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Instructional Systems Design (ISD) Process

Instructional Systems Design (ISD) provides a means for sound decision making to determine the who, what, when, where, why, and how of training. The concept of a system approach to training is based on obtaining an overall view of the training process. It is characterized by an orderly process for gathering and analyzing collective and individual performance requirements, and by the ability to respond to identified training needs. The application of a systems approach to training insures that training programs and the required support materials are continually developed in an effective and efficient manner to match the variety of needs in an ever rapidly changing environment.

We use an abbreviated form of the ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implement, Evaluate) model of ISD when developing DL.

The ISD Model was designed to solve training problems. The following diagram shows the ISD model. It was first established by the Department of Defense, but can now be found in almost any type of organization. It grew out of the "systems analysis" concepts that became popular after World War II. It is probably the most extensively used instructional design model in use today.

Diagram of the ISD Model showing each phase of ISD (ADDIE

ISD is concerned with the identification of training requirements based on the analysis of job performance requirements data obtained from experts in the job to be performed. Training objectives are formulated as a result of the job analysis process and tests are developed to be used to assess the learner's progress toward meeting the training objectives. ISD or SAT also attempts to bring structure to the instructional design process when determining the optimal instructional strategies, instructional sequencing, and instructional delivery media for the types of training objectives involved.

Although there are minor differences, most development systems follow an approach similar to this:

  • Analyze the system in order to completely understand it, and then describe the goals you wish to achieve in order to correct any shortcomings or faults within the system.
  • Design a method or model to achieve your goals.
  • Develop the model into a product (in training, this product is called courseware).
  • Implement the courseware.
  • Evaluate the courseware and audit-trail throughout the four phases and in the field to ensure it is heading in the right direction and achieving the desired results.

ISD Model Flowchart

This flowchart highlights the importance of evaluation and feedback throughout the entire training program. It also stresses the importance of gathering and distributing information in each of the five phases and shows the training process is NOT a static (waterfall) model, but a iterative flow of activities (dynamic or spiral).

The five phases are ongoing activities that continue throughout the life of a training program. After building a training program, the other phases do not end once the training program is implemented. The five phases are continually repeated on a regular basis to see if further improvements can be made.

Below is a brief description of the ISD process. Click on the links below to learn more about each process and what it entails.

  • Analysis
    • Analyze system (department, job, etc.) to gain a complete understanding of it.
    • Compile a task inventory of all tasks associated with each job (if needed).
    • Select tasks that need to be trained (needs analysis).
    • Build performance measures for the tasks to be trained.
    • Choose instructional setting for the tasks to be trained, e.g. classroom, on-the-job, self study, etc.
    • Estimate what it is going to cost to train the tasks.
  • Design
    • Develop the learning objectives for each task, to include both terminal and enabling objectives
    • Identify and list the learning steps required to perform the task.
    • Develop the performance tests to show mastery of the tasks to be trained, e.g. written, hands on, etc.
    • List the entry behaviors that the learner must demonstrate prior to training.
    • Sequence and structure the learning objectives, e.g. easy tasks first.
  • Development
    • List activities that will help the students learn the task.
    • Select the delivery method such as tapes, handouts, etc.
    • Review existing material so that you do not reinvent the wheel.
    • Develop the instructional courseware.
    • Synthesize the courseware into a viable training program.
    • Validate the instruction to ensure it accomplishes all goals and objectives.
  • Implementation
    • Create a management plan for conducting the training.
    • Conduct the training.
  • Evaluation
    • Review and evaluate each phase (analyze, design, develop, implement) to ensure it is accomplishing what it is supposed to.
    • Perform external evaluations, e.g. observe that the tasks that were trained can actually be performed by the learner on the job.
    • Revise training system to make it better.

[Source: Don Clark,]

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Page Last Modified: Thursday, 14-Jan-2016 15:08:57 EST