Instructional Design Models in the 21st Century: A Review

Dick & Carey, Kemp, Gagne’s and many other instructional design models originated from the ‘basic’ instructional design pattern of ADDIE. These instructional design models over time came to provide components, named differently or in some cases many steps of one model is combined together into one step of another model.

However in doing so, they are all trying to design, develop and implement an effective instructional design model. But these traditional instructional design models hold a world view which is objective in nature and holds the assumption that the purpose of instruction is to transfer information and knowledge to the learners. The instructional design models are designed in a top-down, linear/non-linear, systematic, iterative and objective in manner. Such models tends to be cumbersome for real-life situations as learning is not always straight forward and cannot be defined objectively.

Most of these instructional design models were developed for a ‘classroom setting’ wherein the models prescribe methods in a  rigid manner for all the different context keeping in mind the assumption that all the learners learn in the same way and/or keep the same approach to learning in a classroom environment. Most of the instructional design models over time have constantly been criticized for being focused on the process rather than the actual people involved in the learning process.  The approach provided by these ID models towards pedagogy, structure of the knowledge domains are not flexible and adaptable. Under such criticism, instructional design model need to move from adopting a standard approach to developing models that could be customized to the 21st century needs of each learner and thereby creating a much better learning experience both in classroom and online. 

With the infusion of technology into the Learning Environment, wherein the concept of ‘anytime, anywhere, anyplace’ learning is underpinned, there could be a need to re-conceptualize the existing classroom settings. The emphasis of these classrooms should be more on learning rather than the instruction of delivery. With these in mind the strategy for selection of learning materials, mode of delivery and instruction cannot be pre-determined by the instructional designers as these strategies tend to evolve as the learning process evolves over time. Today the traditional way of learning does not necessarily happen only in environments which are authentic. But the basic competencies needed for higher order skills like analysis, evaluation, problem solving etc remains important in any environment. Hence traditional ID models will have to be re-modeled and re-designed to deliver instructions to students/learners in the information age today.

Alternative models needs to be designed to support active, experiential and collaborative learning one of the reason for this is today’s learners are much more pro-active in gaining and re-producing information.  Learners today have to be prepared for diverse and complex real life situations apart from learning, competencies should also be developed. As a result Instructional Design models needs to be moved in the direction of being flexible, customized and empowering learners if it is to allow Instructional Design models to keep up with the technological changes. Especially during the times when Instructional approaches are becoming more learner centered than process centered.

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About the Author
Author: Uday NairWebsite: http://www.pretsels.co.uk
Consultant with over 15 years of experience in the field of 'Business Analysis', 'Strategic Growth', 'Training and Coaching', 'e-Learning', 'Data Analytics', ' Research and Development of Ubiquitous Technologies', ' Project Management', 'Social Entrepreneurship' and 'Innovation'. Worked across UK, India, Europe and the Middle East.

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