Flipped Through Design

What is Instructional Design?

One of the ways that education is adapting to new educational trends, such as the “Flipped Classroom” is through Instructional Design (ID). Instructional Design is the systematic design of the instructional experience. It can be detailed and rigorous, but it can also be flexible to meet specific needs of an individual educational environment. The goal of instructional design is to make learning as accessible as possible for the learner. The core of the instructional design process is the learning objective. This learning objective is the desired outcome for the learner. The instructional design process ascertains how to best create and lay out activities for the learner to meet the desired learning objective.

The practice of designing instruction through Instructional Design is an old concept, but modern day Instructional Design began during World War II. During World War II, United States military “…psychologists used their knowledge of evaluation and testing to help assess the skills of trainees and select the individuals who were most likely to benefit from particular training programs” (Reiser, 2001). Although at its baseline, this evaluation put forth the objective of ascertaining the best position for the recruits and developed instruction to help meet this objective.

In recent years, Instructional Design has become mainstream as traditional methods of instruction have been put under scrutiny. For years it was normal and accepted that students would come into the classroom and receive content instruction from the instructor. Students would then take this knowledge and apply the principles on their own time through homework. These general principles of instruction have been challenged with the advent of the digital age and access to content anywhere and at any time. The “Flipped Classroom” is a perfect example of this change.

Furthermore, the role of the teacher is changing. Reigeluth points out that, “The teacher’s role has changed dramatically in the new paradigm of instruction from the ‘sage on the stage’ to the ‘guide on the side’” (Reigeluth, 2012). The idea of “sage on the stage” speaks to the old standard in education. The “sage” or instructor would literally be on stage at the front of the classroom and distribute content to student. The change however does not stop with the instructor; the student role has changed as well. Reigeluth goes on to say that, “…learning is an active process. The student must exert effort to learn. The teacher cannot do it for the student” (Reigeluth, 2012). In modern day education the student is expected to take more responsibility in their learning and the instructor is expected to help facilitate this learning. This change has resulted in instructors questioning their instructional methods, and the role and presence of Instructional Designers throughout education has increased.

With the advent of new technology flowing into the education sector it can be tempting to move towards a new tool or method because it is the new fad; however, this must be avoided. New technology, tools, and methods should only be used if they enhance instruction. The incorporation of a new technology or method of instruction can actually be harmful to student instruction if the purpose of the new technology or method is to be “cool.” Design needs to start with a systematic process to help guide development.

The ADDIE Model of design is used throughout education to help guide the design process, “Although more than 100 ID models exist, almost all are based on the generic “ADDIE” model, which stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation” (University Information Technology, 2013). ADDIE provides a framework to guide all types of design projects.

Analysis is one of the most important parts of the design process. Before any development can take place it is crucial that the course be analyzed and its goals and objectives be created. Many courses in higher education are designed on a week to week basis by educators. Educators wait to see what was covered before designing the lesson for the next class. Although this method of design seems reasonable, it can become confusing for the learner to not have a definite timeline for their learning. A course that is designed with the goals and objectives first ensures that learners have a straight path to reach their goals.

The ADDIE Analysis Phase

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a tool that Instructional Designers use in conjunction with educators to design learning objectives. “In 1956, Benjamin Bloom headed a group of educational psychologists who developed a classification of levels of intellectual behavior important in learning” (Overbaugh &Schultz, 2013). This original classification has since been updated, but the baseline is the same. By using the different levels of Bloom’s and the associated action words, objectives can be defined specifically for the desired learning level. The baseline level of remembering can create a baseline objective for a learner, such as “Students will be able to define Bloom’s Taxonomy.” In the Design phase of ADDIE, the preliminary planning has taken place and now it is time to design the course. Designing the course encompasses determining which activities, assessments, and content need to be delivered throughout the course. In addition to content selection, it must also be determined when they should be delivered so that the learners meet the desired learning objectives. All of the content and activities can then be “chunked” into learning modules that can be used to sequence the content. The practice of “chunking” content into small segments makes the content more manageable and accessible to the learner. As Evmenova and Behrmann point out in their research surrounding “chunking” of video content, “The presentation of content in smaller segments allow students especially those with intellectual disabilities to better focus on the video content and do not seem to overload the cognitive comprehension and retention processes” (Evmenova & Behrmann, 2011). Course assessments should also be created during this phase. It is common practice to develop assessments at the end of a course, however by developing initially around the course learning objectives this ensures that the assessment is designed to cover exactly what the students need to know by the end of the course. This is called backward course design.

The ADDIE Design Phase

The Develop phase of ADDIE takes all of the planning and puts it into practice through the gathering and creation of all of the course materials. Many educators will already have course materials developed, however new courses may require new learning objects. Once created and gathered, all of the course content can be prepared for the learning modules that were sequenced during the Design phase.

The ADDIE Develop Phase

The Implementation phase is the stage of ADDIE that most educators are familiar with in the classroom. During this phase the course is delivered. This is where all of the hard development work pays off as the course materials and schedule have already been designed. The main obstacle during this phase is ensuring that the learners do not have any obstacles to their learning, including technological or physical barriers.

The ADDIE Implementation Phase

The last phase of ADDIE is the Evaluation phase. This phase is meant to not only evaluate the students’ learning, but also the instruction and course itself. Formative evaluation takes place throughout the Implementation phase. This type of evaluation encompasses all of the formal and informal evaluations that have taken place so far in the course. Formal evaluation may take the form of module quizzes and informal evaluation may take the form of participation in class discussions.

The ADDIE Evaluation Phase

Throughout the course formative assessment data can be gathered on the student learning levels, but also on how well the learners responded to the instruction and the delivery of the content.

Summative evaluation must also take place. This type of assessment ascertains if the students have met the learning objectives for the course as a whole and how well the course delivered the content. This commonly takes the form of a final exam. The data gathered by the final exam can show how well the students met the learning objectives for the course. Beyond this final exam, a final survey where students can voice their opinions of the course itself is a valuable tool. It should be the goal of the course to have students meet the learning objectives and for students to feel comfortable in the environment where the learning took place.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Flipped Through Design Copyright © by Jacob Bane is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.