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Instructional models can vary widely. While some may focus on how to make the lesson plans and others focus on the delivery of the content itself, the Dick and Carey instructional design model (also known as the Systems Approach Model) is one of the former. Despite the seemingly complicated diagrams that pop up when searching for an image (see below), the steps are often only connected as far as what they do to help you figure out what to teach and how to teach it. All ten steps are connected, and some influence others indirectly while they may influence others directly.
Stage 1. Instructional Goals
The first step is to figure out the instructional goals. This means that you are able to, or will be able to, identify what it is the students need to learn. For example, if you were teaching a course on American history, you probably wouldn’t teach a lesson on Guy Fawkes and his gunpowder plot from 1605. However, if you were teaching a class on English history, there would indeed have to be a lesson on the gunpowder plot. It all depends on what kind of material your overarching theme is covering.
Stage 2. Instructional Analysis
Instructional analysis is the second step. This means you are determining the skills that your students will need to learn what you plan to teach them. Returning to the Guy Fawkes situation, some may need to have a love of history instilled in them before they are willing to sit down and listen to the lesson. Others may simply need to be able to work on the lesson material at their own pace. Will they need to know some background about the story? Or will you be teaching an introduction to the gunpowder plot and therefore giving that introductory lesson? Note that if you are teaching on the gunpowder plot, you have to take into account what they may or may not have already learned.
Stage 3. Entry Behaviors and Learner Characteristics
Next you have to assess which skills the students have out of those that you previously determined are needed for this lesson. For the Guy Fawkes example, if you determine that they should be able to remember the date he was caught – November 5, 1605 – and someone is not good with remembering dates, you may have to help them with it. Are they able to sit still long enough? Or do they have trouble talking? These skills will be crucial to the lesson’s success with each student.
Stage 4. Performance Objectives
Next, you must figure out specific goals and objectives for the lesson. This is the equivalent of the SWBAT – or Student Will Be Able To – that many American classrooms must have as of this writing. These objectives must be detailed – such as “the student will be able to identify the gunpowder plot’s purpose”. Details will help you make sure you are teaching your students what matters most from the lesson, such as the gunpowder plot was meant to blow up Parliament.
Notice that you have not gotten to actually teaching, and these are the first four steps. Teaching begins at step eight, but this only gives a general outline for a suggestion on how to make the teaching effective.
Stage 5. Criterion-Referenced Test Items
The fifth thing you must do is to create a test (consistent with the performance objectives) that will reflect what you’re hoping to teach the students. Referring back to notes you have made will help you figure out what to test. These are meant to help the students understand what they have or have not mastered yet, and are a checkpoint for the parents or administrators. For example, again referring to a lesson on Guy Fawkes, you could ask questions about his part in the plot, how he was caught, who was involved, and maybe what the plot was meant to do. If you had watched videos and had them take notes, the information you hoped they’d gather from the videos could also be on the test.
Stage 6. Instructional Strategy
Sixth, you begin to outline your lesson plan. This means that you will be able to demonstrate what you want them to learn, add activities, and decide how each segment will be done. If you want to have group activities, now is the time to decide when and what materials will be covered by the activity. Referring back to Guy Fawkes, a group activity could mean each group tries to use what they know to create a presentation for the class as a pre-test activity.
Stage 7. Instructional Materials
Seventh, you make sure you have what you need ready for the lesson. If you have something you already know will work, use it. This could mean bringing in a barrel like the ones used in Guy Fawkes’ plot, or bringing in a scale model of the Parliament building that would have been blown up. A map of London at the time is also good. However, it doesn’t extend to only objects for the lesson. If you’re giving a test, make sure you have all the tests printed and ready to go.
Stage 8. Formative Evaluation
Next, you would have to evaluate how the lesson went. Were there some students who weren’t too thrilled with the group work? Did your groups not work well? Did some students sit back while others did all the work, expecting to ride along for a good grade? You could use this time to go for a field trip or to work in smaller groups. You could even do one on one if you have a small enough group.
Stage 9. Summative Evaluation
Ninth, you revise. If all you do is teach a class on the gunpowder plot, you have a good opportunity to revise the class. There will always be a grumbler or two, but if it works out well a majority of the time, it’d be worth keeping. If there’s one activity that no class has ever liked, it would be worth cutting it out and replacing it with something else. This step is all about making sure that when you restart the teaching process, it’ll work out.
Finally, you simply look back at your entire experience using the model. Did it work out for you? Did you create a better lesson plan than you had before? Or did it work against you? Did you find yourself spending too much time on one area?
Before completely beating yourself up over not spending time on one area, if you already know the answer for one area, it makes your job easier. It means you can more easily do the rest of the process – which simply shows how they are all connected, whether directly or indirectly. That right there is part of why it is considered a good model of learning.