Suggested Readings

Chapter 9, Developing Instructional Materials, from Dick and Carey.


It's now time to move into the development stage of the instructional design process. Development is where you actually create your instructional materials. Notice where we are in the Dick and Carey model. Everything you've done up to this point has been part of the Planning stage of multimedia design. At this point you are leaving the Planning stages of the process and moving into the Development stages.

Although it's only a single box in the diagram, developing your instructional materials can take almost as long as all the planning steps put together. However, all the work you've done up to this point should make the development process go much smoother. You know what your goal is, what steps are needed for learners to achieve that goal, who the learners are, the context they will learn in and perform in, the specific objectives of your instruction, along with how your learners will be assessed, and you have a strategy that describes the instruction you will present to help your learners achieve each of your objectives. In addition, you should now have a good idea of the layout of your program and how it will progress. You should also have an idea of how each of the screens in your program will be arranged, including the instructional and multimedia elements that will appear on each screen.

After creating storyboards, the next step is often to create a rough draft of the instructional materials that is not fully functional but includes some of the textual information and graphical elements, and shows the flow of the program. Creating a rough draft provides you with a low cost way to try out your development ideas and catch potential problems before you begin to create final versions of everything. Rough draft materials are also good for using during early formative evaluation procedures. Due to time the constraints of the course, however, you will not be required to create rough drafts of your materials.

Overview of the Development Process

Within the process of designing, developing, and implementing instruction, keep in mind that the instructional designer is not always the same person who develops and implements the instruction. There are basically three ways that the process might be broken down:

  1. One person is the Designer, Developer, and Instructor
  2. One person is the Designer and Developer, and there's a separate Instructor
  3. One person is the Designer, and there's a separate Developer and a separate Instructor

With larger design projects, the designer might hand over the completed design documents to a developer or development team. A development team may have programmers, graphic designers, video producers, and other people with specialized jobs. Each person completes an assigned part of the project, and the results are brought together to create a complete program. In addition, these people are not likely to be the same ones responsible for implementing the instruction; the instructor might be someone completely different. It's important to be aware of these various possibilities when designing and developing instructional materials. It's also even more reason to have clear and concise design documents.

Most of you likely fall into the first or second category. Unless you have a team of developers waiting in the wings, you will be developing your instructional materials on your own.

It's also important to determine where the events of instruction will be presented. In a classroom setting, the instructor may have to provide many of the events, including motivation, presentation of the content, learning guidance, and feedback. However, when you are creating a self-contained instructional program most of these events may have to be embedded in the instruction itself.

Components of an Instructional Package

Dick and Carey list three main components of a complete instructional package: Instructional Materials, Assessments, and Course Management Information.

Instructional Materials

The delivery mode has a large impact on the development of instructional materials. If the materials are supposed to be self-contained (as in a multimedia program), then the instructional materials will have to contain all of the necessary components identified in the strategy, and cover all of the events of instruction. If the instructional materials will be used in a classroom along with other materials, then there may be less to develop, and what is developed may not contain all of the components of the strategy. If the program is limited, the instructor may have to provide many of the instructional events, including motivation, presentation of the content, learning guidance, and feedback.


Assessments include pretests and posttests. Pretests assesses the learners' preinstructional knowledge, and the posttest assesses their achievement of the instructional goal. These items are usually provided separately from the other instructional materials.

Course Management Information

This is often referred to as an instructor's manual, and includes instructions for implementing and using the instructional materials. These support materials should be developed in parallel with the instructional materials rather than after the development of the final product, to assure uniformity between the materials and the manual. An instructor who was not part of the design and development process should be able to take these instructions and successfully implement the instructional materials.

Selecting Preexisting Instructional Materials

The development process does not always involve creating instructional materials from scratch. Once you have your design documents created, you may find that there are instructional materials already out there that match up pretty well with your goals and objectives. These materials might fit all, or some of your needs. Or, you might find materials that would suit your needs if some modifications were made to them. In most cases you should determine this first. When evaluating instructional materials for their potential use in your development project, Dick and Carey suggest using the following evaluation criteria:

Goal-Centered Criteria

Ask yourself the following goal-related questions regarding the content of the potential instructional materials:

  • Is there congruence between the content in the materials and your performance objectives?
  • Do the materials adequately cover the content?
  • Is there a certain level of authority in the materials?
  • Is the information in the materials accurate?
  • Is the information current enough?
  • Do the materials have a point of view, or are they relatively objective?

Learner-Centered Criteria

The materials should be appropriate for your learners'

  • Vocabulary and language levels.
  • Developmental, motivation, and interest levels.
  • Backgrounds and experiences.
  • Special language or other needs.

Also, be aware of any cultural, gender, age, or racial bias inherent in the materials. Refer to your Learner Analysis when making these decisions.

Context-Centered Criteria

Are the materials appropriate for your instructional and performance contexts? You should use your context analyses to determine if the materials will provide authentic contexts for your learners, and if they are appropriate for your instructional setting. It's also important at this point to evaluate the technical qualities of the existing materials, including the design, quality, and functionality.

