Book Review
Reigeluth, C. M., & Carr-Chellman, A. A. (2010). Instructional-Design Theories and Models, Volume III: Building a Common Knowledge Base: 3 (1 edition.). Routledge. 429 pp.
Details of the Book
In Volume III of Instructional-Design Theories and Models, Charles M. Reigeluth and Alison A. Carr-Chellman have compiled 18 chapters from diverse group of authors including
Alexander Romiszowski, Alison Chellman, Andrew Gibbons, Barbara Bichelmeyer, Brian Beaty, C.Victor Bunderson, Charles Reigeluth, David Monetti, David Willey, Emily Hixon, James Marken, John Hummel, John Savery Joyce Gibson, Kay Seo, Lee Lindsey, Mark Mcconkie, Martha Wiske, Melanie Misanchuk, Nancy Berger, P.Clint Rogers, Reo H.Mcbride, Tamara Harris, and William Huitt as follow up to their Volume II of Instructional-Design Theories and Models: A New Paradigm of Instructional Theory. In their introduction, the editors describe how they became increasingly concerned about the way instructional theorists work in isolation with little attention to what already exists and suggests building a common knowledge base about instruction with a consistent terminology. The book consists of four units: Unit 1 offers some systematic plan to understand the common knowledge base about instruction, Unit 2 studies five major approaches to instruction mainly direct-instruction, discussion, experiential, problem-based, and simulation, Unit 3 explains four major outcomes of instruction including skill, development, understanding, affective development, and integrated learning outcomes, and Unit 4 presents useful ideas for building a common knowledge base about instruction. The first edition of the book was published by Routledge in April 2, 2010 and has 429 pages.

Background of the Authors/ Editors
Charles Reigeluth is a professor in the Instructional Systems Technology Department at Indiana University, and is a past chairman of the department. His research focuses on systemic change in public education and the design of high quality instruction. He has published eight books and over ninety articles and chapters on those subjects, and two of his books received an “outstanding book of the year” award from the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). He has also received the “Distinguished Service” award from AECT and the “Honored Alumnus” award from Brigham Young University’s School of Education. Charlie is a major developer of knowledge about facilitating the systemic change process in public school districts, and is the major developer of several instructional design theories, including the elaboration theory and simulation theory. He has a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Instructional Psychology from Brigham Young University. He taught science at the secondary level for three years. He views helping to raise three wonderful children as his most rewarding accomplishment, but helping schools to attain dramatic improvements is his passion.
Alison A.Carr-Chellman is a professor of instructional systems at Pennsylvania State University in the Department of Learning and Performance Systems. She received a B.S. and an M.S. from Syracuse University. She taught elementary school, community education, and worked as an interactional designer for McDonnell Douglas before returning to Indiana University to earn her doctorate. She is the author of more than 100 publications including two books, many book chapters, and a wide variety of refereed and non-refereed journal articles. Her research interests are diffusion of innovations, systemic school change, e-learning, systems theory, and design theory (p. 3).
Description of the Purpose
The purpose of volume II of the Instructional Design Theories and Models was to customize learning by using diverse theories that promotes learner initiative, responsibility, teamwork, thinking skills, and meta-cognitive skills and to encourage instructional theorists to work on different domains mainly cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. Moreover, the focus of the book was to explain, that we need a new paradigm of instructional theory to provide a guidelines about when and how learners should be given the project/ problem, should work on authentic problem, should utilize sound methods and advanced technologies to reach appropriate standards.
In volume III, with emphasizing on the need of a new paradigm of instructional theory, the authors intend to convince readers and consumer of research in Instructional design theory to communicate more with fellow researcher and theorists to build a common knowledge base with a common use of terms. Moreover, Volume III addresses the developmental stages of instructional design theory and highlights useful learner-centered instructional strategies for effective learning in the information age.
Evaluation of the Book
In Unit 1, editors of the book highly recommend to read this unit first. By reading through the chapters of this unit we realized the intentions and rationale of the editors to clearly refer the readers to the most known theories and principles which are necessary to understand the rest of this book. It clearly describes the nature of theories related to instruction and differentiates between design theory and descriptive theories (p. 7). The authors also introduce six major kinds of instructional design-theories and emphasis on the interrelationships among all of them (p.11). The Unit also refers to “layers of design” discussed by Gibbons and Rogers to distinct between instructional theory and instructional design theory. Their instructional design theory which is in congruent with Reigeluth and Car-chellman‘s “instructional event theory” describes various instructional models and offers guidelines for choosing appropriate models. Unit 1 is mostly authored by Reigeluth and two other editors except for chapter 3, which is authored by M. David Merrill. In chapter 1 on Understanding Instructional Theory Reigeluth and Carr-Chellman define the instruction as “anything that is done purposely to facilitate learning” (p. 3) and if “instruction is to foster any learning at all, it must foster construction” (p. 6). The editors connect wisely chapter 1 to chapter 2 on Understanding Instruction to describe categories of constructs about instructional situations and methods which later will be a help to the readers for analyzing and designing instruction. In chapter 3 Merrill presents First Principles of Instruction. Five principles include demonstration, application, task-centered, activation, and integration which are used through the book by other authors to compare and contrast their theories. Chapter 4 presents situational principles and how they may affect the precision of instruction.
