Developing Prescriptive Taxonomies for Distance Learing Instructional Design

Developing Prescriptive Taxonomies for Distance Learing Instructional Design

Vincent Elliott Lasnik (Independent Information Architect, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-503-2.ch205
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Abstract

One of the central problems and corresponding challenges facing the multidisciplinary fields of distance learning and instructional design has been in the construction of theory-grounded, research-based taxonomies for prescribing what particular strategies and approaches should be employed when, how, and in what combination to be most effective and efficient for teaching specific knowledge domains and performance outcomes. While numerous scholars and practioners across a wide range of associated instructional design fields have created a rich variety of effective, efficient, and very current prescriptions for obtaining specific learning outcomes in specific situations (Anderson & Elloumi, 2004; Marzano, 2000; Merrill, 2002a; Nelson & Stolterman, 2003; Reigeluth, 1999a; Shedroff, 1999; Wiley, 2002), to date, no single theory-grounded and research-verified unifying taxonomic scheme has successfully emerged to address all existing and potential educational problems across the phenomena of human learning and performance.
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Introduction

There are simple answers to all complex problems… and they are uniformly wrong. -- H.L. Mencken

One of the central problems and corresponding challenges facing the multidisciplinary fields of distance learning and instructional design has been in the construction of theory-grounded, research-based taxonomies for prescribing what particular strategies and approaches should be employed when, how, and in what combination to be most effective and efficient for teaching specific knowledge domains and performance outcomes. While numerous scholars and practioners across a wide range of associated instructional design fields have created a rich variety of effective, efficient, and very current prescriptions for obtaining specific learning outcomes in specific situations (Anderson & Elloumi, 2004; Marzano, 2000; Merrill, 2002a; Nelson & Stolterman, 2003; Reigeluth, 1999a; Shedroff, 1999; Wiley, 2002), to date, no single theory-grounded and research-verified unifying taxonomic scheme has successfully emerged to address all existing and potential educational problems across the phenomena of human learning and performance.

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Main Focus: Instructional Taxonomies - What They Are And Why They Matter

In his hallmark narrative work on the complexities of successfully building a learning environment, media pioneer Edgar Dale identified important considerations for the development of any prescriptive taxonomy for instruction, as well as this encyclopedia broadly conceived:

Indeed product and process must not be separated, any more than we would separate form and content…A major issue in all learning deals with the processes by which learning experiences become structured, organized, mapped, patterned, clustered, and systemized. We group experiences, using some kind of framework, paradigm…schema, summary, matrix, model, unit, brief, diagram, category, concept, hierarchy, grid, or outline. We use hierarchies, superordination and subordination…All these terms indicate a linking, a relating of experience on the basis of their differences and likenesses. Process and product, form and content become fused, structured. (pp. 82-83)

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