Learning-Centered Criteria

When evaluating existing materials you should ask yourself the following learning-related questions:

  • Are the materials sequenced properly for your purposes?
  • Is learner motivation addressed?
  • Are there activities that elicit the learners' participation?
  • Is there adequate feedback provided?
  • Are there appropriate assessments available?
  • Is there information to enhance the memory and transfer of the new skills?
  • Is there adequate learning guidance provided to help learners progress through the material?

If you cannot find any preexisting instructional materials that can be used as is or with some modifications, or if the materials you find only cover part of your instruction, then you are at the point of having to either develop your own materials, or find someone to do it for you. Either way you'll need all of your instructional design documents to ensure that you end up with a product that is effective.

Developing your Instructional Materials

The Planning section of this course was divided into two threads: Design and Tools. In the Design thread you went through an instructional design process, while in the Tools thread you familiarized yourself with your authoring software. As you enter the Development section of the course those two threads are now brought together, as you will need both your design skills and your technical skills to create your multimedia program. This lesson combines the document you created in the Design thread (Lessons 1-8) with the skills you learned in the Tools thread (Competencies 1-8).

Basically, you'll need to write your instruction, obtain or create your multimedia elements, and then use your authoring program to assemble them into a coherent multimedia program that will help facilitate the acquisition of the goal you identified way back in Lesson 1. Here's a typical process involved in developing multimedia instructional materials:

Gather and/or Digitize Existing Elements
  • Text (scan and OCR, or convert to a compatible file format).
  • Graphics (may need to be converted or compressed).
  • Animations.
  • Audio clips (narration, music, effects, sound).
  • Video clips (interviews, demonstrations, raw footage).

Create New Elements
  • Write the instructional text.
  • Shoot and scan photographs (35mm film? Photo CD? Digital Cameras?).
  • Create graphics, buttons, and animations.
  • Record, edit, and compress new narration, music, and sound effects.
  • Shoot, edit, and compress new video clips.

Bring It All together
  • Import all media into the authoring tool.
  • Assign color palettes.
  • Create the interface and position all the media elements.
  • Program navigational elements that provide ways for the user to move around.
  • Program interactivity between the user and the program.
  • Program transitional effects (visual and audio).
  • Smooth design problems as they are encountered: layout, color, etc.

Developing a complete set of instructional materials involves a wide variety of skills, from writing to graphic design to audio and video production to programming. You will need to call on all of the skills you have learned in the ITMA program up to this point to create and assemble all of the materials you need for your multimedia program.


There are no set requirements as to the amount of multimedia that must be included in your program - no specific number of screens, graphics, animations, or anything else. We decided that it was not practical to require certain numbers of elements as this varies with each instructional project, and depends on the goals and objectives you want your learners to achieve. Suffice to say that it's important to have enough, and not more.

That being said, your program should conform to several general requirements. To start with, the content of your program should be Relevant, Appropriate, and Sufficient with regards to both the instruction and the technology. The following chart describes these requirements in more detail.

Is the instructional content relevant for the instructional goals and context? Does the content included for each objective match up with the performance, conditions, and standard for that objective?
Is the multimedia content relevant for the instructional goals and context?
Is the instructional content appropriate for the audience and the subject matter? This includes things such as the subject matter and reading level.
Are the multimedia aspects appropriate for the audience? This includes the choice of images, sounds, and other elements. Also, is the overall look and feel appropriate?
Is the instruction associated with the goal steps sufficient to lead to the achievement of the goal? Is there enough content provided to achieve the goal? Does the content cover the topic in the best way? Are all of the objectives addressed? Will the learners learn what they are supposed to learn?
Is there sufficient multimedia to support the instruction. Is there anything left out that could have been a benefit?

In addition to those three requirements, there is one more requirement that relates to the instructional aspects of your program (Instructional Events), and one more requirement that relates to the technical aspects of your program (Functionality):

Instructional Events
Does the program address all of Gagne's events of instruction (except for number 8 - Assessment)? Your program should permit the learners to acquire the necessary skills, knowledge, or attitudes without any intervention from an instructor or other learners. Here are Gagne's nine events:
  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
Do the technical aspects of the program function properly?
  • Is it obvious to the user how they are supposed to navigate the program?
  • Does the navigation work?
  • Do the graphics appear when and where they are supposed to?
  • Do the animations load and play properly?
  • Do the sound files load and play properly?
  • Do the video files load and play properly?
  • Is there a consistent design theme?
  • Is the text material readable?

