1. introduction
  2. the teacher and educational development: how complex is the educational design task?

    The design task of the teacher can be focused on the introduction of some new elements in the existing course. The main problem is how can I design and introduce the new elements in my course in order to increase the quality of the course.
    Other options are that there is the important part of the course which has to be redesigned or maybe the didactical approach had to be changed. And the last option option that a teacher has to make a complete new course.
    The instructional design activities are increasingly more complex in this list of possible contexts.

  3. the final result of the instructional design process
    This is simple a well-functioning course for the students and the teachers. The question is however, what elements of the course is to be designed in order to achieve this result. From the learning theories some indications can be found what elements have to be designed carefully.
    1. why is an instructional design approach necessary? This is a crucial question. The answer can be found in the  in the technical design theories.

    Even in this exact science there are no clear answers. You’ve the analyse for yourself what are possible solution could be and select the best one. And evaluate the final results

    1. How to formulate the educational vision in the educational research and learning theories that are many evidences how you can organise your education. The main idea is that using all these possible evidences you select these evidence which fits your purpose the best. An overview can be given of eight design principles for modern higher education and possible celebrations of these design principles (components). Often this can be found in the didactical concept for the curriculum. The teacher should translate this didactical concept into a didactical concept for his course. This is a typical necessity in educational design and development: the design principles and components for four different courses will be different. The teacher has to make his own translation.
    2. meaningful learning and teaching activities from the instructional design theory some people has prepared some list of possible instructions, learning functions et cetera. There are also descriptions of possibilities to apply the possibilities of ICT in higher education. In the design process the teacher will select very carefully what they want is to use.
    3. learning theories and educational design in most cases in the description of instructional design theories for learning theories are mentioned and analysed.
    4. technical design theories| a clear description is prepared of the tactical design theories in such a way that is possible to find necessary design steps for instructional design and development.
    5. instructional design process in 10 steps a systematic description is given of the more analytical and more design focused activity in the instructional design the development process.

    Part two how to prepare the various elements of the design.

    1. How to find learning objectives and competences
    2. How to describe the design properly and clearly?


Why is and instructional design approach necessary?

The main reason is that there are no standard solutions in the field of education. The development of new education can be seen as an eclectic approach. This means the teacher or the designer has to formulate possible solutions and select the best.

In various instructional design models there is focus on design activities. However, it’s not quite clear how these activities can be executed. The models are straightforward procedures there is almost no place for design. This is strange because most people agree that many steps in the development of education has elements like design.

In the field of technology there’s much more clear reference to design activities. Therefore a very careful description is made of the available technical design theories and activities in such a way that the comparable activities and products in educational development can be identified. For example, also in some instructional design models there is the step in which the prototype of the new education is prepared. The question is how does this prototype look like.

The final result of the instructional design process

The result of the instructional design process is course in which the students study and the teachers are teaching. In the learning theories are course is considerate be the learning environment. In this learning environment, the teachers and the students are interacting in such a way that the main learning objectives of the course are mastered by the students. The crucial quality criteria for a learning environment are: effectiveness and efficiency are priorities for selecting instructional methods, student engagement and relevance of learning are key factors in designing instruction for the information age learners. Is the environment evidence-based?

The learning theories give clear indications what elements of the learning environment should be available:

  1. Description of the educational visionof the teacher.
  2. The content and in (coherent) sequence in which the content will be studied.
  3. The formal and informal assessment of the students.
  4. Meaningful learning and teaching activities.
  5. The division of power in the course between students and teachers.
  6. The learning objectives.

Besides, several questions as to be answered:

  • how to adapt with the entry levels of the students
  • how to explain difficult concepts, topics or procedures.
  • How to cope with the constructs in the context.

This all is based on the expected learning processes and the necessary learning experience in order to be able to master the learning objectives.

All these elements and questions should be given close attention in the instructional design process.

