Thursday, October 24, 2013

Values in Theory Construction

Reigeluth and Carr-Chellman (2010, p. 22) explore value-based theory construction and posit four functions of values that relate to theory construction and that can be identified as a philosophy of instruction (p. 22).  They are values about learning goals, priorities, methods, and power.  They are important in design theories and important to theory development.  These values are philosophical that is, based on opinion rather than empirical research.  Values underpinning theory should be clear so that practitioners and other stakeholders are informed and guided when selecting appropriate theories.
  • Values about learning goals are opinions about learning outcomes.  Note these values are not empirically derived through a needs analysis.  For instance, a school might have the core values of instilling integrity and professionalism through instruction.
  • Values about priorities judge the success of instruction and guidelines using such criteria as “effectiveness, efficiency, and appeal”.
  • Values about methods:  All stakeholders hold philosophical opinions about methods of instructions.
  • Values about power respond to questions such as, “who has the power to decide goals, priorities, and methods?” (Reigeluth and Carr-Chellman, 2010, p. 23)
When constructing theory researchers must be conscious not only of empirically derived data but also of these values.
Reigeluth, Charles. M. and Carr-Chellman, A. A.  (2010).  Understanding instructional theory.  In Instructional-Design Theories and Models: Building a Common Knowledge Base 3.  Reigeluth, Charles. M. and Carr-Chellman, A. A (Eds.).  Taylor and Francis Kindle Edition.

The Line of Sight and ADDIE’s Design Phase

The concept of the “line of sight” used by Branch (2009, p. 60) helped to clarify the function of the design phase for me.  The “line of sight” is similar to a “birds’ eye view”, nothing intervenes between the beginning of the ADDIE process, that is, the Analyze phase, and the end, the Evaluation phase.  The Design phase, according to Branch, is critical to the process because it brings into alignment the “needs, purpose, goals, objectives, strategies and assessment throughout the ADDIE process” (Branch, p. 60).  During the design phase, the design team does each of the following:
1.    Inventories the learning tasks required to achieve an instructional goal (Branch, p. 61),
2.    Creates clear objectives that delineate the performance or what the learners are expected to accomplish, the conditions under which they will be expected to perform, and the criterion of acceptability (p. 68).
3.    Create test items that match the performance, conditions and criteria (p. 71), and
4.    Calculate the return on investment (p. 73).
Each of these components together forms the design brief (p. 81), a compendium of the various phases of the ADDIE process.  This again underlines the idea of the “line of sight”.  The view of the entire process and its cost is established in the Design phase. 
This has impressed upon me the compactness of the design process.  All phases come together to make the whole.  As a teacher, I would plan at the beginning of each academic year.  Yet I neither thought of myself as a designer nor of plans as a design.  This process has changed my perspective.  I am beginning to see a place for me in instructional design, that is, if I wasn’t there all along and did not know it.
Branch, Robert Maribe. (2009).  Design.  Instructional design: The ADDIE approach. Athens, GA: Springer