As someone who has been teaching a Trends and Issues in Instructional Design course for over 20 years, I look for readings each year that will provide students with a good introduction to the field and/or the trends and issues that are affecting it. So, back in the early 1980s, when I came across the first edition of this monograph, I was delighted. Not only did it present an excellent definition of the field of instructional design (which was referred to as “instructional development” in the first three editions of the monograph), it also discussed differing perspectives on the instructional design (ID) process and provided a brief history of ID models. Moreover it laid out a taxonomy for classifying different types of ID models and provided detailed discussions of several models within each category. In light of all of the valuable information and ideas it contained, I decided to add portions of the monograph as a required reading in my course. And, as new editions have been published, I have continued to require my students to read the monograph.
Since 1997, when the previous edition of the monograph was published, the field of instructional design has been affected by many factors. New approaches to the design process, such as rapid prototyping and concurrent engineering, have been proposed and employed. New methods for presenting information to learners, such as electronic performance support systems and knowledge management systems, have gained increasing popularity. New advances in technology have enabled us to design instruction that is more interactive. And new (and not so new!) ideas and theories such as constructivism, situated cognition, and social learning theory have had an ever-increasing influence on the practices of many instructional designers.
As a result of the aforementioned factors, in the past few years, the ID field has greatly changed. New ID models have been proposed, new ID procedures have been employed, and the role and scope of professionals in the ID field has greatly expanded. This new edition of this monograph does an excellent job of providing a brief overview of the recent trends that have affected, and will continue to affect, our field. But it does much more than that. This edition, like its three previous editions, provides a brief history of ID models, provides an excellent definition of the field (revised to reflect today’s realities), and presents the authors’ taxonomy of ID models, updated to include several models developed in countries other than the United States. In light of the extent of ID activities taking place in the international arena, this is a welcomed addition.
In conclusion, this monograph provides an excellent introduction to, and overview of, the field of instructional design. Whether you are someone who is first entering the field, or you have been around it for as long as I have, I am sure that you will find the information and ideas contained in this volume to be very enlightening.
Robert A. Reiser
Professor, Instructional Systems
Florida State University
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