M2-Annotated Bibliography 1

Annotated Bibliography 1

Carliner, S. (2008) A Holistic Framework of Instructional Design for eLearning. In S. Carliner & P. Shank (Eds.) The e-Learning Handbook: Past Promises, Present Challenges (pp.307-358). San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

In this chapter, Saul Carliner asks if and how instructional systems design (ISD) have to be adapted to address current contexts of learning and design, and issues within e-learning.  The author believes that designating ISD as a model is problematic when essentially it is a value system that represents what instructional designers feel is important about instructional design and not necessarily the steps they carry out in practice.

In his introduction, Carliner baldly states that no one has offered a comprehensive alternative to traditional ISD which he references as being “too slow and clumsy” (Gordon and Zemke, 2000, p.4) and no longer being of practical use. (Horton, 2002).  However, he offers only two references overall and the second reference is very weak.  (The Horton reference is to a conference attended by Carliner rather than the written proceedings of the conference).  It is unlikely that in the sixty years since the emergence of ISD that others have not offered a comprehensive alternative to traditional ISD.  For example, the The 7Cs of Learning Design framework is the culmination of major work carried out as part of the OU Learning Design Initiative (Open University UK, 2007) and the University of Leicester’s Carpe Diem work (Armellini, Salmon et al. 2009).

After his introduction, Carliner begins the chapter by defining ISD and providing the reader with a brief history of ISD.  This is useful to those new to the field of instructional design with the author referencing it’s origins in World War II.  Carliner refers to a soon to be released publication written by himself and two colleagues to define ISD as “the recommended process for designing, developing, and implementing learning programs”. (Carliner, Ribeiro, and Boyd, in press).  He goes on to say that this recommended process guides instructional designers.  The author cites Gustafson (1991) as having counted thirty-one versions of ISD models but then goes on to say that the most common models are based on a generic process called ADDIE – an acronym for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation.

The author identifies nine reasons why ISD needs an overhaul.  He begins with an assertion that ISD should not be referred to as a model as it does not represent what is observed to be happening in the real world.  Carliner cites research evidence that suggests the first and last parts of the ADDIE model (analysis and evaluation) are minimally performed.  (Van Tiem, 2004; Wedman & Tesmer (1993); Zemke & Lee, 1987).  He points out that although analysis and evaluation constitute half of the steps in the Dick and Carey model, they are often neglected.  According to the author, another flaw of ISD is the fact that it was originally created for instructional designers in the 1950s, long before the advent of online features such as wizards, guided tours, FAQs, tips of the day and discussion groups.  These online features are not the traditional courses that ISD addresses.  Another weakness is that the analysis stage assumes that there is no existing information about the audience and / or that the instructional designer has limited knowledge of the course content.  Two further problems are that ISD tends to favour mastery learning which is out of synch with constructivist and problem solving approaches.  The final problem with ISD is what Carliner refers to as the ‘one-size-fits-all-approach’ to projects.

In this chapter, the author sets out a revised framework of instructional design that has three distinct components.  The first component is Design Philosophies and Theories which embraces the science and philosophy of how humans learn.  The second component is General Design Methodology that has two parts: identifying the size of the e-learning project as bronze (basic), silver (middle-of-the-road) or platinum (extensive) and then applying the ADDIE process.  The final component of the framework is Instructional Considerations which have three categories: general issues (including schedules and budgets), instructional approach (including mastery learning, discovery learning, gaming-simulation) and conventions (including bookmarking in tutorials, a break in a webinar).

Carliner concludes that a framework, which includes economic, technical, political, and philosophical issues as well as instructional issues, will broaden the discussion of design.  He advocates a move away from what he calls a “cookbook-like approach” (means) to an outcomes-based approach (end) in relation to design. In my opinion, this is a Machiavellian approach to design.  In other words, if the final design is good, it is immaterial how it was achieved.


Armellini, A., G. Salmon, et al. (2009). The Carpe Diem journey: Designing for learning transformation. Transforming higher education through technology-enhanced learning T. Mayes, D. Morrison, H. Mellar, P. Bullen and M. Oliver. York, The Higher Education Authority: 135-148.

Carliner, S., Ribeiro, O., & Boyd, G. (In press). Educational Technology. In N.J. Salkind (Ed.) Encyclopaedia of educational psychology. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Gordon, J. & Zemke, R. (2000). The attack on ISD. Training, 37, 4.

Gustafson, K.L. (1991). Survey of instructional development models (2nd ed.). Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources.

Horton, W. (2002). Keynote address to the 18th Wisconsin conference on distance teaching and learning. Madison, Wisconsin, August 15, 2002.

Open University UK. (2007). Open University Learning Design Initiative.  Retrieved November 19, 2016, from http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/OULDI/

Van Tiem, D.M. (2004). Usage and expertise in performance technology practice: An Empirical Investigation. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 17(3): 23-44.

Wedman, J. & Tesmer, M. (1993). Instructional designer’s decisions and priorities: A survey of design practice. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(2): 43-57.

Zemke, R. & Lee, C. (1987). How long does it take? Training, 24(6), 75-80.