Pebble in the pond by david merrill
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Pebble in the pond by david merrill

Pebble in the pond by david merrill
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Pebble in the pond by david merrill Pebble in the pond by david merrill Document Transcript

  • A Pebble - in - the - Pond Model for Instructional Design 1 M. David Merrill Utah State UniversityWhat is the Problem? Instructional systems development has recently come under attack, suggesting that it may not be anappropriate methodology for developing effective instruction (Gordon and Zemke, 2000). ISD is accusedof being too slow and clumsy, for claiming to be a technology when it is not, for producing bad instruction,and for being out of touch with today’s training needs. Someone has said, “It is a bad craftsman that blames his tools.” It should be obvious to the thoughtfulobserver that the problem may be the implementation of ISD, not a systematic approach itself. At thehighest level of a systems approach one cannot imagine a design process that does not identify the trainingneeds of an organization or the learning needs of the students to be taught. While learning occurs in manydifferent environments, it is generally agreed that instruction requires the identification of its goals. It isequally difficult to imagine a process that does not involve planning, development, implementation andevaluation. It is not these essential development activities that are in question, but perhaps their detailedimplementation in various incarnations of ISD do not represent the most efficient or effective method fordesigning instruction. A more significant aspect of the problem is the emphasis on the process involved in developinginstruction, rather than the basic learning principles that this process should emphasize. Merely following aseries of steps, when there is insufficient guidance as to when the product of a given step is of sufficientquality, is likely to result in an inferior product. A technology involves not only the steps involved but a setof specifications for what each step is to accomplish. Perhaps many ISD implementations have hadinsufficient specifications.1 The preparation of this paper was supported in part by funds provided by Thompson/Netg. A version ofthis paper appears in Performance Improvement Journal 2002. 1
  • For the past several years I have been engaged in an attempt to identify first principles of instruction,those principles on which different instructional design theories are in essential agreement regardless oftheir theoretical or philosophical orientation (Merrill, 2002). John Murphy stated, “If you don’t follow theinstructions and people still learn, that raises the question whether there’s a ‘technology’ there in the firstplace.” (Gordon and Zempke, 2000) We have demonstrated that when these first principles areimplemented they do promote instruction that is more effective and efficient than popular forms of existinginstruction that fail to implement these principles (Boyle and Merrill, 2002). There is a set of principles orspecifications that are there in the first place and that do make a difference in the quality of the instructionalproduct. The purpose of this paper is to describe a content-first modification of the ISD process that facilitatesthe implementation of these first principles of instruction and has been demonstrated to result in moreeffective and efficient instruction.First Principles What is a principle? A principle is a relationship that is always true under appropriate conditions.What is an instructional principle? An instructional principle is some characteristic of an instructionalproduct or environment that promotes the learning of some specified goal. What is a first principle ofinstruction? A first principle of instruction is a prescriptive design principle on which various instructionaldesign theories and models are in essential agreement. What are the properties of first principles of instruction? First, learning from a given program will bepromoted in direct proportion to its implementation of first principles. Second, first principles ofinstruction can be implemented in any delivery system or using any instructional architecture. Third, firstprinciples of instruction are design-oriented or prescriptive rather than learning-oriented or descriptive.They relate to creating learning environments and products rather than describing how learners acquireknowledge and skill from these environments or products. Many current instructional models suggest that the most effective learning products or environmentsare those that are problem-centered and involve the student in a cycle of learning that involves four distinct 2
  • phases: (1) activation of prior experience, (2) demonstration of skills, (3) application of skills, and (4)integration of these skills into real-world activities. Figure 1 provides a conceptual framework for statingand relating the first principles of instruction. INTEGRATION ACTIVATION PROBLEM APPLICATION DEMONSTRATION Figure 1. Phases of effective instruction Most of the theories reviewed stress problem-centered instruction and include some, if not all, of thesefour phases of effective instruction. Since these principles have been elaborated upon elsewhere (Merrill,2002), the following paragraphs list the first principles of instruction in check-list form without additionalelaboration.1) Is the courseware presented in the context of real world problems? a) Does the courseware show learners the task they will be able to do or the problem they will be able to solve as a result of completing a module or course? b) Are learners engaged at the problem or task level, not just the operation or action levels? c) Does the courseware involve a progression of problems rather than a single problem?2) Does the courseware attempt to activate relevant prior knowledge or experience? a) Does the courseware direct learners to recall, relate, describe or apply knowledge from relevant past experience that can be used as a foundation for new knowledge? b) Does the courseware provide relevant experience that can be used as a foundation for the new knowledge? 3
