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Instructional Design Selecting and Ordering Content As You Design the Learning Event (s) (EDER 673 L.91 ) From Calgary With Asst. Professor Eugene G. Kowch March 6 to March 13 Week (An Asynchronous Meeting using WebCT discussion Thread and WWW Course Home Page Material). We are here.

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Instructional DesignSelecting and Ordering Content As You Design the Learning Event (s)(EDER 673 L.91 )From Calgary With Asst. Professor Eugene G. KowchMarch 6 to March 13 Week(An Asynchronous Meeting using WebCT discussion Thread and WWW Course Home Page Material)

Instructional Design


We are here







Shaumbagh &Magliaro/

Dick & Carey/

Needs / tasks



Pollock & Reigeluth/



Gagne (micro)

Dick & Carey


Learners &





Instructional Design

update eder 673
Update: EDER 673

History of ID

ID Terminology

Instructional Design Philosophies

SMCR/Feedback Communication Model

Context based designs

Learners and Learning Theories

ID Models: A peek

Needs Analysis

Media Selection

Task Analysis

Selecting and Ordering Content (elaboration)



Instructional Design


This information / reading package has been created to extend your understanding about how to design a learning environment that will allow the learner to achieve the learning objectives gleaned from your needs or task analysis.As you learn this particular material, I suggest that you do not think from the perspective of a student, or from the perspective of a teacher or instructor :-)For this lesson,think as a (course, lesson or training) designer of an instructional environment.The precise contents in this package are based on your readings, and created from the interests and design inclinations you have exhibited in class so far. The content here references, but asks you to think beyond the readings.

Instructional Design


Elaboration Theory: A Guide for Scope and Sequence Decisions (selecting and ordering content)

A. Overview of micro/macro approaches to ID

B. An analogy for Elaboration Theory

B.1 Sequencing

    • Sequencing Decisions
    • Sequencing Strategies
      • Topical
      • Spiral

B.2 Scoping

    • Scoping Decisions

C. What is an Elaboration Sequence?

C.1 Task Expertise

C.2 Domain Expertise

C.3 The Conceptual Elaboration Sequence

C.4 The Theoretical Elaboration Sequence

C.5 The Simplifying Conditions Method (SCM)

  • How to design an SCM sequence

D. Blueprinting: Epitomizing and Elaborating

Instructional Design


The following resources were adapted for this class, to fit the time frame of EDER 673 for the 2003 Winter Class:

  • Riegeluth, C. (Ed.), (1999). The Elaboration Theory. In Instructional design theories and models - A new paradigm of instructional theory. Volume II. Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.
  • Reigeluth, C. (Ed.), (1983). The Elaboration Theory of Instruction. In Instructional design theories and models - An Overview of their current status. Volume I. Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.
  • Smith, P. L., & Ragan, T. J. (1999). Instructional Design (2nd Ed.). New York: Wiley.
  • These are all excellent sources for your future professional education technology library.

Instructional Design



A. An overview of Micro and Macro level ID Approaches:Designing instruction to achieve a learning/skill objective (to fill a gap)
  • Recall that Gagne wrote about the executive processes that an individual uses when learning (memory processes). These are micro level processes. At the micro level of instructional design, we design learning/instruction events so that the learner’s micro level cognitive processes to fit the conditions of learning - to assure the best learning chance for the student.
  • There are macro level approaches, that place the learner in the learning environment context, instead of focussing on the hierarchy instructional events suited for different types of learning.
  • Elaboration theory is a macro approach to the design of instruction. It is a model that presupposes that there is relevant content that can be taught, and that with good design and a careful collection of topical matter, a learning environment can be created. It is still a systems approach, but there is flexibility for scope and sequencing instruction by careful consideration of the topics (content) to be studied.

