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.

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Why design?

The most interesting activities as an educational advisor was to work in project in which a complete new curriculum has te be developed. Or a taskforce in which we had to formulate a set of quality criteria to be realized. Ans of course also when I have to develop a new course to be organized for university teachers. Continue reading “Why design?”

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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?”

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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”

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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”

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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)

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8. Design and detailing (the final manisfestation)

  1. To transform the concept into a final manifestation you need design skills and engineering skills.
  2. Vision remains the driver for every decision in the step.
  3. key activity is to make the idea behind the concept tangible (tastbaar) and realistic.
  4. constraints must now be entirely taken into account.
  5. The beauty of the ViP approach:
      • Your vision determines the kind of technology needed (if not existing innovation is needed).
      • it helps to understand what is conditional and optional.
  6. There is no ideal solution. Because of all your activities you can easily adapt if the requirements are changing.
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7. Concept design or ‘concepting’. (transition from prodcut qualities tom product features)

  1. qualities needs to  be conveyed (uitdrukken). In this step a transition is made from qualitative characteristics to some thing that has features and properties.
    Concepting = a translation of your vision (statement, interaction and product qualities) into a manifestation, a combination of features that literally can be perceived, used and experienced. Only in his concept step do you decide what the final solution should be.
  2. You need to conceive  a concept idea that matches your vision. In creating your vision (and all the other efforts) you have established solid ground for idea-generation and evaluation.
  3. There are various methods to help you understand how to produce a concept that gives expression to the product qualities.
    • your subconscious is doing the work. This only works if you have prepared your brain for it and have carefully considered all the ins and outs of your vision.
    • think in analogies
    • make an illustration
  4. Formulate direct the product concept or combine the features in the product concept. (design all kind of features that gives expression to the desired product in the specific domain (lead you to determine what main components are needed. ViP helps you to get rid of biased ideas about product categories.
  5. Example NS sell goods on the platform: comforting role-emphasizing conditionality (interaction), self-evident, provocative, professional, worry free, affectionate (product qualities). Concept idea: Typecasting coach.
  6. You can design first parts of the final product.
  7. Concepting is about creating a synthesis between (vision-driven) features and the (outside world) constraints to for a coherent and realistic product.
  8. To evaluate if your concept is the ‘right’ one, you can ask the following questions:
      • Does it fit with all elements of your vision?
      • Is it the most effective concept (in relation to the statement) with the ‘minimum of means’ features applied? (This aesthetic principle is very  useful in concepting.
      • Does the concept ‘make sense’? Is it acceptable (or even desirable) to people.
  9. Keep the context and the statement/vision fresh in people’s mind.
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6. Defining product qualities (if the product have these qualities the user will interact and uses the product)

  1. Qualities will be part of the vision.
  2. The focus in this step is to get a better understanding of the product at a qualitative level and still does not address any features or properties of a future product. These qualities should be different from the results of de destruction phase. If not there is nu need of a new product.
  3. If the product has specific qualities, he user of the product will experience/use the product (i.e. interact with the product).
  4. Products not onlu inite people to interactwith them, they can als indicate how they ‘want’  to be used in a qualitative way.
  5. Types of qualities: product character or personality (a metaphor might help to formulate the qualities), which actions/movements evoke by the product (action related meaning).
  6. always do an originality test (if the context and interaction are original, then the product qualities are also original too.
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