Choosing An Instructional Design Approach -

Is There A Best Method ?

This discussion has presented a variety of models of instructional design and referred most briefly, to some of the leading theory surrounding the discipline with particular attention to the classic work of Robert Gagné. The multimedia designer needs to be aware during the beginning stages of project development, that there is already an established body of theory and practice, which can be applied to creation of educational materials. However, because of the unique and interactive nature of multimedia, the designer needs to look beyond the boundaries of existing methods and incorporate techniques from film and video production, the visual arts, music, and the array of associated knowledge related to production of those media.

As was mentioned at the opening of the chapter, the designer needs to identify his or her background and biases and recognize their influence on the design process. Educators may focus closely on the instructional elements and overlook the engaging and motivational characteristics such as sound and graphics of multimedia. On the other hand, developers with a profit motive may produce a flashy, fast moving program with minimal attention to the process of learning and minimal educational value. This cautionary note is echoed by Rossett and Barnett with their comment that, "… few veteran instructional designers are working in the juncture between training and technology. Many novice computer-based training developers in the multimedia industry lack any formal education in instructional design." (1996).

The point is that there is no simple 'right way' to plan a multimedia educational project. Robert Gagné himself said that, "In seeking a way of dealing with multiple objectives other that serially, we perceive a need for treating human performance at a somewhat higher level of abstraction than is usual in most instructional design models." (1990). There are however, planning techniques and analytical tools which can be borrowed from established models and applied to multimedia design which inform and improve the finished product and which should be part of the toolkit of any competent designer. Many of these are presented in the following section and subsequent chapters of this book.


Online Resources

A comprehensive website for Instructional Design Models is located at the University of Denver - HTTP://



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                    Boyle, T. (1997). Design for multimedia learning. London: Prentice Hall.

                   Gros, B., Elen, J., Kerres, M., Merrienböer, J., and Spector, M. (1997) Instructional  and the authoring of multimedia and hypermedia systems: does a marriage make sense? Educational technology, 37, (1), pp. 48-56.

                   Gagné,  R.M. and Briggs, L.J. (1974). Principles of Instructional design. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

                   Gagné, R.M. and Merrill, M.D. (1990) Interactive goals for instructional design. Educational technology research and development, 38, (1), pp. 23-30.

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