Instructional Design

a an overview broad overview of the elaboration theory of instruction


A. An Overview Broad Overview of the Elaboration Theory of Instruction
  • As creators of a learning event or environment, once we know the learner’s knowledge/performance needs, we then create the learning objectives or tasks to achieve the ideal learning/doing outcomes. We do this for the learner by designing instruction.
  • So then we need next to consider what instructional strategies we may use to help the learner reach the objectives. This strategy informs BOTH the instructor and the learner. Think of this as an instructor while you learn this theory.
  • Micro level instructional strategies are concerned with teaching a single idea. Micro level instruction strategies employ examples of that idea. (example: Use the “I before E except after C” rule to spell the following words correctly).
  • Macro level instructional strategies relate to several ideas, and to sequencing those ideas to maximize learning. (Example: Some spelling rules are tricky, and they change depending on the word. Read the story and find some of the words with an “IE” or “EI” before a “C”. What have you learned about spelling these kinds of words?”

Instructional Design



A. Some Macro Approaches to Designing Instruction:

  • The Hierarchical approach to task analysis: Gagne (1968, 1977) introduced the idea of the learning prerequisite (some knowledge must be acquired before other knowledge can be acquired). This gave rise to the hierarchical approach to task analysis (learn this, before you can learn that…) Such complexity inherent to hierarchical design (too many if-then-elses) makes the hierarchical approach difficult for some design situations.
  • The Information Processing approach to task analysis described the procedure or order in which tasks should be performed, as opposed to the order in which they must be learned. (Merrill, 1971; Landa, 1974).
  • Instructional sequences were discovered that helped learners see relevance in learning (Ausubel, 1968). Ausubel said to start instruction with general level knowledge that “subsumes” the content that is to follow; the remainder of instruction is then a process of gradually introducingmore detailed specific knowledge about general ideas, like in Bruner’s (1960) spiral curriculum.
  • Elaboration theory is a macro approach to instructional design too.

Instructional Design

a elaboration theory a flexible macro approach to instructional design


A. Elaboration Theory: A Flexible Macro Approach to Instructional Design
  • The simple-to-complex sequence of instruction and learning prescribed by the Elaboration approach helps to ensure that the learner is always aware of:
    • The importance of the different ideas that are being taught
    • The ability to learn at a level of complexity that is most meaningful to him
    • The ability to choose complexity that is comfortable, rather than plodding through levels of too-high or too-low complexity first.
  • The model is more learner centred and less teacher or content centred. The role of the designer is critical, however.
  • More holistic approaches to instruction can be accommodated by this method, as this method allows the proper scope (content) and sequence (ing) (ordering) of connected chunks of instruction within simulation, PBL (problem based learning), situated learning designs.
  • Because one can identify real-world version of the task or content domain.

Instructional Design

b an analogy to help introduce you to the theory


B. An Analogy to help introduce you to the theory:
  • This method of instruction is, for the learner, like studying subject matter “through” a zoom lens.
  • For the designer, this design model allows you to create the content environment so that teachers and learners can “fit” in with time (sequence) and space (content) variability.
  • The learners starts with a wide-angle view, which allows him/her to see the the major parts fo the picture and the major relationships among those parts, with little detail (macro view).
  • The learner then zooms in on a part of the picture. More sub parts can then be seen. After studying all the parts here, the person can zoom back out and study other parts, in context.
  • This is not unlike the foundations of contextual or constructivist instruction design - both approaches depend on designing the contexts for learning, and on learner cognitive processes.
  • The person could be “forced” to learn all parts at various “zoom” levels, or to skip to another part of the picture following their own interests. Or the learner can control the zoom level and the teacher can then be ready to teach at that level.
  • However, there are no prerequisite learnings required - like in Bruner’s spiral curriculum, learners work to deeper levels of complexity. As they go deeper, increasingly complex prerequisites exist, but they will already have been taught as part of the previous steps.

