One of the trends in the learning industry is proclaiming that a new Instructional Design (ID) model, such as rapid development prototyping, needs to replace Instructional System Design (ISD) because the new model provides more benefits, such as it's newer, dynamic, and faster. Yet ID models differ from ISD models, thus its sort of like saying that a new boat model is going to replace the automobile—yes they are both transportation devices but they do differ in their uses!
ID (Instruction Design) models differ from ISD models in that ISD models have a broad scope and typically divide the instruction design process into five phases (van Merriënboer, 1997):
- Design (sometimes combined with Development)
- Implementation or Delivery
Since ISD models cover a broad spectrum they normally do not go into much detail in the design phase. This is where ID models excel. Since they are less broad in nature and mostly focus on design, they normally go into much more detail for the design phase.
ISD can be thought more of as a project management tool while ID models are specialized tools used to enhance the learning process.
Omitting ISD and relying strictly on an ID model often omits critical parts of the design process, such as analysis and evaluation. Thus, unless you design for certain groups in an organization or industry in which you know your learners, analysis is important to determine the skill level that the learning program is aimed at. In addition, managers will often identify any performance problem as a training problem, thus the designer needs to ensure it is indeed a training problem rather than a bad process or motivation problem.
Evaluation is not only important to determine if the program is meeting the needs of the organization, but also as a learning tool for the designers themselves.
The best way to use ID models is to plug them into the ISD model as they are needed. For example:
This method allows you to gain the benefit of the ID model that will best suit your needs for enhancing your learning program, while ensuring that your learning program will do what it is supposed to do.
van Merriënboer, J. J. G. (1997). Training Complex Cognitive Skills: A Four-Component Instructional Design Model for Technical Training. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Educational Technology Publications.