Is there a "best" instructional design model to follow?

There are probably at least ten major, general or context specific instructional design models that are well-known and considered useful by instructional design professionals. Given the plethora of choices an instructional designer has available, is there a best instructional design model?

If you look only at each model, you'll find a number of similarities, and some differences also, but generally if you consider only the models, one is "as good" as the other.

The real issue is which model will be best for you, as an instructional designer, for the specific instructional task at hand, and best for those that will ultimately be delivering the training. Here are a few points to consider.

  • The best instructional design model is the model that the instructional designer understands best, and at a great depth.
  • Most reputable instructional design models will work best when and if they are implemented as systems or, in their entirety. That means that it's probably best not to pick and choose elements from different models.
  • Instructional design models have evolved with the times, and so there are no models more specifically relevant to particular kinds of tasks. For example, there are now instructional design models tailored to the creation of e-learning sequences, or simulations. That's not to say these are "better" than more generic ones.
  • Instructional design models tend to be based on a specific learning model or theory (e.g. cognitive, behaviorist, etc). So no only should a designer be expert with the instructional model, but also the learning model or theory that underlies it.

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