The next section of your design document is the Instructional Strategy. This is where you outline the instructional activities you want to present to your learners to help them achieve your goal. Dick and Carey use the term Instructional Strategy to describe the process of sequencing and organizing content, specifying learning activities, and deciding how to deliver the content and activities. An instructional strategy can perform several functions:

  • It can be used as a prescription to develop instructional materials.
  • It can be used as a set of criteria to evaluate existing materials.
  • It can be used as a set of criteria and a prescription to revise existing materials.
  • It can be used as a framework from which to plan class lecture notes, interactive group exercises, and homework assignments.

The creation of an instructional strategy is an important part of the overall instructional design process. Gagne calls the planning and analysis steps the "architecture" of the course, while the instructional strategies are the "bricks and mortar". This is where you deal with how to actually instruct the student. Previous steps in the instructional design process have deliberately left out any discussion of how the instruction would be done.

At this point you have to combine your knowledge of learning and design theory in order to create an effective plan for presenting your instruction. To create the instructional strategy you will call upon all of the information you've gathered during the earlier design stages, including the goal statement, instructional analysis, learner and context analyses, objectives, and assessment items. After creating your instructional strategy you will then be ready to begin developing your instructional materials. Dick and Carey describe four elements of an instructional strategy:

  1. Content Sequence and Clustering
  2. Learning Components
  3. Student Groupings
  4. Selection of Media and Delivery Systems

Included within the Learning Components element are Gagne's Nine Events of Instruction, a set of strategies that should be included in most instructional programs in order to facilitate the acquisition of skills and knowledge. They are designed to help learners get from where they are to where you want them to be. The nine events are:

  1. Gaining attention
  2. Informing learner of objectives
  3. Stimulating recall of prior learning
  4. Presenting the stimulus material
  5. Providing learning guidance
  6. Eliciting the performance
  7. Providing feedback about performance correctness
  8. Assessing the performance
  9. Enhancing retention and transfer

When creating an instructional strategy, Dick and Carey suggest following a slightly different sequence. Their process has five phases:

  1. Sequence and cluster objectives.

  2. Plan preinstructional, assessment, and follow-though activities for the unit.

  3. Plan the content presentations and student participation sections for each objective or cluster of objectives.

  4. Assign objectives to lessons and estimate the time required for each.

  5. Review the strategy to consolidate media selections and confirm or select a delivery system.

Once you have an instructional strategy you will have a prescriptive plan to guide the development of your multimedia program.

Click below if you'd like more information about the Instructional Strategy.

More Information

Multimedia Design Document: Sections 8

In this lesson you will attempt to identify ways to present your instruction to your learners. Look back over all the instructional design work you've done up to this point, and use that information to construct a strategy for presenting your instruction. To help you through the process, we have created a template for you to use in developing your own instructional strategy. It is a Word file containing pre-formatted charts that you can just fill in with your instructional strategy information. This should make it easier for you to keep up with the requirements and easier for us to grade.

Link to Instructional Strategy Template

Once you have the template downloaded, perform the following steps to create your instructional strategy:

Step 1: Sequence and Cluster Objectives

The first thing to decide is how you will cluster and sequence your objectives. Begin by determining the sequence that your objectives will be addressed in your instructional program. Then, group them together in logical clusters based on how you will present the information. You may present your information one objective at a time, or you may prefer to present information on several objectives together. Since you will likely be creating just a single lesson you may only have one cluster. If so, you will still need to indicate the order in which you will address your objectives. However, you may want to have small groupings of objectives connected by some sort of practice activities. Remember to consider both the sequence and the size of clusters that are appropriate for the attention span of your learners and the time you have available. Use the first chart in the instructional strategy template to indicate the clusters you will have along with the objectives you will cover within each cluster. Be sure to include all of your objectives. Also, indicate the time you feel will be needed to cover the objectives in each cluster. If you need more room simply add cells to the table.

Step 2: Preinstructional, Assessment, and Follow-Through Activities

In this section indicate what you will do with regards to preinstructional, assessment, and follow-through activities. Here's a quick rundown of what to include:

  1. Preinstructional Activities
    1. Motivation - Explain how you will gain learners' attention and maintain it throughout the program.
    2. Objectives - Explain how you will inform the learners about what they will be able to do when they finish your program.

