This article was written as an assignment in EME6606 Advanced Instructional Design at the University of Florida in Fall 2014.

Based on your own interpretation, talk about the types of learning outcomes. Who were the major contributors to this notion? Do you agree with these classifications?

Richey, Klein, & Tracey (Richey, Klein, & Tracey, 2011)(Richey, Klein, & Tracey, 2011) describe conditions-based theory in terms of three key premises.  They are: different types of desired learning outcomes require different types of instruction; sequencing of instruction should be arranged to support the relationship among the various types of desired learning outcomes; and instructional strategies should facilitate the internal processes of learning. 

When I look at designing instruction I like to think about it in layers.  For example, there are things we know, things we can do, things we can create.  When preparing instructions for beginning learners, we need to first help them develop some basic knowledge.  Then we can help them apply that knowledge to doing something that has been shown to them or demonstrated for them.  And finally we can challenge them to use the knowledge and experiences to create something new, such as a product or performance. 

Benjamin Bloom:  Bloom’s taxonomies, classify educational goals in terms of cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains.  Bloom’s taxonomy organizes learning outcomes in a hierarchy of learning outcomes designed to describe the cumulative way we learn.  Knowledge comes first followed by comprehension, then application, analysis and synthesis.  These levels can be aligned with action works such as select, match, organize, compare, compose, critique, etc. to create a method of writing learning outcomes that can be correlated to learning activities and evaluation.   (Bloom & Krathwohl, 1956)

Robert Gangé: Identified six categories of learning: response learning, chaining, verbal learning, concept learning, principle learning, and problem solving.  Later he identified six domains of learning including motor skills, verbal information, intellectual skills, cognitive strategies, and attitudes.  (Gagne, Briggs, & Wagner, 1992)

M. David Merrill and Boutwell contributed the model of Performance-Content Matrix.  The matrix is a two dimensional representation of the types of tasks, or content, combined with the levels of performance.  They included content types of fact, concept, procedure, and principle, compared to levels of performance such as remember, use & find. (Merrill & Boutwell, 1973)

A model can give a framework from which to develop instruction.  I like Bloom’s Taxonomy as a guide to use when considering how to align instruction, learning activities, and evaluation with desired learning outcomes.   Gangé added methods of learning and looked at the internal processing that is occurring during learning.  For example, learning something that requires psychomotor skills may require different learning processes then learning something that is cognitive in nature.  Merrill and Boutwell, seem to bring both together and look at the types of tasks/learning outcomes combined with the various ways in which we learn. 

I don’t feel the question is whether or not to agree with these models.  I think the question is more about where to these models apply, and how can we use them to gain insights into how to better design instruction.   It would seem to me that instruction designed using multiple models as a guide will help us look at the same issue from multiple lenses.  Each lens will help us to refine our technique, and ultimately improve learning.

Review the work of Gange and the notion of the Nine Events of Instruction. Do you think this algorithm for learning is effective for all types of learning? Provide an example to illustrate.

Gangé nine events of instruction describe a process of scaffolding which helps the learner move from introduction to new content, to developing long-term memory, and ultimately to knowledge that can be used to drive performance and long term changes in behavior or retention and application.

I’m not sure if the nine events of instruction would be effective for all types of learning, but I do believe it is effective for most types of learning.  For example, if we our desired learning outcome is for our learners to be able to implement an effective password security policy, we might start by showing a video about how important information is compromised due to lack of effective password security. Then introduce the desired learning outcome and facilitate a discussion about experiences learners have had with security policy. We can then provide instruction providing current password security & encryption knowledge, followed by a demonstration on how to implement password security on a particular system.  Learners can then practice and replicate what we have demonstrated.  We might wrap up the session by asking them to work in groups and develop a security policy to present to the group.

Talk about the design of complex learning environments. How does this model of instructional design differ from our traditional notions?

Complex learning environments are what we work with in career and technical education.  These environments are designed to coordinate goals and objectives that promote the transfer of skills to tasks required for employment or societal needs.   The desired learning outcomes are usually performance based.

Van Merriënboer, Clark, and De Croock (2002) identify a construct which includes both recurrent and non-recurrent skills.  Recurrent skills are those which are routine and can be applied in a similar manner to many situations.  Non-recurrent skills are skills that may vary from situation to situation.  Van Merriënboer and colleagues developed the Four-Component Instructional Design (4C/ID) model to address the integration and coordination of complex skills that make up the complex learning environment. (Richey et al., 2011)

The challenge we face is to determine how to design instruction that not only allows students to gain competence in performing with recurrent skill sets but facilitates the scaffolding of that information in a manner that will allow the construction of responses to non-recurrent tasks.  


Bloom, B. S., & Krathwohl, D. R. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. Handbook I: Cognitive domain.

Gagne, R. M., Briggs, L. J., & Wagner, W. (1992). Principles of Instructional Design. Fort Worth TX: HBJ College.

Merrill, M. D., & Boutwell, R. C. (1973). Instructional development: Methodology and research. Review of research in education, 95-131.

Richey, R. C., Klein, J. D., & Tracey, M. W. (2011). The Instruction Design Knowledge Base: Theory, Research, and Practice. New York, NY: Routledge.

Van Merriënboer, J. J., Clark, R. E., & De Croock, M. B. (2002). Blueprints for complex learning: The 4C/ID-model. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50(2), 39-61.