What is 4C/ID?

Question: What have I learned about instructional design (ID) so far?  Well. I have learned a lot.

Instructional Design: The Fundamentals

Last week, Piskurick (2015) taught me that instructional design (ID) is a system of “simple rules” for creating learning experiences that do what they are supposed to do – facilitate learning (p. 3).

I learned that good ID helps guard against mistakes by providing the designer with the means to know in advance how an ID will look, feel, and perform. I learned good ID planning should provide the designer with a map that outlines clear objectives, evaluation tools, and performance measures to assess effectiveness (p. 4). 

I learned the ID process should begin with the creation of a “workable blueprint” that should include a needs assessment that documents both organizational and learner needs. The blueprints should also describe the process to be used to conduct organizational and individual performance gap assessments; identification of the data collection tools and formative and summative measurements to be used to assess ID performance; and includes contingency interventions just in case they are needed. Finally, the blueprint should include a cost-benefit analysis to balance the time, cost, and quality triple constraint so that I can track and monitor tangible and intangible returns on investment (p. 17-62). (Piskurick, 2015)

I learned the advantages of good ID includes the ability to offer cost-effective instructional designs that provide time-effective instructional services, effective learning experiences, and instructional solutions that help clients solve problems and save money by having things done right every time consistently (p.12).

I learned the consequences of bad ID are ineffective training programs, poor performance outcomes, and wasted valuable resources with little to no return on investment for the client (p. 13).

Instructional Design: Basic v. Advanced

I learned that “basic” ID is grounded by adherence to a predefined and rigid systematic inquiry, disciplines, and a series of mechanical or linear steps with the objective of implementing a learning model (Andrews & Goodson, 1980).

I learned that advancedID, by contrast, is the science of facilitating germane cognitive load using tools, tips, techniques, and media with the objective of facilitating learning (Kirschner, 2002, p. 5; Sweller, 2011, p.8). 

Finally, I learned there is an accepted common schema for instructional design (Gropper, 1977, Table 2, p. 3.5) that some ID models being used do not meet because of ineffectiveness and the lack of a discernable theoretical basis. I also learned some ID models are supported by documentation perceived to be “generally inadequate” and that other ID models are no more than “modifications” of previously existing models. I learned that some popular ID models are not even ID models at all (Andrews & Goodson, 1980, p. 175-178). 

Four-Component Instructional Design (4C/ID) Model Overview

This week I learned about the Four-Component Instructional Design model, also known as 4C/ID.  Researchers van Merrienboer, Clark, and Croock (2002) explains van Merrienboer created the model in the 1990s because of what van Merrienboer saw as deficiencies in other ID models. Specifically, according to its creator, 4C/ID was designed to teach students to learn and transfer highly complex cognitive skills and competencies within a wider context and within a variety of real-world settings and contexts (p. 39).  While describing the 4C/ID model’s features, van Merrienboer, Clark, & Croock suggests 4C/ID is more suited for teaching complex cognitive skills because:

Most design models emphasize instruction in relatively simple learning tasks and assume that a large, complex set of interrelated tasks are achievable as “the sum of the parts”—by sequencing a string of simplified, component task procedures until a complex task is caputred. There is overwhelming evidence that this does not work (see van Merriënboer, 1997, for an in-depth discussion of these issues). Existing design models most often assume that knowledge of simple task performance, once acquired, transfers reliably to novel future problems despite considerable evidence to the contrary (e.g., Clark & Estes, 1999; Perkins & Grotzer, 1997).  (p. 40).

4C/ID Theoretical Underpinnings

The 4C.ID model’s premise is that novices learn complex tasks differently than they learn simple tasks and that instructional designs for complex learning should pay attention not only to the coordination and integration of constituent skills but to helping learners close their gap between prerequisite knowledge and the desired levels of expertise at exit (p. 42).