  2. Assessment
    1. Pretest - Explain whether you will test for entry behaviors and what you will do if a learner does not have them. Explain also whether you will pretest for skills you will teach.
    2. Posttest - Explain when and where the posttest will be administered.

  3. Follow-Through Activities
    1. Memory Aid - Describe any memory aids that will be developed to facilitate retention of information and skills.
    2. Transfer - describe and special factors to be employed to facilitate performance transfer.

Because you will be creating a multimedia program, your pretest and posttest assessments will most likely be given to learners independently of the program, perhaps in a classroom using a paper and pencil test (that is, unless you want to write the coding necessary to administer tests and store the results electronically). Other than the assessments, though, the program you create should be able to stand on its own. This means that you should have preinstructional and follow-through activities embedded within the program (i.e. provide motivation, inform the learners of the objectives, recall prior information, encourage transfer of new skills, etc.).

The second chart in the template has all of the necessary section headings. In particular, when thinking about the motivation aspect of your preinstructional activities, consider each of the components of Keller's ARCS Model. If you recall, the ARCS Model is a method for improving the motivational appeal of instructional materials. The acronym ARCS stands for:


= Attention
= Relevance
= Confidence
= Satisfaction

Step 3: Content Presentation and Student Participation

In this section you will indicate the content to be presented for each objective or cluster of objectives, along with the activities you will have your students participate in. This is where you describe exactly what information, concepts, rules, and principles need to be presented to the learner. This section also describes how you will elicit learner participation through practice and feedback. For each instructional chunk, your students should be actively involved in doing things that will help them learn.

There are ten charts for you to use in the template for your content and activities. If you need fewer than ten you can simply delete the extras. If you need more than ten use the copy and paste functions in Word to duplicate one of the blank tables. If you need help you may want to refer to the examples in the Dick and Carey book beginning on page 217, and also in Appendix F. In addition, you may want to review Gagne's Conditions of Learning to help you devise appropriate instructional strategies.

Step 4: Assign Objectives to Lessons

Since you will be developing a multimedia program you will probably only have one lesson. In fact, your entire multimedia program will most likely be used as part of a larger classroom lesson. For that reason we'll skip this step.

Step 5: Consolidate Media Selections and Choose a Delivery System

Your delivery system has already been determined, so there's not really any need to make a choice here. However, we would like you to describe the authoring program you will be using to develop your instructional project. Also, describe how you plan to deliver the final product. Will it be delivered via the Web, on a computer workstation, on a CD-ROM, or by some other method? Finally, what limitations will this place on the development process? For example, if you will be delivering your program via the Web you may have to deal with bandwidth issues.

Label this section of your design document Instructional Strategy.

Submitting Sections 8 of your Design Document

Section 8 (Instructional Strategy) should be added to the design document you started creating earlier. To do this you can simply copy and paste all of the tables from the strategy template into your design document, and then format it to your liking. Once again, this document should be typed up in Microsoft Word. At the top of the document you should have the title "Instructional Strategy". Underneath that should be your name, email address, and the date. When you save the file to your computer at this point name it "mmstrategy". After you have saved your file, go to the student interface and submit your assignment for grading. Click here if you need additional information regarding submission of your assignment.

Assignment:Instructional Strategy

Grading Criteria:

  • Objectives logically clustered and sequenced. (2)
  • Describes Preinstructional Activities, including how they will motivate learners and how learners will be informed of objectives (if at all). (5)
  • Describes Assessment Activities, including a decision on pretesting and a description of the posttest. (5)
  • Describes Follow-Through Activities, including a description of any memory aids that will be provided and strategies that will be used to facilitate transfer of the material. (5)
  • Describes the Content Presentation for all objectives. For each objective, there should include a brief description of the content and examples that will be provided. (10)
  • Describes Student Participation for all objectives. For each objective, should include sample practice items and feedback that will be provided. (10)
  • Describes the authoring program that will be used to create the instruction, the chosen delivery system, and any potential problems related to these decisions. (3)