Theories and Principles for E-Learning Practices with Instructional Design

Theories and Principles for E-Learning Practices with Instructional Design

Maria Ranieri (University of Florence, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-503-2.ch701
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Abstract

E-learning has become an area of increasing interest for academics, consultants, and practitioners. Notwithstanding, it seems that in current experiences the instructional dimension is often overlooked. Many elearning courses are content-oriented and the attention is often put on the technological dimension. We believe that a fruitful contribution in order to overcome the gap between technology and pedagogy and promote a more sensible instructional approach to e-learning, can be derived from instructional design (ID). ID is an ever growing field of research (Dijkstra, Seel, Schott, & Tennyson, 1997; Gagné & Briggs, 1990; Merrill, 2001; Reigeluth, 1989; Savery & Duffy, 1995; Wilson & Cole, 1991). Its results have a transversal value with respects to the specific delivery supports adopted in the learning environment. Whether we are dealing with online or face-to-face education, useful criteria from ID can be outlined for designing effective, efficient, and appealing learning experiences.
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Historical And Theoretical Background

The field of ID emerged more than 40 years ago as psychologists and educators searched for effective means of planning and implementing instructional systems. One of the most important work for the growth of this field was Robert Gagné’s The Conditions-of Learning (Gagné, 1965). According to the American psychologist, there are different levels of learning, each of which requires different types of instruction. He distinguished eight types of learning (from signal learning to problem solving) arranged in hierarchical order and proposed nine instructional events as conditions for learning. See Table 1.

Table 1.
Instructional eventsCognitive Process
Gaining attentionReception
Informing learners of the objectiveExpectancy
Stimulating recall of prior learningRetrieval
Presenting the stimulusSelective Perception
Providing learning guidanceSemantic Encoding
Eliciting performanceResponding
Providing feedbackReinforcement
Assessing performanceRetrieval
Enhancing retention and transferGeneralization

These events should provide the basis for designing instruction and selecting appropriate media.

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