The 4C/ID model’s premise aligns with Vygotsky’s (1974) Zone of Proximal Development theory because it promotes the leveraging of evolutionary and inherent primary knowledge with secondary intrinsic constructive schema construction under the direction of a “More Knowledgeable Other” (Vygotsky, 1974).  4C/ID aligns with Bandera’s (1999) social cognitive theory because it recognizes the importance of social learning, modeling, and building practice to build self-efficacy (Bandura, 1999).  4C/ID model aligns with Herrington’s (2014) authentic learning theory because the model supports the need for authentic learning experiences outside of formal settings that require learners to solve real-world problems in a variety of contexts and roles (Herrington, 2014, p. 62-62). 4C/ID aligns with Kirschner’s (2002) and Sweller’s (2011) cognitive load theories because the model supports the transfer of intrinsic cognitive load into long-term memory for later retrieval and use. Finally, 4C/ID aligns with Habermas’ (1984) teaching and learning as communicative acts theory because it requires learners to receive instruction (strategic communications), complex tasks both independently (constantive communications) and collaboratively (normative communications) then demonstrate learning repeatedly to build expertise (dramaturgical communications) (Habermas, 1984).

4C/ID Instructional Model

The 4C/ID model is comprised of four components that help learners master an integrated set of skills with multiple performance objections organized bottoms-up along with a skills hierarchy.

After using the model to develop computer-based design tools during a European ADAPT (Advanced Design Approach for Personalized Training) project, van Merrienboer, Clark, and Croock (2002) advises the 4C/ID model should include four components:

  1. Learning tasks. 4C/ID treats learning tasks as a sequence of meaningful, concrete, authentic, and whole task experiences organized from simple to complex and according to classes. Learning starts at a level that requires high learner support that gradually decreases (scaffolding) as the learner builds proficiency and expertise.
  2. Supportive information. Mental models, cognitive strategies, performance feedback and other learning aids available to the learner during instruction to help with the completion of tasks.
  3. Just-In-Time information. Prior information and prerequisite knowledge gained from prior experiences from performing routine recurring tasks leveraged and integrated to help the learner build expertise.
  4. Part-task practice.  Intermixed and recurrent practicing of new complex skills learned until the learner can mindfully perform the tasks automatically in real-world or simulated environments in a variety of contexts and roles.

van Merrienboer, Clark, & Croock claims the 4C/ID model can be used to create training programs that increasingly facilitate the development of higher knowledge transfer.  The researchers also claim the model has been tested across several complex tasks learning domains and consistently achieved the predicted outcomes (van Merrienboer, Clark, & Croock, 2002).

Jennie’s Perspective

After learning the basics of the 4C/ID model, I like it! My plan now is to learn more about the model with the intent to answer this question:

Could 4C/ID be used to create authentic learning in real-world or simulated workforce training environments?

Since training solutions are needed to help America’s youth master the 22nd Century complex skill sets needed to keep our country competitive on the global stage, I want to know if 4C/ID provides the workforce development framework I will need in the future.  

Is the 4C/ID model the one? Let’s test and see.

References

Andrews, D. H., & Goodson, L. A. (1980). A Comparative Analysis of Models of Instructional Design. Journal of Instructional Development, 3(4), 2–16.

Bandura, A. (1999). Social Cognitive Theory: An Agentic Perspective. Asian Journal of Social Psychology2(1), 21-41. doi:10.1111/1467-839x.00024

Habermas, J. (1984). The Theory of Communicative Action, Vol. 1,’Reason and the Rationalization of Society’.

Herrington, J. (2014). Introduction to authentic learning. In Activity Theory, Authentic Learning and Emerging Technologies (pp. 87-93). Routledge.

Kirschner, P. A. (2002). Cognitive load theory: Implications of cognitive load theory on the design of learning.

Piskurich, G. M. (2015). Rapid instructional design: Learning ID fast and right. John Wiley & Sons.

Sweller, J. (2011). Cognitive load theory. In Psychology of learning and motivation (Vol. 55, pp. 37-76). Academic Press.

Van Merriënboer, J. J. G., & Sluijsmans, D. M. A. (2009). Toward a Synthesis of Cognitive Load Theory, Four-Component Instructional Design, and Self-Directed Learning. Educational Psychology Review, 21(1), 55–66. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-008-9092-5

van Merriënboer, J. J. G., Clark, R. E., & de Croock, M. B. M. (2002). Blueprints for complex learning: The 4C/ID-Model. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50(2), 39–64. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02504993

Instructional Design: The Fundamentals

Last week, Piskurick (2015) taught me that instructional design (ID) is a system of “simple rules” for creating learning experiences that do what they are supposed to do – facilitate learning (p. 3).