Development Tips

Here are some tips that may make the development process go smoother:

  • Organize all of your files from the start. Create folders for your graphics, sounds, etc.
  • Adopt and follow an effective file naming convention to ensure that you can keep track of all of your elements.
  • Be aware of the screen resolution you choose for your program. If you are developing your program on a computer with a resolution of 1024 x 768 and then it's viewed on a computer set at 800 x 600 then some of your program may get cut off.
  • Focus carefully on the conditions specified in your objectives, and avoid getting off track. Beware of extraneous information. With all the planning you did up to this point there should not be any extraneous information sneaking into your program.
  • When you are finished, ask yourself, "Is the instruction adequate to enable learners to perform the steps that lead to the achievement of the goal?" In other words, using only the instructional materials, will a typical user be able to perform each step or substep?

Here are some key design questions to ask yourself as you develop your program:

  • Are the color combinations agreeable? Granted, color choice can be somewhat subjective, but that green and red color scheme you think is wonderful may give others a headache.
  • Is the layout attractive? Are things arranged on the page in an orderly manner?
  • Are the menus and buttons in an easily accessible place on the page?
  • Are the graphics too large? Do they take too long to load? Are there too many graphics? Are there too many different types of graphics? Are they too flashy?
  • On the other hand, is the program too drab and boring? Is it just a lot of text?
  • Do the animations complement the instruction?
  • Does the background distract from the content on the screen? Does it make the text harder to read?
  • Is there consistency, both within pages and across pages? The fonts, text size, images, formatting, color scheme, layout, menu structure, page flow - they should be consistent throughout the program. Things shouldn't change drastically on every screen.
  • Is there dead space on any of the screens?
  • Is there too much clutter on any of the screens?
  • Does everything seem to be in the proper place? This goes for menus, images, text, and movies.
  • Is there enough multimedia used?
  • Is there too much multimedia used?
  • Are there spelling and grammar errors?

Final Notes

Please keep in mind that this course is one of the major experiences you will have in the ITMA program. It is a synthesizing experience that brings together all of the skills and knowledge you have acquired up to this point. It is also an opportunity to show the IT faculty your ability to demonstrate your knowledge of the principles of instructional design and technology, and to show them how far you have progressed. When you are finished, the project you produce should have a prominent place in your portfolio.

Important: Remember, you are not creating a slide show. You are creating an interactive multimedia program. In particular, if you are using PowerPoint you should forget about thinking in terms of the slide show metaphor. Just get that out of your head. You are using PowerPoint not as a presentation tool, but as a multimedia development tool. This is a completely different purpose.

Submitting your Completed Multimedia Program

When you are finished developing your multimedia program, create a new web page using your preferred web editor. On that page you should provide a hyperlink to each of the following (note the naming conventions):

  1. Your final Design Document (mmdesign)
  2. The document containing your flowchart and storyboards (mmstoryboard)
  3. Your native project file (mmproject)
  4. Your final deliverable program (mmprogram)


(1)     If you are working in Microsoft PowerPoint, the native project file (mmproject) will be the original PowerPoint Presentation (.ppt or .pptx), and the final deliverable program (mmprogram) will be the PowerPoint Show (.pps or .ppsx).

(2)    If you are working in HTML, the last two items will be the same.

(3)    As methods to create fascinating projects grow, the size of these projects also increases. This can be a problem when trying to upload your project to the VT ITMA filebox. To upload large project files or multiple project files, you will need to access the your ITMA filebox in a way the student assignment submission interface does not offer.

If the file is over 10 MB you will need to download Cyberduck and connect to your VT ITMA filebox this way.

Information on how to connect using Cyberduck can be found below:

PC instruction

MAC instruction

Cyberduck is the ITMA recommended method to upload files and folders.

If you need instruction on how to connect to the VT ITMA filebox (files less than 10MB) please click here -- skip to Part 3. You can drag files from your desktop into the appliedid folder after you have connected. You can then follow the instruction on how to copy hyperlinks to the final project page. Also, you will need to delete the filebox connection and reconnect each time you use it. If you have questions about this process please contact Emily at .

Here's a template you can use for creating your web page. If you want, just save this page and change the information.

At the top of the page type "ITMA Multimedia Project". Underneath that include your name, email address, and the date. When you save the web page, name it "mmfinal". When you are finished, upload the web page and all of the linked documents to the student interface. Click here if you need additional information regarding submission of your assignment.

Assignment:Final Multimedia Project

Grading Criteria:

  • Instructional content is relevant for the instructional goals and context. (20)
  • Multimedia content is relevant for the instructional goals and context. (20)
  • Instructional content is appropriate for the audience and the subject matter. (20)
  • Multimedia aspects are appropriate for the audience. (20)
  • Instruction associated with the goal steps is sufficient to lead to the achievement of the goal. In addition, the content covers the topic in the best way. (20)
  • There is sufficient multimedia to support the instruction. Nothing appears to be left out that would have been a benefit. (20)
  • Program addresses all of Gagne's events of instruction, except for assessment. This includes gaining attention, informing learners of the objectives, stimulating recall of prior learning, presenting the materials, providing learning guidance, providing practice and feedback, and encouraging transfer. (30)
  • Technical aspects of the program function properly. Navigation works smoothly, all multimedia elements load and function properly, consistent design theme, text is readable. (25)