  • c) Does the courseware help learners recall or form appropriate structures for organizing the new knowledge?3) Does the courseware demonstrate (show examples of) what is to be learned rather than merely telling information about what is to be learned? a) Are the demonstrations (examples) consistent with the content being taught? i) Examples and non-examples for concepts? ii) Demonstrations for procedures? iii) Visualizations for processes? iv) Modeling for behavior? b) Are at least some of the following learner-guidance techniques employed? i) Learners are directed to relevant information. ii) Multiple representations are used for the demonstrations. iii) Multiple demonstrations are explicitly compared. c) Is media relevant to the content and used to enhance learning.4) Do learners have an opportunity to practice and apply their newly acquired knowledge or skill? a) Are the application (practice) and the post-test consistent with the stated or implied objectives? i) “Information-about” practice requires learners to recall or recognize information. ii) “Parts-of” practice requires the learners to locate, name and/or describe each part. iii) “Kinds-of” practice requires learners to identify new examples of each kind. iv) “How-to” practice requires learners to do the procedure. v) “What-happens” practice requires learners to predict a consequence of a process, given conditions, or to find faulted conditions, given an unexpected consequence. 4
  • b) Does the courseware require learners to use new knowledge or skill to solve a varied sequence of problems and do learners receive corrective feedback on their performance? c) In most application or practice activities, are learners able to access context-sensitive help or guidance when having difficulty with the instructional materials? Is this coaching gradually diminished as the instruction progresses?5) Does the courseware provide techniques that encourage learners to integrate (transfer) the new knowledge or skill into their everyday life? a) Does the courseware provide an opportunity for learners to publicly demonstrate their new knowledge or skill? b) Does the courseware provide an opportunity for learners to reflect-on, discuss and defend their new knowledge or skill? c) Does the courseware provide an opportunity for learners to create, invent or explore new and personal ways to use their new knowledge or skill?Pebble - in - the - Pond Development The focus of this paper is to describe an instructional design model that has been found to be effectivefor implementing instruction based on these principles. I do not consider this model to be a substitute forISD but a content-centered modification of more traditional ISD that facilitates incorporating firstprinciples into an instructional product. 5
  • PROBLEM PROGRESSION ANALYSIS STRATEGY DESIGN PRODUCTION Figure 2. Pebble-in-the-Pond Instructional Development (©M. David Merrill) Figure 2 indicates that the Pebble-in-the-Pond design model consists of a series of expanding activitiesinitiated by first casting in a pebble, a whole task or problem of the type that learners will be taught toaccomplish by the instruction. Having identified an initial problem the second ripple in the design pond isto identify a progression of such problems of increasing difficulty or complexity, such that if learners areable to do all of the whole tasks thus identified, they would have mastered the knowledge and skill to betaught. The third ripple in the design pond is to identify the component knowledge and skill required tocomplete each task or solve each problem in the progression. The fourth ripple is to determine theinstructional strategy that will be used to engage learners in the problems and help them acquire thecomponent knowledge and skill required to complete the tasks or solve the problems. The fifth ripple isinterface design. It is at this point in the design process that the content to be learned and the strategy usedto engage learners is adapted to the delivery system and instructional architecture of the learning situationor product. The ripples have now expanded sufficiently to engage in the production of the instructionalmaterials or situation. I prefer the term production to the term development, typically used in the ADDIE(analysis, design, development, implementation, evaluation) ISD model since too often actual specificationof the material to be learned is delayed in the traditional model until the development phase. In the Pebble- 6
  • in-the-Pond model the content to be learned is specified first. It is casting in the problem or whole taskpebble and specifying a progression of such whole tasks that is the unique characteristic of this model.Pebble-in-the-Pond is primarily a design model; hence we have not shown other necessary phases of theISD process, such as front-end analysis, implementation and evaluation. These phases are still critical andnecessary to a complete development process using Pebble-in-the-Pond. This model is a version of the4C/ID model proposed by van Merriënboer (1997).1. Specify a Problem Traditional ISD advocates the early specification of instructional objectives. The problem with thistraditional approach is that instructional objectives are abstract representations of the knowledge to betaught rather than the knowledge itself. Often the specification of the actual content is delayed until thedevelopment phase of ISD. Many designers have experienced the difficulty of writing meaningfulobjectives early in the design process. Often, after the development starts, the objectives written early inthe process are abandoned or revised to more closely correspond with the content that is finally developed. Pebble-in-the-Pond avoids this problem by starting with the content to be taught (the whole tasks to becompleted) rather than some abstract representation of this content (objectives). Pebble-in-the-Pondassumes that the designer has already identified an instructional goal (not detailed objectives) and a learnerpopulation. The first step, the pebble, is to specify a typical problem that represents the whole task that thestudent will be able to do following the instruction. The word, specify, indicates that the complete problemor task should be identified, not just some information about the problem or task. A whole task includesthe information that the learner is given and the transformation of this information that will result when theproblem is solved or the task completed. The third component is to work the problem; that is, to indicate indetail every step required to solve the problem or complete the task. The following example shows a typical problem for a course teaching Microsoft Excel. Note that theinput and output are specifically identified. 7
  • Figure 3. Specify a Problem Susan has opened a small restaurant. She has been very successful and wants to expand her business. To finance this project, Susan needs a bank loan. She knows that an accurate and well-designed presentation will help her get the loan. You have agreed to prepare the last month’s sales figures for Susan. i Having identified the input and the output for the problem, the third part of specifying the problem isto work the problem. Figure 4 shows the first few steps required to transform Susan’s input to the finalform shown. The actual analysis included all of the necessary steps. Figure 4. Work the ProblemStep 1:Create the Gross Sales formulas. 1. Click cell D6. 2. Type = B6*C6. Press Enter. 3. Click D6. 4. Copy the formula using Fill Handle from D6 to D7 through D11. Sample diagnostic procedures for Step 1: 8
  • Problem: The learner types the formula incorrectly. Solution: Click cell D6. Type the formula again and press Enter.Step 2:Create the Total Sales formula. 1. Click D12. 2. Click the AutoSum button on the Standard toolbar. 3. Press Enter to accept the formula =SUM(D6:D11).Etc.2. Progression of Problems Having specified a typical problem for the goals of the instruction the next ripple in the pond is tospecify a progression of problems that gradually increase in complexity, difficulty or the amount ofcomponent knowledge or skill required to complete the task. Each problem in the progression should becompletely specified including input, output and the steps necessary to work the problem. The problemsshould be examined to be sure that solving each problem in the progression requires learners to haveacquired all the intended knowledge and skill required by the instructional goals. If the problemprogression does not include all the required knowledge and skill additional problems should be added tothe progression or the problems in the progression should be modified to require the necessary knowledgeand skill. Figure 5 indicates the first three problems for the Excel course. For purposes of this paper wehave indicated only the context and situation for each problem, but have not indicated the inputs, outputsand steps required to work each problem. The actual analysis included this input, output and process data.The Excel course has eight problems in the sequence. During the design several additional problems werespecified and the eight problems included in the course were selected from this larger set of possibilities. 9
  • Figure 5. Problem progression Susan has opened a small restaurant. She has been very successful and wants to expand her business. To finance this project, Susan needs a bank loan. She knows that an accurate and well-designed presentation will help her get the loan. You have agreed to prepare the last month’s sales figures for Susan. Susan has given the Total Lunch Earnings worksheet to Isaac, one of her main suppliers, who has been successful in getting bank loans for his business. He is impressed with your work and offers three improvements. First, include a column that calculates percentage of sales. Second, add some nice borders and shading formats. Finally, set up the page to give the printout a professional appearance. Susan expanded her business. Her restaurant is busier and she needs more staff. To judge her new staffing requirements accurately, Susan conducted a count of customers before and after the renovations. Each survey was taken over a four- week period. You have agreed to help Susan determine her new staffing levels by calculating statistics from her second survey.3. Component Analysis The third ripple in the pond is to identify all the knowledge components required to complete each ofthe tasks in the progression. Component knowledge consists of the information, parts, kinds, how-to andwhat-happens knowledge and skill required to solve each problem. Consistent with the content-firstapproach of Pebble-in-the-Pond all of the information and portrayals necessary to acquire each of thenecessary knowledge components should be completely specified. Knowledge components consist of information and portrayals for five types of knowledge:information-about, parts-of, kinds-of, how-to and what-happens. Information-about is just that −information about some entity, activity or process. All problems require the learner to rememberinformation necessary to the solution of the problem or the completion of the task. All entities are composed of smaller entities or parts. An important type of knowledge is the ability tolocate a part in relationship to the whole of which it is a part, given its name or function or shown a part,remember its name and function. All entities, activities and processes are members (a kind-of) of some more general class of things. Inturn all of the instances of a given entity, activity or process can be divided into subclasses (kinds-of).Kinds are distinguished from parts in that all of the parts of something are necessary to have the whole 10
  • entity, whereas each kind is a complete entity, activity or process in-and-of itself. An often-neglected typeof knowledge is the ability to classify a given entity, activity or process. Making decisions is an importantkinds-of skill. Many problems or tasks are completed when the learner knows how-to and is able to complete a seriesof steps or procedures. Procedure or how-to learning is perhaps the most familiar type of knowledge andskill. Finally, for many problems and tasks merely carrying out the steps is insufficient to effective problem-solving. The learner must also know why a given step is necessary or what-happens when a given action iscompleted. Providing what-happens knowledge is perhaps the most neglected of all knowledgecomponents. What happens requires the learner to predict a consequence, given a set of conditions. Or,conversely, given an unexpected consequence of some action or process, find the conditions that werefaulted, missing or inadequate. While all problems and tasks involve what-happens knowledge, thisknowledge and skill is often neglected. Knowledge components can be represented at two levels: information and portrayal. Information is ageneral representation, such as a list of steps, a definition, or the statement of a principle. Information isinclusive and refers to many cases of situations. Portrayal, on the other hand, is specific information, suchas a demonstration of specific steps, an instance of a class, or a visualization of some process representedby a principle. Portrayal is a single case or situation. Each of these five types of knowledge can be represented by both information and portrayal. Figure 6summarizes the information and portrayal components associated with each type of learning. Informationcan only be remembered so the cell for applying information is left empty. The first column indicates thetype of information associated with each type of knowledge. The second column includes both an actionverb and the portrayal on which this action occurs for each type of knowledge. Most whole tasks orproblems include all of these knowledge components. Knowledge analysis in Pebble-in-the-Ponddevelopment is a matter of identifying and specifying these knowledge components. 11
  • Types of Knowledge Remember Information Apply Information to (General) Portrayal (Specific) Information-about facts or associations Parts-of names and descriptions find location Kinds-of definitions classify examples How-to steps and sequence perform task What-happens process (conditions and predict consequence consequences) find conditions Figure 6. Information and portrayal components for five types of knowledge Figure 7 illustrates the beginning of the component analysis for the Excel task. In this case there wasan existing course divided into units, lessons and topics that taught information and how to execute each ofthe commands of Excel. Knowledge analysis in this situation was associating each of these topics(commands) with a given problem in the problem progression. These topics (commands) are mostlyinformation-about, how-to or parts-of types of knowledge. Figure 7. How to Component Analysis Scenario 2 Skills and Topics Step 1. Creating percentages Worksheet: Navigating Formulas: Entering The Fill Handle Formulas: Cell Referencing Data: Copying Step 2. Formatting percentages Cell Range: Moving Formatting: Textual Data Formatting: Text Alignment Etc. 12
  • 4. Instructional Strategy At this point in the pebble design process all the content that will be necessary to enable the learner toacquire the desired knowledge and skills should be identified and specified. The unique aspect of thePebble-in-the-Pond approach is that this is a complete content specification, including all the informationand portrayal that will be used in the instruction. The fourth ripple in the design pond is to determine theinstructional strategy that will be used to engage the student with the content that has been specified viaproblem identification, problem progression and knowledge analysis. An instructional strategy consists ofcombining four modes of instructional interaction with the components of knowledge to be taught. Thefour primary interaction modes are tell, ask, show and do. The demonstration phase of instruction is to tellthe learner information components and show the learner portrayal components. The application phase ofinstruction is to ask the learner to remember information components (the most common but usuallyinadequate form of practice) and to have the learner use information components to do something with theportrayal components. In addition an instructional strategy specifies an appropriate sequence for presentingthe knowledge components. Instructional strategy also specifies appropriate learner guidance and coachingduring the demonstration and application phases of instruction. Figure 8 illustrates a very effective general instructional strategy that has been found to be effective forproblem- or whole task-centered instruction. This instructional strategy is closely related to theinstructional strategy recommended by van Merriënboer (1997). 13