I learned that good ID helps guard against mistakes by providing the designer with the means to know in advance how an ID will look, feel, and perform. I learned good ID planning should provide the designer with a map that outlines clear objectives, evaluation tools, and performance measures to assess effectiveness (p. 4). 

I learned the ID process should begin with the creation of a “workable blueprint” that should include a needs assessment that documents both organizational and learner needs. The blue prints should also describe the process to be used to conduct organizational and individual performance gap assessments; identification of the data collection tools and formative and summative measurements to be used to assess ID performance; and contingency interventions just in case they are needed. Finally, the blueprint should include a cost-benefit analysis to balance the time, cost, and quality triple constraint so that I can track and monitor tangible and intangible returns on investment (p. 17-62). (Piskurick, 2015)

I learned the advantages of good ID includes the ability to offer cost-effective instructional designs that provide time-effective instructional services, effective learning experiences, and instructional solutions that help clients solve problems and save money by having things done right every time consistently (p.12).

I learned the consequences of bad ID are ineffective training programs, poor performance outcomes, and wasted valuable resources with little to no return on investment for the client (p. 13).

Instructional Design: Basic v. Advanced

I learned that “basic” ID is grounded by adherence to predefined and rigid systematic inquiry, disciplines, and a series of mechanical or linear steps with the objective of implementing a learning model (Andrews & Goodson, 1980).

I learned that advancedID, by contrast, is the scienceof facilitating germane cognitive load using tools, tips, techniques, and media with the objective of facilitating learning (Kirschner, 2002, p. 5; Sweller, 2011, p.8). 

Finally, I learned there is an accepted common schema for instructional design (Gropper, 1977, Table 2, p. 3.5) that some ID models being used do not meet because of ineffectiveness and the lack of a discernable theoretical basis. I also learned some ID models are supported by documentation perceived to be “generally inadequate” and that other ID models are no more than “modifications” of previously existing models. In fact, I learned that some popular ID models are not even ID models at all (Andrews & Goodson, 1980, p. 175-178).

Four-Component Instructional Design (4C/ID) Model Overview

This week I learned about the Four-Component Instructional Design model, also known as 4C/ID.  Researchers van Merrienboer, Clark, and Croock (2002) explains the model was created by van Merrienboer in the 1990s because of what van Merrienboer saw as deficiencies in other ID models. Specifically, according to its creator, 4C/ID was designed to teach students to learn and transfer highly complex cognitive skills and competencies within a wider context and within a variety of real-world settings and contexts (p. 39).  While describing the 4C/ID model’s features, van Merrienboer, Clark, & Croock suggests 4C/ID is more suited for teaching complex cognitive skills because:

Most design models emphasize instruction in relatively simple learning tasks and assume that a large, complex set of interrelated tasks are achievable as “the sum of the parts”—by sequencing a string of simplified, component task procedures until a complex task is captured. There is overwhelming evidence that this does not work (see van Merriënboer, 1997, for an in-depth discussion of these issues). Existing design models most often assume that knowledge of simple task performance, once acquired, transfers reliably to novel future problems despite considerable evidence to the contrary (e.g., Clark & Estes, 1999; Perkins & Grotzer, 1997).  (p. 40).

4C/ID Theoretical Underpinnings

The 4C.ID model’s premise is that novices learn complex tasks differently than they learn simple tasks and that instructional designs for complex learning should pay attention not only to the coordination and integration of constituent skills, but to helping learners close their gap between prerequisite knowledge and the desired levels of expertise at exit (p. 42). 