Instructional Design

b sequencing content
B. Sequencing Content

Instructional Design

b 1 sequencing
B.1 Sequencing
  • Sequencing requires the designer to make decisions about how to group and order content.
  • So the designer must also decide what content should be in each grouping.
  • Factors affecting sequencing:

1. The sizeof each group of content (the size of the learning event)

2. The contentsof each group of content (learning event)

3. The order of components within each group of content (learning event)

4. The orderof the each group of content (learning events).

Instructional Design

b 1 sequencing depends on





B.1 Sequencing depends on

1. The size of each group of content (learning event):

2. The components (content pieces) of each learning event:

Instructional Design

b 1 sequencing depends on1
B.1 Sequencing depends on

3. The order of components (content pieces) within each learning event:







4. And the order of the learning event itself (all the pieces)… the order does not have to be linear:

Instructional Design

b 1 when sequencing makes a difference to the success of your instructional design
B.1 When Sequencing makes a difference to the success of your instructional design
  • The difference that your sequencing makes to instruction depends on 2 factors

1. The strength of the relationships between the topics

- if the course is about a bunch of unrelated topics (Software, Financing, Training, Planning), the order for teaching these topics will not matter as much.

- if the course is about a bunch of closely related topics (Software, hardware, platforms, networks, usability), the order for teaching these topics matters.

2. the size of the learning event.

Usually when topics are closely related, as the size of the course increases, so does the importance of sequencing because most learners will have a tough time organizing improperly sequenced topics. More than a couple of hours to learn each topic means that sequencing is critical, then.

Instructional Design

b 1 sequencing strategies
B.1 Sequencing Strategies

The Importance of (topic) relationships to designing a sequenced learning event:

1. No relationship between topics = no importance for careful sequencing of the modules

2. Good relationshipbetween topics = a need for care and attention to module sequencing. Certain types of topics have single types of relations and should be sequenced as follows:

a.historical topic sequences : work when instruction sequencing can is based on a series of events (teaching plant growth or tectonics).

b. procedural topic sequences: work when tasks or learning depends on a specific order of performance (filling a tooth cavity).

c.hierarchical sequences: work when a keen relationship between the learning prerequisites among various skills and sub skills that comprise a task exist (building a house)

Instructional Design

b 1 sequencing strategies two patterns exist topical and spiral
B.1 Sequencing Strategies: Two patterns exist: Topical and Spiral

1. Topical sequencing:

  • A topic is taught to whatever level of competency or understanding is required (to reach the learning goal you set) BEFORE teaching moves to the next topic.
    • Advantages: Learners can focus on one topic and learn it deeply without skipping to another topic. All materials are used at one time.
    • Disadvantages: After the learner moves on to the next topic, they can forget the previous one. Learners don’t get an idea of the whole subject area until they finish the curriculum or course.

Instructional Design

the topical sequencing strategy




The Topical Sequencing Strategy

The trick to good design today is to group elements into topics effectively - the student in topical sequencing can “skip” content in a topic that is already known. This is good for “just in time” designs in education. In Training, use the needs analysis to tell you how to group the topics



  • I created an example on the following page to help you understand this.
  • It is also a model for content/sequencing in your instructional blueprint
  • for your learning event (next assignment)…

Instructional Design



The Topical Sequencing Strategy forDeveloping a One Hour Class with this learning objective:The 1st Year Education student will be prepared to introduce the subject Values Education to High School Students in a one hour class

Topic B:

Key Elements

TopicC: Classroom Methods

Topic A: Relevance


Education Example

Depending on the prerequisite

Learning that learners hold

Coming into this spiral, they

Can almost “skip” steps and

Pick intensify where they need

To gain learning / competency. The

Designer can also add components to

This model depending on student needs

And interests, as long as the overall

Objectives are achieved.

This is a great process for rapid

Prototype designs, where you don’t have

The time or information to do an entire

Design cycle, and you might have to

Elaborate on certain topics and not on others to

Get the best learning outcome in short order!


Pressure: Finding

Your own values


Motivator (clip)






Coda: Your values in




Lesson Planning/

For student comfort


Liability You, the

Profession and Civil Law




Group Discussion

& Journalling /


Duty of Care / the pressure

On youth in an e-world /

Our duty to prepare youth




Self Evaluation &

Reflection methods

And feedback methodology

Instructional Design

b 1 sequencing strategies two patterns exist topical and spiral1
B.1 Sequencing Strategies: Two patterns exist: Topical and Spiral