Unit 2 Theories for Different Approaches presents the common knowledge base within systems of methods, instructional approach, and learning outcomes. It describes five different approaches mainly Direct, discussion, experiential, problem-based, and simulation. The goal of this chapter is to introduce readers with abovementioned approaches to compare and contrast with each other and to find more feasible methods for classroom applications. Again, each chapter of this Unit is decorated with editors’ forewords to successfully delineate learning goals, instructional methods, universal methods, and situational principles for each respective approach.
Unit 3 of this book, Theories for Different Outcomes of Instruction, includes four chapters to explore skill development, understanding, affective development, and integrated learning across domains and analyze the current knowledge about each respective instruction. The unit’s chapters are agreed with the notion of Bloom’s traditional learning outcomes namely cognitive, psychomotor, and affective in that each learning outcomes has elements of all three domains, but each requires very different methods from other type of learning. In chapter 10, Romiszowski differentiates skill from knowledge and for a skilled performance he suggests (1) “to acquire knowledge of what should be done, (2) to execute the actions, (3) to transfer control from the eyes to other senses, (4) to automate the skill, and (5) to generalize the skill. Wiskie and Beatty in chapter 11 approach critically the traditional notion of instructional system design that rejects the understanding as a learning objective and put emphasis on the understanding as a performance capability (p.195). However authors in chapters 10, 11, 12 emphasize and augment specific domain as their method of instruction, but in chapter 13, Brian Beatty put emphasis on unified learning across various domains of learning and presents theme-based instruction. Brian Beatty explains that “skills, understandings, and emotional development are all bundled together in real-life learning.
Unit 4, Tools for Building a Common Knowledge Base, introduces 5 chapters including architecture of instructional theory, domain theory, learning objects and instructional theory, theory building, and instructional theory for education in the information age. The different tools presented in this Unit help to advance in instructional-event theory. In chapter 14, Andrew S.Gibbons addresses about effective instructional theory and suggests that “different features of a design should be related to different, local, instructional theories” (p.307). They distinguish two kinds of theory mainly instructional theory and instructional design theory what Reigeluth and Car-Chellman discuss in chapter1and compare and contrast them with each other. The goal of this chapter is to clearly stress the important of understanding the architecture of instructional theory which will take us through a better design. Chapter 15 goes on to explain in particular the methods associated with quantitative domain mapping. Creation of instruction from existing components is discussed in chapter 16 Learning Objects and Instructional Theory. The last two chapters of Unit particularly explain different approaches to generating theories and building a common language and knowledge base that should serve the broader educational system.
The editors of this book take us to a journey in instructional design Universe which consists of four galaxies each of which is in connection with the other through many overlapping areas. It explains the main theory or solid framework for understanding instructional theory through four chapters which are very crucial to consumers of instructional design theory. There are many compelling ideas in this unit that might be helpful especially for graduate students to have a comprehensive insight into definition of instruction and understand the nature of knowledge base related to instruction. Especially interesting is that authors explain many of these difficult conceptions in a way which build a schematic in mind. The reading of the book and connecting the ideas might be a bit difficult first, but the more readers are introduced to subjects by different authors, the less effort may need to connect between different kinds of theories related to instruction. This can be seen, for example, where the authors explain the difference between design theory and descriptive theory (p.7) and the interrelationships among all parts which is explained later in layers of design in chapter 14 by Gibbons and Rogers. Adding first principles of instruction as a section to understand instructional theories helps reader to identify that many of theories discussed in this book incorporates to some extent these principles too. Also, the notion of situational principles (chapter 4) as instructional guideline to approach high quality in learning emphasizes on the importance of context in educational environment. To understand the framework for instructional theories readers need to put some efforts to clearly connect the ideas broached in this unit. These ideas are very essential for classifying instructional constructs as well as for designing instruction.
