Instructional Systems Design: Definition, Types, Components & Stages

Instruction System design is a systematic formal approach towards developing training courses. It is used for assessing and developing courses and solutions that are needed for formal training. The systematic approach means it is based on a framework and systems approach to designing courses for training delivery.

Here, the goals of the training are carefully determined often from various types of assessments of the learners. Goals are established to address the results of the assessments, various methods of training and learning are developed and designed to achieve those goals. Evaluation plans are also established to measure the quality of the training and the extent to achieve the goals.

Training Courses

Applying Instructional System Design in designing and developing a course keeps Instructional Designers (IDs) a learner-centered rather than a traditional teacher-centered approach to instruction so that effective learning can take place. This systematic approach ensures an effective learning process grounded on learning objectives. The most popular ISD is the ADDIE model, the acronym stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of learning material and activities.

The ADDIE model is an iterative instructional design process, where the results of the formative evaluation of each phase may lead the instructional designer back to any previous phase. The end product of one phase is the starting product of the next phase. The phases are dynamic, flexible, effective, and efficient but sometimes overlapping and interrelated.

Components of Instructional Systems Design

The four-component instructional design (4C/ID) model claims that four components are necessary to realize complex learning:

  1. Learning tasks,
  2. Supportive information,
  3. Procedural information, and
  4. Part-task practice. 

Types of Instructional Systems Design (ISD)

There are seven different types of instructional design models that are commonly used. Let us see these basic types.


ADDIE is the most important and best five-stage process that provides guidelines to create effective training material. It stands for Analyse, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate.

  1. Analyze: The objective of this step is to understand the goals and objectives for the learning material, requirements, needs, skills, and knowledge of the learners.
  2. Design: In this step, we identify the learning objectives such as the knowledge that the learners must gain and the learning outcomes.
  3. Development: The output from the design phase is used here to start developing the course. The course is released/rolled out, delivered, to the learners, and its impact is monitored.
  4. Implementation: In this step, the courses that are developed till now are implemented.
  5. Evaluate: This stage involves taking the feedback on the courses like the course providing the expected results. 

Instructional System Design Map

2. Merrill’s Principles of Instruction

This framework integrates five principles of learning, namely:

  1. Task-centered principle
  2. Activation principle
  3. Demonstration principle
  4. Application principle
  5. Integration principle 

3. Gagne’s Nine Events of Instructions

According to this instructional design model, there are four phases of learning – 

  1. Activation: Learning material should activate the knowledge the learner already has on the subject matter.     This helps them use it as a foundation to digest new knowledge.
  2. Demonstration: The trainer/ teacher should demonstrate the knowledge through techniques such as video demos, infographics, etc.
  3. Application: Learners should be allowed to apply the knowledge they have gathered on their own to solve problems.
  4. Integration: Learners should be encouraged to integrate new knowledge into their life and use it to solve problems. 

4. Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a hierarchical ordering of cognitive skills. The original sequence of cognitive skills was Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. But in the revised version there are six levels of cognitive learning according to Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Each level is conceptually different. The six levels are remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. The below pic provide good details for all these  6 levels.

Bloom's Taxonomy

5. Dick and Carey Model

The Dick & Carey instructional design model (AKA the Systems Approach Model) is a nine-step process for planning and designing effective learning initiatives. It includes all five stages of the ADDIE model but adds further depth and structure as well. These nine steps are as follows:

  1. Identify instructional goals
  2. Conduct instructional analysis
  3. Identify entry behaviors
  4. Write performance objectives
  5. Develop criterion tests
  6. Develop instruction strategy
  7. Develop and select instructional materials
  8. Develop and conduct formative evaluation
  9. Develop and conduct a summative evaluation
  10. Ongoing Revision

6. Kemp Design Model

The Kemp Design Model consists of nine steps:

  1. Identify instructional problems and specify goals for designing an instructional program.
  2. Examine learner characteristics that should receive attention during planning.
  3. Identify subject content and analyze task components related to stated goals and purposes.
  4. State instructional objectives for the learner.
  5. Sequence content within each instructional unit for logical learning.
  6. Design instructional strategies so that each learner can master the objectives.
  7. Plan the instructional message and delivery.
  8. Develop evaluation instruments to assess objectives.
  9. Select resources to support instruction and learning activities.

7. Action Mapping by Cathy Moore

Action mapping is a streamlined process to design training in the business world. Its goal is to help designers:

  • Commit to measurably improving the performance of the business
  • Identify the best solution to the performance problem
  • When training is necessary, create realistic practice activities, not information presentations.

Action Mapping

The Action Mapping model includes four points or steps that create the backbone of your action map for e-Learning course creation:

  1. Identify the business goal,
  2. Identify what people need to do,
  3. Design practice activities and
  4. Identify what people really need to know.


It is difficult to answer about Instructional design but it is considered both Science and Art. It’s a science because it follows a set of theories and methods and it is very much concerned with inputs and outputs to achieve the learning objective. It is also called an “art” because it requires and demands the creation of an instructional designer.

As we have also discussed above in our article it is an entire process of analysis and identifying the learning needs and goals and the development of a learning system or strategy to meet the objectives. I hope we have covered all the important aspects of Instructional System Design.

After working 5 years as a Software Analyst in reputed MNC, Rebecca decided to settle down and work from home. Having an expertise in business & being a life motivator, she loves to share similar stuff on our website by the means of her articles.