Stacy Phelps

LT 716 Article Review

Instructional Systems Design: What itŐs all about By: Curtis L. Broderick


The author defined Instructional Systems Design (ISD) as a research based methodological approach that brings the learner from a state of not being able to perform a certain task or skill, to that state of being able to perform it. A vital issue in ISD is to take the learner and give them skills or abilities that they previously did not have. 


The author writes his article based on a textbook publish by Walter Dick and Lou Carey in the 70Ős and states that ISD is a synthesis of research in learning, formulated into a methodology for creating instruction.  The methodology of instructional design is to start from the desired goal or outcome and work backward and fill in the steps as they are needed.  The viewpoint that may assist a designer is to think of the instructional content as the end product and not as the starting point.  It should be stated clearly to new designers that ISD requires a high level of rigor and is time intensive. 


It is through this model of development that the author outlined 10 steps that are used in the instructional design process:


  1. Write the instructional goal(s). This is an overall statement of what we expect the learners to know at the conclusion of the instruction.
  2. Goal Statement analysis: Here we classify the instructional goal as verbal skills (recalling factual information), intellectual skills (calculating equations, etc), a psychomotor skill (operating a train), or an attitudinal goal (making ideal or proper choices).  This is necessary in order to define strategies for design.
  3. Subordinate skills analysis: In this step the designer dissects and breaks down the primary steps into sub skills.  Ideally we complete this as a backwards process with the goal of getting to a very basic set of skills.
  4. Identify behaviors and characteristics: It is important to identify the learnerŐs entry behavior. The designer will need to ensure that the learners are ready for instruction by identifying the learnerŐs present skills and those that are necessary for instruction.
  5. Write Performance Goals: Examine each sub skill needed for the instructional analysis diagram and write a clear and precise statement about what behavior the learner exhibits under certain conditions and based on what criterion that successful learning will be determined.
  6. Develop criterion-referenced test items: Using the criterion created for each performance objective the designer will develop a set of questions that will demonstrate whether or not the learner can perform the skill.
  7. Develop instruction strategy: Here creativity should run loose and an instructional strategy should be created through the following five major components: pre-instructional activities, information presentation, student participation, testing, and follow-through.  Important questions about how you will implement your learning plan.
  8. Develop instructional materials: Develop or program the materials.  Development should include a student manual, the instruction, tests and an instructorŐs manual.  Selection regarding multimedia should be made based on learner and designerŐs skill and the media type availability.
  9. Conducting formative evaluation: Formative evaluation is used to assist the designer with refining the instruction.  This should be completed in a three-step process.  The first formative evaluation attempt on the instruction and materials should be made with a small number of students, the second try with a few more students and then third time with a larger number of students.
  10. Revise instruction accordingly: Refinement of the instruction and/or procedures should occur after each of the evaluative instructional steps with the three different groups.


Instructional Systems Design is a process of creating researched based, empirically testing instruction. The designer needs to allow for deviation from the steps so that creativity can be expressed in an effort to draw the learner into the material.  The analysis the author uses is very appropriate in terms summarizing the entire process in reference to instruction. 


ŇWhether or not the instruction is truly effective, interesting, and engaging, depends on your ability to put on the scientistŐs lab coat when analyzing the instructional goal, and putting on the artistŐs smock when creating engaging and enjoyable ways to present the information to the learner and provide them with meaningful practice and feedback.Ó