Workshop on
Components of Instruction:
An Approach to Instructional Design

Friday 19 March 1999

Organised by
International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS)

Hosted by
German National Research Center for Information Technology

GMD, Schloss Birlinghoven
D-53754 Sankt Augustin, Bonn, Germany

Main presenter

  • M. David Merrill, Professor of Instructional Technology, Utah State University, USA


  • John Alonso, Education Technology, Sybase, Inc., USA
  • Michelle Bruce, NGL Studio Development Group, Sybase, Inc., USA
  • Andreas Eckert, Lehrstuhl Erziehungswissenschaft II,Universitaet Mannheim, Germany
  • Lauri Elliott, Peak Solutions, Washington, DC 20036, USA
  • Wolfgang Gallenberger, Uni-Regensburg, Lehrstuhl Heid,93040 Regensburg, Germany
  • Harriet Grzondziel, Institute for educational and developmental psychology, TU Dresden, Germany
  • Wiklef Hoops, Deutsches Institut f. Fernstudienforschung (DIFF), Tübingen, Germany
  • Juergen Karad, International Tele-University, Germany
  • Kinshuk, GMD-FIT, Sankt Augustin, Germany
  • Helmut M. Niegemann, Deutsches Institut fuer Fernstudienforschung, Universitaet Tuebingen, Germany
  • Reinhard Oppermann, GMD-FIT, Sankt Augustin, Germany
  • Rossen Rashev, GMD-FIT, Sankt Augustin, Germany

Workshop schedule

09:30 Workshop begins
09:30 - 11:00 Presentation: Professor David Merrill (part one)
11:00     Tea break
11:30 - 13:00     Presentation: Professor David Merrill (part two)
13:00 - 14:00     Lunch
14:00 - 14:30     Presentation: Helmut M. Niegemann
14:30 - 15:00     Presentation: Harriet Grzondziel
15:00 - 15:30     Presentation: Lauri Elliott
15:30 - 16:00     Professor Merrill's reflections
16:00     Workshop closing

(Complete papers based on following would be published in the Educational Technology & Society journal)

Helmut M. Niegemann

Knowledge analysis and instructional design The analysis of the knowledge intended to be conveyed is crucial for any instructional design strategy. The Instructional Design model of the Mannheim-Tuebingen research group differentiates several kinds of knowledge and variables of the situation (context) of the use of knowledge. Studies aimed at promoting the integration of theoretical knowledge by offering a case based multimedia learning environment (subject matter: business cost accounting) have shown the need to differentiate different kinds of knowledge: Learning with the learning environment had an effect on the knowledge of the computational structure of the subject matter, but not on the conceptual structure, whereas the delivery of special instructional events promoted the conceptual knowledge.

Harriet Grzondziel


"How do learners use interactive graphics during learning?"

From the cognitive point of view the acquisition of technical knowledge is equivalent to the acquisition of adequate mental models of the processes involved. Following dual code theory (Paivio, 1983, 1986) combining verbal and visual information enhances learning. Interactive graphic representations in computer-based learning environments offer ways to link verbal and visual information in order to improve learning. Interactive pictures are explaining the pictorial information by giving additional verbal explanations through extended captions.

However, there have been hardly any investigations regarding the interaction between the learner and this feature of a learning environment. Two questions were of special interest: a) Which strategies were applied (e.g. favoring certain sources of information and neglecting others, the sequence of information access)? and b) What kind of instructional condition promoted a certain strategy?

The objective of our study was to analyze under which instructional conditions individuals choose verbal and/or pictorial information offered by interactive pictures to construct mental models. Therefore we developed a learning program which describes how a complex technical system (cold-storage plant) works. According to the elaboration theory of instruction (Reigeluth & Stein, 1983) two general elaborative sequences were implemented: descending-differentiating (top-down-structure) and ascending-summarizing (bottom-up-structure).

The results of our study indicate a) Verbal and pictorial information are processed and combined in different ways (depending on individual learning prerequisites respectively the instructional condition (top-down- vs. bottom-up-structure); b) The mode of picture presentation (simple vs. interactive graphics) influences the construction of mental models whereas the instructional condition determines the quality of the resulting model.

The discussion of possible implications for research in instructional psychology is suggested. Our results show the necessity of further analyses concentrating especially on the interaction of verbal and pictorial information in constructing mental models.

Lauri Elliott

This paper focuses on the development of a knowledge and learning architecture for knowledge management and just-in-time training environments. The architecture is being developed to provide a consistent, detailed means of collecting and expressing knowledge that is used for instruction and information presentation, as well as identifying appropriate instructional and information presentation strategies for use with different types of knowledge. The architecture will support several just-in-time training and knowledge management in various U.S. organizations, with end users that are distributed in the United States, Latin America, and Europe.

The primary methodologies for knowledge analysis and instructional strategy analysis presented in this paper are derived from the work done by Dr. David Merrill on the Component Design Theory (CDT2). This paper provides a conceptual view of the knowledge and learning architecture that is being developed, and implemented, as well as insights into the process being used to develop it. In subsequent papers, the implementation and outcomes of this project will be discussed.

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