Instructional design models are methods of teaching which are designed to make learning more effective and appealing. Research first began on instructional design models during World War II when it was necessary to train a large number of soldiers at one time. At the time, work completed by behavioral psychologists such as Ivan Pavlov was the biggest influence in the field.

The first models developed were based on objectivist and behaviorist principles. Soon cognitive psychology also began to play a role and instructional design models were made based on its theories. Behavioral and cognitive models are still the most popular type of instructional methods.

Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, there has been a push to develop instructional design models based on constructivism and other similar learning theories. Developments in these fields have driven changes in how technology is used in the classroom as well as changes in how material is taught to students.

Most instructional design models are based on the ADDIE framework, which derives its name from its 5 phases: analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation. These phases are always included in models based on the ADDIE framework, but ADDIE is dynamic and flexible and allows the development of many different types of effective training and teaching models. There are some weaknesses of ADDIE models, however, and this has prompted some researchers to use other framework to formulate instructional design models that deviate from this norm.

While ADDIE serves as the framework for many instructional design models, the models themselves serve as framework for building training courses and lesson plans that help students to learn more efficiently or in an enhanced way.

Behavioral Psychology Models
To instruct is simply to communicate knowledge to a student, according to theories in behavioral psychology. The concept is not concerned with what is happening within the intellectual processes of the student, rather it is based on repetition and reinforcement of learned behaviors and knowledge. Instruction is repeated until the correct answer or desired response is received from the student. Instructional design models which are based on behavioral psychology theories strive to teach recalling of facts, definitions of concepts and association.
-The Dick and Carey Systems Approach Model
-Contract Learning
-Programmed Instruction

Cognitive Psychology Models
In cognitive psychology, learning is not simply something that happens with enough exposure. It is a change in the brain structure of the student, and entails the formation of new cognitive connections. In contrast to models based on behavioral theories, these models consider the student a vital and active participant in instruction.

Because these models are concerned with the how students remember information, the focus is often on creating a learning environment which helps students to connect the new knowledge with things they already know or experiences they can participate in. Learning only occurs when the student can connect the new information to things already stored in his brain, and can recall it when necessary. Teachers using these models are responsible for helping to make these connections, but the student’s outcome is ultimately dependent on how the student processes the information.

Instructional design models based on cognitive psychology theories are sometimes known as “modern instructional design models.”
-Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction and Merrill’s Component Display Theory (1983)
-Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction
-John Keller’s ARCS model
-Reigeluth’s Elaboration Theory
-Bloom’s Learning Taxonomy

Constructivist Models
Constructivist models of instructional design, also known as postmodern models, are based on the concept that students learn through experiences and interactions. The theories behind these models state that most people learn best by completing authentic tasks in realistic settings. This means that all knowledge is a personal interpretation of the information presented, and that the student is more vital to the learning process than the teacher.

Teachers who use these instructional design models support students in their quests for learning rather than simply communicating their knowledge to the students. There is much more hands-on learning in classrooms instituting these models, and instruction is centered around activities and problems presented to and solved by students. Because of this, these methods encourage higher-order learning skills and reflective thinking.
-Anchored Instruction
-Cognitive Apprenticeship
-REALs – Rich Environments for Active Learning

Additional Resources
-Comparing Instructional Design Models is an online slideshow.
-Instructional Design offers a large list of models that have been proposed.
-An Instructional Design Framework for designing your own instructional design model is available online.
-Instructional Models and Theories is provided by the Instructional Design Knowledge Base.
-Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Training Evaluation Model is often used to evaluate IDMs.
-American Society for Training & Development is a group of professionals who train and teach in the workplace.