From CUNY Academic Commons


The Basic Concepts in Instructional Design

by Randy Rezabeck

Instructional Design – the systematic process for preplanning and organizing all resources, learning activities, communications mechanisms, and feedback and assessment activities necessary to result in active student learning.

Active Learning -Student learning occurs because of what the learners themselves do, not necessarily because of what the professor does. Learning requires frequent cognitive engagement and is dependent upon the level of effort put into it. At its most basic level, learning is a process of acquiring new information, thinking about it, reflecting upon its meaning, and then applying it to the real world to test its validity.

Andragogy – the art and science of helping adults learn, as opposed to Pedagogy, the art and science of teaching children. Whereas pedagogy is teacher focuses, andragogy is learner centered. Adults have some unique characteristics which influence how they learn. Specifically, they tend to:

Be more highly motivated and self directed See the teacher as a resource rather than an authority figure Hold attitudes, values and beliefs based upon life experience Be focused and goal directed Want to learn for immediate application Consider time as a scarce and precious asset For further information see: http://www.learnativity.com/andragogy.html

Instructional Interaction – The flow of communications and activities within the structure of a course. There are three primary types of interaction; 1) interaction between the professor and students, such as discussions, 2) interaction between students, such as group assignments, peer tutoring, and socializing, and 3) interaction between students and information resources, such as active reading of the textbook, research assignments in the library, or searching the internet. A well-designed course should utilize all three forms of instructional interaction.

Learning Guidance – Advice given by the professor to help students in their learning efforts. This could be specific advice, such as mnemonics to help memorize specific information or techniques for highlighting important concepts in their readings; or more generalized advice such as good resources to explore for term paper topics, recommendations to the writing center, etc.

Feedback -Informal but frequent advice given to specific students as to the quality of their performance with recommendations to help improve their learning. The purpose of feedback is to help guide and direct students efforts to meet specific learning outcomes. . Feedback should encourage students to think and reflect upon their learning and to adjust their application of it to the real world. Feedback can include encouragement, and can also be provided by fellow students.

Assessment – Formal judgment as to the quality of a student’s performance (grades). Assessment can take many forms beyond traditional paper and pencil tests, but all assessments should strive for relevance, authenticity, and fairness. Most importantly, they must be tied directly to the course objectives.

Student Learning Outcomes – general statements as to what a student should know and be able to do at the completion of instruction. They should reflect the knowledge, skills and abilities that a student will gain in the course.

Instructional Objectives – are specific statements derived from student learning outcomes which address three components of learning: conditions under which the learning will take place, the performance that the student will engage in to demonstrate mastery of the objective, and the standards which will be applied to evaluate the quality of the performance. Instructional objectives can be utilized in two ways:

Terminal Objectives – which reflect the outcomes for each major topic in the course.

Enabling Objectives – which reflect the various steps, components, and background knowledge that must be learned in order to master the terminal objective.

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