The 4C/ID model’s premise aligns with Vygotsky’s (1974) Zone of Proximal Development theory because it promotes the leveraging of evolutionary and inherent primary knowledge with secondary intrinsic constructive schema construction under the direction of a “More Knowledgeable Other” (Vygotsky, 1974).  4C/ID aligns with Bandera’s (1999) social cognitive theory because it recognizes the importance of social learning, modeling, and building practice to build self-efficacy (Bandura, 1999).  4C/ID model aligns with Herrington’s (2014) authentic learning theory because the model supports the need for authentic learning experiences outside of formal settings that require learners to solve real-world problems in a variety of contexts and roles (Herrington, 2014, p. 62-62). 4C/ID aligns with Kirschner’s (2002) and Sweller’s (2011) cognitive load theories because the model supports the transfer of intrinsic cognitive load into long-term memory for later retrieval and use. Finally, 4C/ID aligns with Habermas’ (1984) teaching and learning as communicative acts theory because it requires learners to receive instruction (strategic communications), complex tasks both independently (constantive communications) and collaboratively (normative communications) then demonstrate learning repeatedly to build expertise (drammaturgical communications) (Habermas, 1984).

4C/ID Instructional Model

The 4C/ID model is comprised of four components that help learners master an integrated set of skills with multiple performance objections organized bottoms-up along with a skills hierarchy.

After using the model to develop computer-based design tools during an European ADAPT (Advanced Design Approach for Personalized Training) project, van Merrienboer, Clark, and Croock (2002) advises the 4C/ID model should include four components:

  1. Learning tasks. 4C/ID treats learning tasks as a sequence of meaningful, concrete, authentic, and whole task experiences organized from simple to complex and according to classes. Learning starts at a level that requires high learner support that gradually decreases (scaffolding) as the learner builds proficiency and expertise.
  2. Supportive information. Mental models, cognitive strategies, performance feedback and other learning aides available to the learner during instruction to help with the completion of tasks.
  3. Just-In-Time information. Prior information and prerequisite knowledge gained from prior experiences from performing routine recurring tasks leveraged and integrated to help the learner build expertise.
  4. Part-task practice.  Intermixed and recurrent practicing of new complex skills learned until the learner can mindfully perform the tasks automatically in real-world or simulated environments in a variety of contexts and roles.

van Merrienboer, Clark, & Croock claims the 4C/ID model can be used to create training programs that increasingly facilitate the development of higher knowledge transfer.  The researchers also claim the model has been tested across several complex tasks learning domains and consistently achieved the predicted outcomes (van Merrienboer, Clark, & Croock, 2002).

Jennie’s Perspective

After learning the basics of the 4C/ID model, I like it! My plan now is to learn more about the model with the intent to answer this question:

Could 4C/ID be used to create authentic learning in real-world or simulated workforce training environments?

Since training solutions are needed to help America’s youth master the 22nd Century complex skill sets needed to keep our country competitive on the global stage, I want to know if 4C/ID is provides the workforce development framework I will need in the future.  

Is the 4C/ID model the one? Let’s test and see.

References

Andrews, D. H., & Goodson, L. A. (1980). A Comparative Analysis of Models of Instructional Design. Journal of Instructional Development, 3(4), 2–16.

Bandura, A. (1999). Social Cognitive Theory: An Agentic Perspective. Asian Journal of Social Psychology2(1), 21-41. doi:10.1111/1467-839x.00024

Habermas, J. (1984). The Theory of Communicative Action, Vol. 1,’Reason and the Rationalization of Society’.

Herrington, J. (2014). Introduction to authentic learning. In Activity Theory, Authentic Learning and Emerging Technologies (pp. 87-93). Routledge.

Kirschner, P. A. (2002). Cognitive load theory: Implications of cognitive load theory on the design of learning.

Piskurich, G. M. (2015). Rapid instructional design: Learning ID fast and right. John Wiley & Sons.

Sweller, J. (2011). Cognitive load theory. In Psychology of learning and motivation (Vol. 55, pp. 37-76). Academic Press.

Van Merriënboer, J. J. G., & Sluijsmans, D. M. A. (2009). Toward a Synthesis of Cognitive Load Theory, Four-Component Instructional Design, and Self-Directed Learning. Educational Psychology Review, 21(1), 55–66. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-008-9092-5

van Merriënboer, J. J. G., Clark, R. E., & de Croock, M. B. M. (2002). Blueprints for complex learning: The 4C/ID-Model. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50(2), 39–64. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02504993

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