Instructional Design Course

The application of a success-based approach in instructional design training

Early on in your instructional design course or programme, the agenda might have a topic on the different approaches to and methods for instructional design.

Historically, three instructional design approaches have been used. The instructors usually present them as very distinct and they have little common ground. The following is a brief summary of these approaches:

1. Cognitivism

The cognitive view models and analyzes mental structures of the world in order to help in explaining human behavior. Cognitivists have a belief that you learn better when instructors structure new knowledge well and in context. In addition, they suggest that you can recall newly learned information and knowledge with a lot of ease if instructors can link it with something that you already understand. Finally, they have a belief that motivation, attention, and perception are very important factors in successful learning.

2. Behaviorism

The behaviorist view is very simple: instructors can teach effectively by having you practice and rewarding you positively when you answer correctly. The development of the behaviorist theory took place in the 20th century and this theory was actually the first modern one when it comes to learning.

Many people considered alternative theories more forward thinking and modern as they developed. Behaviorism earned a bad reputation and many people associated it with dry and boring learning.

3. Constructivism

The constructivist view (as its name suggests) that you learn better by doing things for yourself by constructing your own view of the world. Since instructors anchor knowledge in the context of the learning activity, the construction can only take place due to the activity because constructivists have a belief that knowledge is not transmitted and instead it is constructed. Interestingly, though, you realize that the two overlap when you examine both approaches in detail.

For starters, all the aforementioned approaches have a common purpose: helping learners to learn more effectively by looking for ways of engaging them. They also have many other characteristics in common. Each of the three theories accepts that practice is very important for successful learning. None of them discourages the positive rewarding or reinforcement of learners for answering correctly.

Both constructivists and cognitivists have a belief that context has a significant effect on the effectiveness of learning. They both have a belief that the way you construct or model your understanding of things is unique.

Hence, it would better for you to apply a success-based approach in your instructional design training, which incorporates elements of each of these theories, instead of considering a particular theory the only or best way of applying instruction design. This way, you can give the success and needs of your learner top priority in everything that you do and apply various methods from each of the theories and the time that they are suitable for the specific needs of the learner instead of obsessing about the effectiveness of a certain approach or theory.

The creation of learning is all about the achievement of successful outcomes for all your learners. You will definitely achieve better results for your learners when you use a mix, pick, and pragmatic approach in the application of instructional design instead of applying a single one.