1. Spiral sequencing:

  • Learners master a topic (or task) gradually in several passes. The learner learns the basis of one topic (or task) and then another, and another… (they can even choose topics).. And moves on to another topic. The movement continues until mastery is reached (at your designed level of mastery) for all topics.
    • Advantages: There is a built-in synthesis and review process. Interrelationships between topics may help the learner learn similar approaches within different topics in quick sequence (studying topics like how to drywall interior, exterior, wet and dusty rooms, for example as Topics A, B, & C, then moving on to studying how to paint interior, exterior, wet and dusty rooms, for example as Topics A, B, & C...). Cycling back to an earlier topic provides a review.
    • Disadvantages: this is not a sequence for ADHD learners. Disruption occurs as topics switch frequently, and the efficient management of resources is tough. This is like teaching 8 CTS modules at once. But it can work very well.
    • I created an example on the following page to help you understand this. It is also a model for content/sequencing in your instructional blueprint for your learning event (next assignment)…

Instructional Design


The Spiral Sequencing Strategy for

Developing a One Hour Class with this learning objective :)

The 1st Year Education Administration Masters student will learn the basics of Educational Technology Leadership over the term of this course



Human Resources


Education Finance

TopicC: Governance and Policy

K-12 Education


Salary Scales

In/out scope

ET support



Descriptions / tech

Skill capacities

Board/Teacher negotiation

Protocols for ET and IT

Purchasing, Maintenance and

Hiring / Support

Advertising in

Small markets:


Hiring Practices

And the Law:


Education Technology staff leadership:

Leadership Ethics, Service Law

Codes of Conduct and operational

Planning/implementation policies

Managing &

Planning :

ET staff

Development &

Hardware renewal


Development &

Supervision Planning

Leading and Forecasting with all stakeholders: Principals, schools and Boards. Organization Theory

Succession Planning, short

And long term forecasts,

Developing supporting policy

Evaluation policy and

Contingency planning. Policy Theory

HR Performance

Planning & renewal



Consultation with


Partners/ fund


Instructional Design

b 2 scoping strategies
B.2 Scoping Strategies
  • Scoping is concerned with WHAT to teach, not WHEN to teach it. It focuses on the nature of the content to be taught/learned. Scoping requires decisions about what the learner needs and / or wants to learn.
  • If you don’t teach the right content in your design, you miss the point of the needs and goal analysis and learners will not achieve the right learning outcome (in either training or education settings)
  • In training, scoping is easier - needs assessment will identify the performance gaps, task analysis can help you decide what tasks need process or transfer improvement, and you select the content and order the steps logically.
  • In K-12+, learning needs are vague and can be culture & context dependent - the benefits of instruction are harder to measure/see. Still WHAT is taught is important, and it should fill a gap in student knowledge or performance, based on your needs assessment and goal analysis.
  • TRAINING Context Content Considerations:
    • Organizational goals should match the content
    • Organizational and work / job requirements should match content
  • EDUCATION Context Content Considerations:
    • Needs are less clear, are culture dependent, students have their own interests and benefits may take years to realize. Curriculum is the guide but multimedia & constructivist praxis cause new scoping rules to be developed.

Instructional Design

part c

Elaboration Sequences

C.1 Task Expertise

C.2 Domain Expertise

C.3 The Conceptual Elaboration Sequence

C.4 The Theoretical Elaboration Sequence

C.5 The Simplifying Conditions Method (SCM)

  • How to design an SCM sequence

Instructional Design

c elaboration sequences
C. Elaboration Sequences
  • The concept of Elaboration sequences was founded on the idea that different sequencing strategies should be designed for different kinds of content (topics), and that different kinds of relationships with the content. (we can spiral lessons about the exploration (and comparison) of various European Governments, for example). For high expertise in this, systematic travel to similar (Education) departments in each country might occur, followed by another round of travel to the same countries to study a different department (Finance).
  • So the kind and level of expertise you expect from the lesson(s) or course (s) will vary depending on the kind of expertise you want to develop. (IE: are you training tax collectors the case above, or are you educating Federal Economists?).
  • Elaboration theorists define 2 kinds of expertise in elaboration:
    • 1. Task Expertise (learner becomes an expert in one task(tax collector)
    • 2. Domain Expertise (learner is an expert in a body of subject matter not tied to any one task (economics).

