History of Instructional Design


Ralph Tyler - father of the behavior objectives movement


Tyler wrote, "Each objective must be defined in terms which clarify the kind of behavior which the course should help to develop".

World War II - The origins of instructional design

1939 - 1945

During the war, a large number of psychologists and educators who had training and experience in conducting experimental research were called on to conduct research and develop training materials for the military services. These individuals, including Robert Gagne, Leslie Briggs, John Flanagan, and many others, exerted considerable influence on the characteristics of the training materials.

American Institutes for Research was established


During the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, psychologists started viewing training as a system, and developed a number of innovative analysis, design, and evaluation procedures including a detailed task analysis methodology developed by Robert B. Miler while he was working on projects for the military.

B.F. Skinner's article, "The Science of Learning and the Art of Teaching"


This article began what might be called a minor revolution in the field of education. In this article and later ones, Skinner described his idea regarding the requirements for increasing human learning and the desired characteristics of effective instructional materials. Skinner stated that such materials, called programmed instructional materials, should present instruction in small steps, require active responses to frequent questions, provide immediate feedback, and allow for learner self-pacing.

Taxonomy of Educational Objectives was published


Written by Benjamin Bloom, this book indicated that within the cognitive domain there were various types of learning outcomes, that objectives could be classified according to the type of learner behavior described therein, and that there was a hierarchical relationship among the various types of outcomes. Moreover, they indicated that tests should be designed to measure each of these types of outcomes.

Soviet Union Launched Sputnik


In response to the launching of Sputnik, the United States government, shocked by the success of the Soviet effort, poured millions of dollars into improving math and science education in the United States.

Preparing Objectives for Programmed Instruction


This book was written by Robert Mager. Recognizing the need to teach educators how to write objective, Mager's book describes how to write objectives that include a description of desired learner behavior, the conditions under which the behaviors are to be performed, and the standards (criteria) by which the behaviors are to be judged.

Early Instructional Design Models

1962 - 1965

The concepts that were being developed in such areas as task analysis, objective specification, and criterion-referenced testing were linked together to form a process, or model, for systematically designing materials. Gagne, Glaser and Silvern were among the first individuals to describe such models. They used terms such as instructional design, system development, systematic instruction, and instructional system to describe the models they created.

Robert Glaser coined the term criterion-referenced measures


In discussing such measures, Glaser indicated that they could be used to assess students entry-level behavior and to determine the extent to which students had acquired the behaviors an instructional program was designed to teach.

The Conditions of Learning was published


Written by Robert Gagne, this book described five domains, or types, of learning outcomes--verbal information, intellectual skills, psychomotor skills, attitudes, and cognitive strategies--each of which required a different set of conditions to promote learning. Gagne also provided detailed descriptions of these conditions for each type of learning outcome. In the same volume, Gagne also described nine events of instruction, or teaching activities, that he considered essential for promoting the attainment of any type of learning outcome.

Michael Scriven coined the term formative evaluation


Scriven coined the term formative evaluation for his process that enabled educators to examine instructional materials prior to their final form, and, if necessary, revise them while they were still in their formative stages.

Burgeoning of Interest in the Systems Approach

1970 - 1980

Many individuals created new models for systematically designing instruction during the 1970s. By the end of the decade, over 40 such models were identified.

Increased Interest in Microcomputers for Instructional Purposes


With the advent of microcomputers, many professionals in the instructional design field turned their attention to producing computer-based instruction. Computers began to be used as tools to automate some instructional design tasks.

Human Performance Technology Movement

1990 - Present

This movement, with its emphasis on the on-the-job performance (rather than on learning), business results, and non-instructional solutions to performance problems, has broadened the scope of the instructional design field.