Module 2: Theories and Foundations of Instruction Design

Instructional Design is “a discipline in which practitioners constantly look to the findings of other disciplines (e.g., cognitive psychology, communication) to study and improve methods of developing, delivering, and evaluating instruction and instructional practices.” (Brown & Green, 2006)


In the last module, we identified that in your future career in the field of educational technology, it is likely that you will be expected to oversee and to design online or mobile workshops, tutorials, courses, and programs. Thus, this course focuses on instructional design in distance education.

We started building a foundation of knowledge about distance education in the last module. In this module, we will continue to build foundational knowledge for this course and for your future work in ISD. We will focus on learning theories and instructional design models. Underlying every effective ISD project is a theoretical foundation, namely a learning theory, and the implementation of an ISD model (Smith & Ragan, 2005). As our text book authors imply, ignorance or lack of understanding of theory, especially human learning theory, can lead to ineffective course development and media selection; thus, hindering learning (Clark & Mayer, 2008). Theories about how humans learn and frameworks to explain how to apply these theories should guide instruction (Horton, 2007).

©2010 By Michael and Amanda Szapkiw.