Instructional Design

c 1 elaboration sequence types task expertise
C.1 Elaboration Sequence TypesTask Expertise

Task Expertise:

  • The learner becomes an expert in a specific task.
    • Example: managing a project, writing an annual plan, selling a product, designing a module.
  • Elaboration theory only works to instruct complex tasks (Reigeluth, 1999). The simple-to-complex model (SCM) works well to train tax collectors or to educate PERL programmers.
  • As complex cognitive and psychomotor tasks are done well under different conditions, each set of conditions defines a different version of the task - and some versions are much more complex than others. So the SCM model starts with a simple (real world) version of the task and instruction leads to a complex version by progressing through more increasingly complex versions of the task.
    • Example: Solving equations with one unknown is easier to learn than solving with two unknowns for most learners. We try to start such instruction within the zone of development as designers.
  • Problems tackled should be within Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development - then the learner pushes beyond that.
  • Cause-effect relationships are established so the learner can understand and learn elements and combined element concepts, backing in and out of these relations offers abstract learning opportunity, analysis and synthesis.

Instructional Design


C.2 Elaboration Sequences: the 2 kinds of Domain Expertise

Domain Expertise:

  • The learner becomes an expert in a body of subject matter not tied to any specific task:
    • Examples: Economics, electronics, educational technology, law
  • Domain expertise ranges from simple to complex. Tax collectors can walk door to door, or help develop new GST systems. The idea is to design learning and teaching that goes from simple to complex. Start with the broadest, most inclusive ideas (social service exists because of tax collection and distribution). Gradually progress to more complex ideas (tax collection should not target the poor as much as the wealthy, then..). There are 2 types of domain expertise to consider in your sequencing of this kind of instruction:
  • Conceptual Domain Expertise: (understanding what). In simple form, these are concepts and principles (tax fuels the state for quality civil life). In complex form, these are concept maps (of tax, welfare and GDP).
  • Theoretical Domain Expertise: (understanding why). In simple form, these are models for understanding (no tax, no hospitals). In complex form, these are intellectual models that explain real phenomena. General to specific sequencing is still recommended for this type of learning / mastery.

Instructional Design

c 3 the conceptual elaboration sequence
C. 3 TheConceptualElaboration Sequence
  • Concepts are groupings or classes of objects, events, or ideas and can be broken down into narrower, less inclusive concepts. The classification of groupings is key to the design. People tend to store a new concept under broader, more inclusive terms until they “get into” it and learn the new concept well.
  • So a conceptual elaboration sequence is really created by a designer to give the learner (cognitive) scaffolding - to stage learning to progress from simple to complex events.
  • Using this model, your instructional design leads to a teaching event where learning occurs first from the (most inclusive) to narrow (less inclusive but more detailed) concepts.
    • Example: Teach “finder” skills in Windows before teaching “Word” application skills. If the student wishes to “mine down” and do more detailed learning, they can “mine” until they need instruction to proceed toward success or mastery. Your (elaboration) design can have “branches” to accommodate this self-directed study.
  • Does not violate the notion of learning prerequisites because higher level concepts contain prerequisites for concepts below them.
  • (hint: how do you find the “most broad” and “most narrow” concepts s that you can create a conceptual structure or hierarchy? Use Inspiration software and you’ll find that the bigger categories have many more lines emanating out from them).

Instructional Design

c 4 the theoretical elaboration sequence
C. 4 TheTheoreticalElaboration Sequence
  • Intended for courses that focus on interrelated sets of principles which are elaborations on each other (e.g., how & why something works not how it works).

Example: A course on why audio conference software works, as opposed to a course on how audio conference software works.

  • A model intended for courses that start with the broadest, most general principles (usually the simplest) with gradual progression to narrower, more precise principles (usually more complex).
    • Example:
    • Broad concept: Oil and gas reservoir simulation can greatly improve profit.
      • 1st design course: Principles of Oil and Gas Reservoir Simulation
      • 2nd design course: Oil and Gas Reservoir Simulation/Production Optimization.
      • 3rd design seminar : Maximizing Oil Well productivity using Simulation Results - How to produce the most oil when the price is highest.

Instructional Design

To TOPIC Start

c 5 the simplifying conditions method
C. 5 TheSimplifying ConditionsMethod
  • The SCM method (simplifying conditions method) of elaboration offers guidance for analyzing, selecting and sequencing the “what to learn” content.
  • This approach is considered more holistic - the instruction process begins with a simple task that is rather representative of the whole, and teaches progressively more complex versions - making sure the learner is aware of the other versions.
  • (This is the exact opposite of the hierarchical approach to sequencing, where all prerequisites are taught first and the real-world task is taught at the end of the process).
  • How to Design an SCM Method
    • Phase I – Prepare for Analysis & Design
    • Phase II – Identify the First Learning Episode
    • Phase III – Identify the next Learning Episode

Instructional Design

a recipe for designing an scm sequence detail
A Recipe for designing an SCM sequence (detail)
  • Preparation for analysis and Design
    • Establish rapport with the SME (subject matter expert)
    • Identify the characteristics of the task in general
    • Identify the characteristics of the learners in general
    • Identify the delivery constraints of the instruction in general
  • Identify the First Learning Event
    • Help the SME to outline the simplest version of the task for you, this might be the simplest task process or simplest way of learning the task.
  • Organize the content for this version of the task
    • If this is a procedural task, do a task analysis to determine entry level steps and substeps.
    • If this is a not a procedural task,
      • set the goals for the task (what must be done or learned in this task)
      • Outline the constraints for attaining each goal (time, money, strength, patience)
      • Identify subcategories containing causes for the constraints
        • (the amount of time, the amount of money, weakness caused by worker fatigue)

Identify guidelines an expert uses to perform this version of the task, so the cause of the limitation is overcome and performance happens.

Instructional Design

a recipe for designing an scm sequence summary my examples are in red
A Recipe for designing an SCM sequence (summary)(my examples are in red)
  • Create a model that describes all learning objectives involved in performing the task
    • Waxing a car well means that you must prepare the car, know the weather, and have good materials to leave the car shiny and protected.
  • Identify the learning goals for this version of the task under these conditions
    • The student will be able to wax and protect a care well.
  • Identify all important considerations or limitations / helping factors for attaining each goal (in the instructional world).
    • The student will need equipment: Water, Wax, two soft seamless rags, Turtle 432 Wax, light, a sunny day or a garage, and temperature of between +10C and +30C. The student must have good arm mobility and vision.
  • Identify the causal factors for each limitation / helping factor in (3).
    • Equipment is essential to the task for without good equipment and weather, and a flexibly body, the wax cannot set and the car cannot be polished well.
  • Analyze the causal factors to identify guidelines or prescriptive principles that an expert uses for this version of the task. Also identify all decision rules an expert uses to combine the guidelines into a (top) performance model.
    • You must have a flexible body to do this task. Wash the car well, and let it dry well. No dust should be in the air. 2. Get use only Turtle 432 Wax, and do not apply wax in the direct sun. 3. Apply wax to rag, not to car, and rub in circles with the seamless rag so as not to scratch the new wax on the car. 4. If the temperature outside is below 10C or higher than 40C, stop waxing as the wax will smear and not shine. 5. Allow was to dry for exactly 15 minutes. 6. Wipe with another similar clean rag until there is no swirl on the car left from the circular wiping motion.
  • Identify explanations as to why each of the guidelines works and combine the explanations into explanatory models.
    • An able body lets the person apply wax in smooth motions, to all areas of the car. Turtle wax is the best wax to use because it allows work in most temperatures, even in some sun. The car must be clean and dry for the seamless rag and polishing motions to leave no streaks on the car. Black cars look better in the shade.

Instructional Design


Hierarchical Task Analysis and Sequencing from Reigeluth: See the animated slides I sent you to notice the top-down analysis (Epitomizing) and bottom-up sequencing (Elaboration) process in action.


