Glossary: Instructional Design
Case method. The presentation of real or fictional situations or problems to
learners to analyze, to discuss, and to recommend actions to be taken.
Coaching. A technique of cognitive apprenticeship whereby the instructor
observes students as they try to complete tasks and provides hints, help and
feedback as needed.
Cognitive apprenticeship. An instructional model that seeks to emulate the
opportunities for extended practice on authentic tasks that apprentices have
while working under a master craftsman.
Cognitive flexibility theory. A theory of learning for advanced knowledge.
Advanced knowledge is seen as less rule-based and rigid than introductory
knowledge. The theory recommends approaching content from multiple perspectives
through multiple analogies and the use of hypertext instruction.
Cognitive psychology. "The scientific analysis of human mental processes and
memory structures in order to understand human behavior"
Education. Instruction which emphasizes far-transfer learning objectives;
traditionally knowledge-based instruction which is not tied to a specific job,
as opposed to training.
Effectiveness. A measure of whether a procedure or action achieves its
Efficiency. A measure of the timeliness and affordability of an action.
Environment analysis. The context of any instructional system, both where the
instruction will occur and how the instructional materials will be used.
Fading. A technique of cognitive apprenticeship whereby the instructor
gradually withdraws support and transfers full control of a performance to the
Formative evaluation. On-going evaluation of instruction with the purpose of
Functional context training. A model of instruction that works from simple,
familiar tasks and proceeds to more complex tasks with ample opportunities for
Heuristic. A rule of thumb or guideline (as opposed to an invariant
procedure). Heuristics may not always achieve the desired outcome, but are
extremely valuable to problem-solving processes.
Hypertext. Non-linear text. Image a computer screen with a word in bold. You
click on the word and it "zooms in" to greater detail. Hypertext allows you to
zoom in and zoom out of subjects and make connections between topics. Hypertext
programs are useful for instruction and for information access.
Inert knowledge. Knowledge a learner has acquired but fails to activate in
Instructional design. The activity of planning and designing for instruction.
Also, a discipline associated with the activity.
Layers of necessity model. A model of instructional design and development
which prioritizes the needs of a project into layers; "each layer being a
self-contained model." Additional layers are developed as time and resources
Microworld. A computer-based simulation with opportunities for manipulation
of content and practice of skills.
Minimalist training. An instructional approach which seeks to provide the
minimum amount of instruction needed to help the learner master a skill. It
emphasizes active learning and meaningful learning tasks.
Performance analysis. A specific, performance-based needs assessment
technique that precedes any design or development activities by analyzing the
performance problems of a work organization.
Performance support systems. Computer program that aids the user in doing a
task. Examples include help systems, job aids, and expert system advisors.
Problem solving. The creative application of "various rules, procedures,
techniques, or principles to solve complex problems where there is no single
correct. . . answer" .
Rapid prototyping. In a design process, early development of a small-scale
prototype used to test out certain key features of the design. Most useful for
large-scale or projects.
Scaffolding. A technique of cognitive apprenticeship whereby the instructor
performs parts of a task that the learner is not yet able to perform.
Simulation. "A simulation is a simulated real life scenario displayed on the
computer, which the student has to act upon".
Spoon-feeding problem. The dilemma in training between (1) how much to
simplify and control the learning situation and (2) how much to provide for
exploration and exposure to real-world complexity.
Training. Instruction which emphasizes job-specific, near-transfer learning
objectives; traditionally skills-based instruction, as opposed to
Abstracted from: Wilson, B. G., Jonassen, D. H., & Cole, P. (1993). Cognitive
approaches to instructional design. In G. M. Piskurich (Ed.), The ASTD
handbook of instructional technology (pp. 21.1-21.22). New York: