A Scenario-Based Instructional Design Model

A Scenario-Based Instructional Design Model

Neal Shambaugh (West Virginia University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch269
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Abstract

Instructional design models address important issues of learning, content, and context during the development of instruction. The prescriptive premise behind instructional design is that if an instructional design is followed, the learning outcomes identified in the design will occur. As one evaluates the extent to which learners achieve learning outcomes, changes in the instructional design may be warranted. Documenting these changes provides designers and users of the model with feedback on its efficiency and effectiveness. Despite these attributes, the merits of instructional design have not been achieved in some settings, and some users, including teachers and product developers, are looking elsewhere for instructional development guidance. But should they? The premise of this chapter is to propose a scenario-based ID model that addresses a major shortcoming of instructional design?namely, the gap between formative design decisions and design review. Scenarios are used to keep people designing, reflecting, and re-designing.
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Introduction

Instructional design models address important issues of learning, content, and context during the development of instruction. The prescriptive premise behind instructional design is that if an instructional design is followed, the learning outcomes identified in the design will occur. As one evaluates the extent to which learners achieve learning outcomes, changes in the instructional design may be warranted. Documenting these changes provides designers and users of the model with feedback on its efficiency and effectiveness. Despite these attributes, the merits of instructional design have not been achieved in some settings, and some users, including teachers and product developers, are looking elsewhere for instructional development guidance. But should they? The premise of this chapter is to propose a scenario-based ID model that addresses a major shortcoming of instructional design—namely, the gap between formative design decisions and design review. Scenarios are used to keep people designing, reflecting, and re-designing.

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Background

Instructional design has been criticized as being too prescriptive, taking too long to use, and not being appropriate to specific design tasks. Early generations of ID models attempted to depict one approach to address all instructional problems (see Tennyson, 1995, for a generational history). Some of these linear, step-by-step cycles and flow charts helped to understand the ID process and were suitable for teaching instructional design (Dick, Carey, & Carey, 2005; Morrison, Ross, & Kemp, 2004), while others provided procedural guidance to instructional development (Gagné, Briggs, & Wager, 1992; Tripp & Bichelmeyer, 1990; U.S. Air Force, 1999). Some models were aimed at teachers, particularly providing procedures to develop instructional materials (Gerlach & Ely, 1980; Heinich, Molenda, Russell, & Smaldino, 2001). More recent approaches (Tennyson, 1997) have attempted to model the complexity of instructional development using a more iterative, nonlinear approach.

All of these approaches present a challenge to instructors of ID. Visiting each phase of ID in a linear fashion appears appropriate for novices in a course setting. However, students come to view ID as a linear activity, which starts and ends. ID is depicted as a process that begins with an instructional problem and action is taken to solve the problem. The intensity of the problem is lessened; consequently, there is less action to solve the problem, but the problem remains (Fritz, 1989). A circular representation (Morrison, Ross, & Kemp, 2004) helps to alleviate this linear process, but newcomers ask: “Where does one start?” The circular view is more akin to artists who imagine possibilities; imaginations are brought into reality, inducing the next creation. In the top-down view, the process ends, while in the creating view the process continues. Sustaining the process, whether creating or designing, appears valuable.

Carroll, Kellogg, and Rosson (1991) depict a circular task-artifact cycle in software development in which tasks suggest requirements for new artifacts. Designed artifacts then suggest new possibilities and redefined tasks. The main feature here is that human activity drives the process. However, an underlying issue is that design decisions have consequences. How much time and resources should be committed to a decision? With a decision, one commits resources and is likely to remain committed to this option. The challenge is not to shut down the consideration of possibilities prematurely and deny candidate approaches a fair appraisal. One representation of instructional design borrowed from computer programming is rapid prototyping. Design an early version with just enough resources, then test the initial version with users, and revise based on user performance and suggestions. Rapid prototyping, however, requires a good “first guess,” as one commits to a choice and subsequent investment of resources. The result is not an iterative process but more of a spiraling-down process.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Task-Artifact Cycle: A pattern of activity, described by Carroll (2000), in which tasks depict requirements for designed artifacts, which in turn suggest possibilities and limitations for redefined tasks

Instructional Design: A systematic process for responding to instructional problems, needs, and opportunities

Scenarios: Developed options for action used to consider the implications of one or more choices.

Instructional Design Models: Representations of how instructional design is conducted or how the analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation of an instructional design is conceptualized

Scenario Descriptions: Written narratives of how one or more instructional designers envision an intended response to an instructional problem, need, or opportunity

Scenario-Based Instructional Design: An iterative approach to instructional design where one’s envisioned and designed intent is continually critiqued. Opportunities and constraints are considered in revised and detailed versions of the scenario. The goal is to couple design-and- reflect activity so that ongoing dialogue is maintained between the design team keeping the needs of the learner forefront in the instructional design.

Activity Theory: A system that connects contextual factors, such as individuals, groups, work settings, rules, and tools

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