Hierarchical AnalysisHierarchical Sequencing

Complexity of SUB SKILLS

Diversity of SUB SKILLS

Instructional Design

t ask a nalysis and s equencing with scm
Task Analysis and Sequencing with SCM


Complexity of TASK

Diversity of TASK

Instructional Design


Part to whole/Simple to Complex(Sub skills to main skills)

Simple to Complex(simple task to complex task)

Task Analysis should be done prior to sequencing as separate task.

Task Analysis and sequencing can be done simultaneously –the prototype can be developed rapidly.

Facilitates the learning of higher-order skills.

From the very first lesson it provides1) the flavor of the whole task2) a simple but applicable skill, and3) enhanced motivation

Guidelines: Skills, tasks and issues for designers when

Using elaboration theory to design using the SCM method

Conceptual Map

Complexity of SUB SKILLS

Complexity of TASK

Diversity of TASK

Diversity of SUB SKILLS

Underlying Logic



A guide for blueprinting or sketching how you Scope and Sequence your Content in an Instructional Design:Epitomizing and Elaborating

The SCM (for both procedural and holistic tasks) has of two parts:

1. Epitomizing: the process of identifying the simplest version of a task (learning or doing) that is fairly representative of the task.

  • Example: If we are to learn about finance, we can first learn about simple sales, expenses and revenue transactions.

2. Elaborating: the process of identifying progressively more complex versions of the task.

Hint: This process is a good guide for your design work, and you can use it to help with the next assignment. For example, when you are presenting the instructional flow of for your next assignment, you can use these concepts as supporting rationale for “why” you made the instructional decisions you made about the content (scope) and order of instruction (sequence) in your lesson. Be sure to reference the Reigeluth text.

Instructional Design

epitomizing then elaborating
Epitomizing, then Elaborating
  • The principles of epitomizing are based on holistic learning schema building (Reigeluth), using:
    • A whole version of the task rather than a simpler component skill;
    • A simple version of the task;
    • A real-world version of the task (if possible); and
    • A typical or version of the task
  • The epitome version of the task is performed by experts under restricted (but real-world) conditions, called simplifying conditions. (This is the learner’s view of the Zoomed-Out or Wide Angle picture: “let me get a feel for this, thinks the learner)
  • The principles of elaborating are similarly based on the notions of holistic learning and assimilation-to-schema. So each subsequent elaboration should be:
    • 1. Another whole version of the task
    • 2. A slightly more complex version of the task
    • 3. Equally authentic, or more so and
    • 4. A little less typical of the the whole task.

(This is the learner’s view of the Zoomed-in or narrow Angle picture: “Let me try this, and get better at its, thinks the listener)

Instructional Design





Black Bear

Polar Bear

Grizzly Bear

C. 2 The General-to-Detailed Continuum- if “Animal knowledge” is the learning goal and “Epitome” of this content can be presented by an expert. Then, the “elaborated parts or details ” that make up the epitome can be diagrammed. From (Reigeluth).









Instructional Design

elaboration model steps
Elaboration Model: Steps
  • Present an Epitome (a single type of content that is a shining example of the content to be learned) “We will know more about animals”
    • Present a motivational strategy to get people learning
    • Present an analogy to situate the learner with the task at hand
    • Present the organizing content ideas, preceded by the learning prerequisites
    • Offer in-lesson summarizer and synthesizer (review and examples of the excellent content)
  • Begin Level 1 Elaboration
    • This is zooming in the first time. These lessons present all the features of instruction (1-4) we did in the epitome, but for a smaller part (chunk) of the content “We will know that reptiles, mammals and birds make up the animal world”.
  • Begin Level 2 Elaboration
    • Once level 1 mastery occurs, make level 2 lessons available to the learner. Each level 2 lesson is identical to level one lessons, but Level 2 lessons elaborate on an aspect of the organizing content in Level 1. These lessons present all the features of instruction (1-4) we did in the epitome, but for a smaller part (chunk) of the content “We will learn that dogs, bears and whales make up the mammal group, lizards, turtles and iggzes make up the reptile group ;-) and eagles, falcons and swallows make up the bird group”.
    • And so it goes…

Instructional Design