Instructional systems design solves problems and makes decision making easier in the course of training. Instructional design models are based on theories of learning with each model designed through the analysis of the requirements of training, design of the program to meet the needs of learning, development of the model, actual implementation of the design model and evaluation of the model to measure the success or failure of the program. The process of designing materials for instruction is creatively done in order to synthesize practice, theory and research into the learning process. Adult education has increased with the need of adults for career advancement, promotion, training on the job among other advanced learning. This paper acknowledges that the increased need for adult education requires a similar use of strategy of instructional models that allows adults to adequately benefit from the learning process as well as address their needs.
The Adult Education Model for Instructional Design
There are many models of adult education which are based on the characteristics of adult learners. They differ in their theories which include cognitive and behavioral theories among others as well as in their implementation. This study focuses on the adult education model suggested by Dean (1994). The Adult Education Model for Instructional Design is an instructional design model for adult learning. The model is aimed at helping adult educators in the process of developing the instructional activities that best suit the adult learners and make it engaging to them. The model consists of needs assessment through gathering of information, designing of the necessary instruction and the assessment or evaluation of the instructional plan process.
The gathering of information requires that the educator assesses his/her knowledge and skills and the content development by evaluating the content that is to be learnt to ensure that the educator has comprehensive knowledge of the same. It entails getting to know the adult learner which involves getting to know their ages, careers, interests in the course to be learnt, expectations from the learning as well as their level of knowledge of the content that is to be learnt. It also involves understanding the context within which learning is to take place, for example, the context in the training of nurses and that of the business-oriented fields are bound to be different and hence the educator has to be able to adequately apply the content to the context appropriately (Dean, 1994). The next phase of the model involves designing the instruction which consists of the goals and objectives of the learning process, the activities the learner is going to engage in and the mode of assessing the learners to establish their gain from the process of learning (Seels & Glasgow, 1998). The last phase of the model involves the evaluation of the instruction process. As Dean (1994) asserts, this is accomplished through a review of the instruction plan and how its development with the identification of the modifications is to be done.
Model’s Congruence with ISD Principles
The model is congruent with the ISD principles especially regarding adult education.
The process is learner-centered through the needs assessment of their characteristics and the modes of activities they desire to engage in (Dean, 1994). The model also presents goals and objectives of the learning with congruence being established between the objectives and goals and the instruction as well as the evaluation (Seels & Glasgow, 1998). The design of the instruction considers the needs of the learner and the context of the learning. Additionally, the assessment process is based on the goals of the learning and makes use of the appropriate techniques in order to ensure that the assessment carried out is adequate. The model also considers the strategies of instruction at the macro and micro levels of learning (Dean, 1994).
Strengths and Weaknesses of the Model
The model derives its strength from its congruence with the ISD principles.
It is predictive and encourages the adult learners to participate in the learning process. It is flexible in the context of instructional planning. This is because it allows for the development of the instructions based on the learners and context. As a result, this model can be applied in various contexts and fields of adult learning such as social service agencies, community colleges, basic and literacy education for adults, health education, higher education, business context, and community education institutions (Dean, 1994).
While this model has a variety of strengths, some weaknesses are also present. These include the fact that the model is predictive in phases yet behavior responses are not predictable. It also considers little communication with the learner. This limits the characteristics of adult learners who prefer being actively involved and aware of the instruction process to ensure that they agree and perceive it as being able to meet their needs in life (Seels & Glasgow, 1998).
The adult education model under discussion has been widely applied in the fields of adult education even as the desire for adults to learn increases.
This paper has evaluated the adult education instruction model in terms of its purpose, methods, tasks, output, congruence with ISD principles and its strengths and weaknesses.
Dean, G. J. (1994). Designing instruction for adult learners. Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Company.
Seels, B., & Glasgow, Z. (1998).
Making Instructional Design Decisions (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.