I wholeheartedly support Barbara Bichelmeyer
in her attempts to raise greater awareness of the difference between matters
relating to instruction and matters relating to the ISD process. However,
I am concerned that the waters of our field may have become a bit muddier,
rather than clearer.
The distinction she is making is one that was clearly made in both
of my “Green
Books.” It is inaccurate to say that those books are examples of the
confusion between the nature of instruction and the nature of the ISD process.
I believe that the true confusion is found in the terms used by professionals
in our field. The ISD process is typically viewed as composed of analysis,
design, development, implementation, and evaluation (ADDIE). There is pretty
on the meanings of those five terms. The problem comes in the term we use
to refer to the whole process. Those at Florida State usually refer to
it as the “Instructional
Systems Design” process (see for example the Dick and Carey textbook),
whereas most others tend to refer to it as the “Instructional Systems Development” (or
just “instructional development”) process.
Aside from the lack of agreement on these terms, there is the problem
that both alternatives duplicate terms used for two of the parts
of the whole
process. Therefore, when someone uses the term “instructional design” or “instructional
development,” it is difficult to know whether they are referring to the
part of the process or the whole process. It is precisely this problem that
I attempted to address in chapter 1 of Volume I.
I imagine that many readers would feel comfortable substituting “development” for “design” and “developer” for “designer” in
Barbara’s piece. Doing so would immediately clear up much of the confusion
I propose that our field needs to clearly identify the concepts that
are most useful to researchers and practitioners, and then agree
on the terms
use to label those concepts. I propose that we use “ISD process” rather
than “instructional design” or “instructional development,” because
unlike the latter two terms, it is unambiguous. In this way, we can reserve the
terms “design” and “development” for the respective parts
of the ISD process. Using my proposed terms, Barbara’s message is that
we need to understand the difference between instructional design knowledge
(what the instruction should be like) and ISD knowledge (what the ISD process
be like). I agree that that message is of great importance to our field.
However, I don’t think the “design” phase of the ISD process
should rely solely on instructional-design theory (what the instruction should
be like). There is also need for guidance (design theory) on how to apply an
instructional-design theory to a particular context (e.g., course), and this
requires analysis activities as well as design activities. Therefore, it would
be a mistake to think of our field strictly in terms of the ISD process and
its parts. Barbara points out that we need (1) a knowledge base (aka design
about what instruction should be like and (2) one about what the process for
creating instruction should be like, but we also need (3) a knowledge base
about how to evaluate existing instruction (independent of the ISD process)
(4) one about how to manage instruction (unless you view that as part of #1).
These are all different but highly interdependent knowledge bases, and until
we recognize that they are different and that they are all important, we will
be gripped by the kind of confusion of which Barbara writes.