There are evidences which are presented by the research activities and evidences which are rooted in the experiences of the teachers. These evidences are in the following chapters used to answer the questions and elaborating the educational elements. This includes that the various concepts will be explained and described in more detail.

Why this website with tonys book?

In this website we present the book The art and craft of course design written by Tony Earl. `We` are some of the students who learned from him how to design a course in higher education.

Tony Earl has written his book 27 years ago. Why do we think it is meaningful to publish his book on Internet?
One of the reviewers of Tony’s book at  the time of publishing, gave this clear remark:


  • On course development  a  lot has already been  written. For example Reigeluth and other instructional experts have published some excellent and very useful books about Instructional Theory (1, 2). They describe in detail the principles you have to take into account if you want to use an educational method or to achieve certain types of learning objectives.
  • The principles are based on the available results of research, but these experts state explicitly that these principles are situation related. The application of a principle depends on the context. Following a principle is no guarantee for success. But how do you apply these principles in your situation? This is the area of instructional design theory. The main lines are described very well by Reigeluth and his colleagues but the details you need as an educational design practitioner are not available.
  • Tony Earl has developed and described his approach of educational design. Designing is described as a process of art and craftsmanship
  • Today, the need for effective, efficient, valued and well liked courses in higher education is growing. More students have to follow higher education in a shorter period and the use of ICT in education asks for well-designed courses. As far as we know another book on instructional design like the book of Tony Earl has  not been  published. We think that the design ideas of Tony Earl will help to realize courses of higher quality.  Therefore we like to publish The art and craft of course design again, but now on internet.

The book reflects what Tony Earl was able to do. So in the website you can read his story. You have to consider that he was a typical Englishman. With a lot of English humour. He is using this in his design approach. He forces you to think out of the box with the help of some crazy ideas like the think tank and the melody of a course. In his workshop and in his projects he succeeded in convincing 75% of the teachers of his ideas. We learned from him how to design a course in higher education but, honestly, to be able do what Tony himself did is for most people impossible. We cannot copy him, but he offers us some excellent ideas.

Continue reading “Why this website with tonys book?”

Course design is designing

In 1987 Tony Earls book The art and craft of course design was published. Why is it so interesting to refer to ideas from a book from twenty five years ago. Designing is described as a process of art and craftsmanship One of the reviewers of Tony’s book in that time, gave  this clear remark:
‘ You need skills like formulation of learning objectives, making a task analysis,  but also you should able to use your imagination and intuition. Especially this  focus on art is special and often missing in course design’. The reviewer continues with the remark that ‘the process, instruments and skills for the craftsmanship are reflecting the creativity and intuition are given a place in design’. Concepts like art, intuition and imagination are not often used in instructional science. But in design this concepts are very important.

Continue reading “Course design is designing”

Tonys book some remarks about design

Instructional design is a rather popular subject in the MOOC literature. Logically, because the quality of a MOOC-course is much more critical that face to face education. A teacher has all kind of possibilities to adapt his of her teaching to the teaching and learning situation in the student group. But even in F2F- education the importance of the quality of the learning environment is growing. A higher quality of the learning environment increase the possibility the improve study success. Quality of education is defined as education which is effective, efficient, well liked and valued. This means teachers have to design and develop a learning environment in their courses of high quality.

But what can we say about instructional design and development. Continue reading “Tonys book some remarks about design”

Coenen architect over design onderwijs

Ontwerpen draait niet louter om techniek, het is een kwestie van attitude. Als ontwerper moet je voortdurend afwegingen en keuzes maken. daar worstelt de elke student mee.

Op bepaalde cruciale beslismomenten in het ontwerpproces moet een student over een ravijn springen. En dan heb je een mentor noidig die dat process begrijpt  en zegt: je gaat niet vallen. Ik help je. Dat is de essentie van het Onderwijs, van didactiek.

(Uit Delft digital nr 1 maart 2015, jaargang 32, TUDelft)