An Ontological Approach to Online Instructional Design

An Ontological Approach to Online Instructional Design

Robert Z. Zheng (University of Utah, USA) and Laura B. Dahl (University of Utah, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-503-2.ch716


This chapter introduces the ontological instructional design as an alternative to the traditional instructional design in teaching and learning. By comparing the differences between traditional instructional design and e-Learning, the authors suggest that instructional design in e-Learning require a different model than the existing traditional models due to the idiosyncratic nature of e-Learning in terms of population, environment, and resources. An ontological instructional design model is proposed with a focus on the sharability, reusability and interoperability of ontological entities and design components within the ontological entities, which provides a holistic approach to online instructional design compared to the segmented, linear design approach in traditional instructional design models. A case study is included to illustrate the use and application of the ontological instructional design model in an online business course. Finally, guidelines for implementing the model are made with suggestions for future research.
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Issues Of Applying Traditional Instructional Design Models To Online Learning

Studies over the last decade have focused on the issues related to the applicability of traditional instructional design models to e-Learning (Akbulut, 2007; Rutherford & Kerr, 2008). Research in this field has so far produced mixed results. Some believe that traditional instructional design models can be universally applied to any instruction, online or offline (Anglada, 2008; Bi, 2000). Others argue that traditional instructional design models may not fit e-Learning due to their rigidity and lack of flexibility in design (DeSchryver & Spiro, 2008; Gunawardena, Ortegano-Layne, & Carabajal, 2006; Koh & Branch, 2004). Crawford (2004) explored online learning and traditional instructional design and found that there were apparent discrepancies between the two models. According to Crawford, the e-Learning model allows for exploratory, constructivist concept building whereas the traditional instructional design model is procedure-centric which allows little room for creative learning. Consistent with Crawford’s finding, Barron, Orwig, Ivers, and Lilavois (2002) found mismatches between traditional design models and e-Learning models in terms of individualized learning, collaboration, instructional delivery, and instructional design.

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