Practitioners may be beneficiary of explicitly described methods in Unit 2. By reading these chapters instructional designers may design useful lesson plans. Because the methodology is based on the theory, one can find specific information for each approach in this unit. For example when to use the theory, what content and context should be considered, what instructional methods should be used , how universal methods should be involved ( presentation phase, practice phase, evaluation phase, and the feedback phase), and how situational principles put emphasis on the importance of the context. There is much content of value in this Unit which definitely can be significant not only for consumers of research but also practicing teachers. For instance, direct instructional can be useful to increase instructional effectiveness in an accountable education system, discussion approach to instruction incorporates student experiences in to the learning process rather than relying strictly on content presentation (p. 69), experiential instruction emphasizes on this type of learning as learner-centered, authentic, self-directed with expectation failure, in problem based approach to instruction students learn from solving problems, or simulation-based instruction with its specific affordances provides learning opportunity that otherwise is not possible to purse.
The editors decidedly go back to the root of instructional design theory in Unit 3and standing on the shoulder of pioneers such as Blooms once again reminds us of his learning taxonomies and three different domains mainly cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. Despite the importance of ideas presented in theme-based instruction which basically address that “integrated learning replicates real life in which domains are indeed integrated and present themselves as complex mixtures of many domains often centered on a particular theme” (p. 196), I found the notion of understanding as a “performance capability” was a compelling idea. The idea is interesting because understanding as a learning outcome was always a vague concept to many educators. But now, educators found out that teaching for understanding is applicable, across subject matter, grades level, and context (p.229). This chapter may help the practitioners to build common knowledge base about how to teach for understanding. Moreover, such a framework becomes more necessary with the use of new technologies to make sure that it support better teaching and learning. The four chapters in Unit 3 examine how to achieve a desired performance through different method with or without technology.
And finally in unit 4 editors offer us tools for building a common knowledge base. The chapters of this Unit present conceptual and mental tools for us to develop our own instructional theory. The unit reviews some conceptual terms presented in Unit 1. Gibbons and Rogers present their architecture of instructional theory. Their argument is in concurrent with Reigeluth and An in that instructional design principles are like the most obvious external features of the house and not the foundation. In the last two chapters Reigeluth and An address different approaches to generate theory. In unit 1 they discussed descriptive and design theory and in chapter 17 they encourage us to develop both for the furthering of instructional theory. They advocate a multiple perspectives or eclecticism which is a functionalist view of design theory, a view that supports using whatever functions best. The idea also supports functional contextualism a view that recognizes that what works best will vary from one situation to another (p.369). In conclusion of this chapter they give us four approaches to building design theory: data-based (or grounded), value-based, method-based, and practitioner-led theory construction. And finally the last chapter of this book which I think is very important chapter focuses on building a common language and knowledge to serve the broader educational system. The authors in chapter give us a perspective of 21th century education and how society’s educational needs have been changing and continue to change. The information-age educational system is learner-centered and “founded on principles of customization and diversity, initiative and self-direction, collaboration and emotional development, and holism and integration that are core of information-age educational needs” (p. 303).
The editors of this volume present an important discussion of instructional theories and models. It is an ambitious feat of synthesis, encompassing diverse theories that help to develop a common knowledge base about instruction. The book is very successful to introduce people in the instructional design field, especially graduate students to grasp a holistic idea about constructs and terminology. Authors’ effort in most cases to transmit these practical and theoretical issues will be highly appreciated by the readers. Especially noteworthy are the followings: (1) editors’ foreword for each chapter outlines the major ideas presented in that chapter. It may also serve as a quick overview to connect ideas presented in other chapters. I found this section very helpful especially for graduate students who are eager to know the similarity of principles used in each theory. (2) Moreover, many chapters in this book are accompanied with charts, images, advance-organizers, coaching, and guided practices. These features help in the learning and retention of meaningful verbal material. (3) Many links have been added by the authors to guide the practitioners to useful samples and information regarding instructional methods and design.
As mentioned above, many features of this book have been organized to keep the internal consistency together. The style and the language used to explain the theories and concepts are appropriate for researchers, graduate students, and other practitioners in instructional design.
In conclusion to this review, I go back to editors’ position in which they explain about the way instructional theorists work in isolation with little attention to what already exists and suggest building a common knowledge base about instruction with a consistent terminology, I see that there are distinguishable discrepancies among many authors and practitioners in this field which is visible in the Results of the Delphi study (p. 17-24). I hope the Editors’ ideas can be validated in other contexts, for example in non-western education systems, and come to a consensus to build a new paradigm of instructional theory.