The Pros and Cons of Using a Systematic Instructional Design Approach

According to Morrison, Ross, Kalman, and Kemp (2011) a subject matter expert (SME) designs training programs from a content perspective. Developing programs from the content angle does not focus on the needs of the student. When subject matter experts concentrate on the content and not the student they fail to understand the philosophy of how people learn and gain knowledge. In addition, to content based instruction there is the problem of a need for instructions. Subject matter experts will discover a technical problem, immediately believe a lack of training is the root cause. The training program may eliminate the underling symptoms but dot the root cause of a problem. Instructional designers perform a needs analysis to determine the appropriate course of action.

Instructional systems designers approach training from a different perspective. After needs analyses determines training can resolve technical problems, objectives, and detail task analyses are created to assist in the transformation. Instructional designers create program evaluations or test based on the desired learning outcome (Gronlund, 1998). Gronlund (1998) also stated the learning outcome is based on the task analysis, which references learning domains. SME create test to measure the ability of the student to grasp the information. The major differences between the two, the assessment developed by SME’s are designed to measure only the content of the training program. The assessments developed by the ID measure the students’ ability based on the objectives and the task analysis.

The positive side of the instructional design process is focusing on achieving measurable goals that increase knowledge and awareness. Programs are designed for knowledge levels to increase or decrease based on the audience. The detailed task analysis associated with a training program provides a guide to determine the correct sequence of events to achieve specific learning objectives within each task. If a student’s knowledge is not increased, ID can use the task analysis to determine if any steps where missed in the training program. They also can determine if the instructions were vague and finally if the tools and materials required were available to the student to complete the task. Each detail associated with the training program is written in a format designed to increase the knowledge level of the student and meet all the objectives set forth in the training plan. The only negative aspect of a systematic approach is it is time consuming. The return on investment in the approach may not yield the results needed to justify the cost and time related to the process.

Gronlund, N.E. (1998). Assessment of student achievement (6th ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Viacom

Morrison, G. R., Ross, S. M., Kalman, H. K., & Kemp, J. E. (2011). Designing effective instruction (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc

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