Process: Instructional Design is the systematic development of instructional specifications using learning and instructional theory to ensure the quality of instruction. It is the entire process of analysis of learning needs and goals and the development of a delivery system to meet those needs. It includes development of instructional materials and activities and tryout and evaluates all instruction and learner activities.

2. Instructional Design as a Discipline: Instructional Design is that branch of knowledge that is concerned with research and theory about instructional strategies and the process for developing and implementing those strategies.

3. Instructional Design as a Science: Instructional design is the science of creating detailed specifications for the development, implementation, evaluation, and maintenance of situations that facilitate the learning of both large and small units of subject matter at all levels of complexity. As it was discussed earlier instructional design can be considered as a technology.

4. Instructional design as a technology: Instructional design like other technologies has the ability of solving human problem. Today human knowledge about instructional design is different from a few decades ago. Hence, it is a process that is going to be better like other technologies.  


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