  • guidance P P P P P components components components Figure 8. A Problem-centered instructional strategy. The circles containing the letter P stand for a progression of problems as described above. The trianglebehind the problems indicates a gradually diminishing amount of learner guidance or coaching. Thecomponents are the information and portrayal of each of the types of knowledge required for each of theproblems. The strategy is executed as follows: The first problem in the sequence is shown to the learnersand they are informed that they will learn to solve such a problem or complete such a whole task. Thedown arrow indicates that the learners are then taught the knowledge components necessary to solve thisfirst problem. The learners are then returned to the first problem and the instruction shows them how towork the problem or complete the task. Learners are next shown the second problem in the sequence. Inthis case learners are required to work as much of the problem as they are able, based on the informationand portrayal they have acquired from the component instruction and the first-worked problem. Then theadditional knowledge components required for the second problem are taught to the learners. The learnersare then returned to the second problem and the instruction demonstrates the application of the newknowledge components in the context of the problem. There may be several worked problems as the firstpart of the sequence depending on the complexity of the problems. In the Excel example there were twoworked problems at the beginning of the problem progression. In each succeeding problem in theprogression learners are required to complete as much of the task as possible using the knowledge 14
  • components they have already acquired and are then taught new knowledge components required for theproblem and shown how these new components are applied to the problem. Eventually all of theknowledge components required for the problems in the progression will have been acquired and thelearners are required to apply their newly-acquired knowledge and skill to the solving of additionalproblems or the completion of additional whole tasks. The later problems in the sequence are theassessment of the newly acquired knowledge. If the learners can successfully complete the later tasks inthe sequence then they have successfully acquired the desired knowledge and skill. The following figures illustrate the instructional strategy for the Excel course. Figure 9 is the initialpresentation of the problem. The strategy presents Susan’s data and the final worksheet that will resultafter the task is completed. The strategy then lists the topics from the existing command-level course thatare necessary to complete the problem (Figure 10) and encourages learners to study these topics. Theexisting course teaches each command by a “Simon-Says” action-by-action demonstration where learnersare directed to execute each command. The strategy returns learners to the first problem and shows, usinga Simon-Says demonstration, how each of the commands is applied to this problem (Figure 11). In thiscase the strategy sequences the commands as they are required to complete the task. The strategy repeatsthis same approach for Problem 2 in the problem progression. The strategy then presents Problem 3 andencourages learners to study the new topics that apply to this problem. The strategy then prompts learnersto complete the prompted task as illustrated in Figure 12. The strategy repeats this procedure for Problems3 and 4. For Problem 5 the strategy uses an on-your-own approach as illustrated in Figure 13. The strategyhas previously (via Problems 1-4) demonstrated and provided learners with a chance to apply all theinformation and commands required by this problem. The strategy encourages learners to solve theproblem and to return to the presentations of the individual commands if they have trouble. Finally, thestrategy presents learners three more authentic tasks. These authentic tasks are the assessment for thecourse. The strategy directs learners to work these problems on their own. Learners are not allowed toreference help files or return to the previous instruction during the authentic tasks. 15
  • Figure 9. Present the ProblemIn this case exercise, you apply your knowledge of Microsoft Excel 2000 to redesigning a worksheet.Given the information in the first spreadsheet you will manipulate the spreadsheet to produce theinformation and format in the second spreadsheet. Susan has opened a small restaurant. She has been very successful and wants to expand her business. To finance this project, Susan needs a bank loan. She knows that an accurate and well-designed presentation will help her get the loan. You have agreed to prepare the last month’s sales figures for Susan. 16
  • Figure 10. Teach Component KnowledgeThe following information and commands are required to complete this task. You maywish to turn to each of the components shown in the following table and study thesecomponents. After you have studied each of these topics we will demonstrate how thesecommands are used to complete the spreadsheet for Susan.Scenario MS Excel Skill Builder Reference Table 1 Skills TopicsStep 1 Creating the Gross Sales Unit 1, Lesson 2, Topic 2: Formulas: Entering formulas Unit 1, Lesson 2, Topic 4: Formulas: Cell ReferencingStep 2 Creating the Total Sales Unit 1, Lesson 2, Topic 3: The Fill Handle formula Unit 2, Lesson 1, Topic 1: Functions: An Introduction Unit 2, Lesson 1, Topic 2: Basic FunctionsStep 3 Inserting a new row Unit 1, Lesson 4, Topic 1: Row and Column: InsertionStep 4 Formatting fonts Unit 1, Lesson 4, Topic 3: Cell: Accommodating Text Unit 1, Lesson 4, Topic 4: Formatting: Textual Data Unit 1, Lesson 4, Topic 5: Formatting: Text AlignmentStep 5 Formatting numbers Unit 1, Lesson 4, Topic 8: Formatting: Numerical DataStep 6a Overtyping text and values Unit 1, Lesson 2, Topic 1: Data: Entering and EditingStep 6b Widening columns Unit 1, Lesson 4, Topic 2: Row and Column: InsertionStep 7 Sorting data Unit 1, Lesson 4, Topic 9: Sorting Rows by Single ColumnStep 8 Saving a file with a new Unit 1, Lesson 1, Topic 2: Workbook: Save As Dialog Box name Unit 1, Lesson 1, Topic 3: Workbook: Location-Specific Saving 17
  • Figure 11. Worked ExamplesScenarios 1 and 2In this scenario we will guide you through the process of steps completing the worksheet. Please follow thedirections carefully.Step 1: First, you will create percentage labels and formulas..To begin the procedure, click cell E5, type % of Sales in cell E5, and press Enter.To create the percentage of sales figure for the Sandwiches lunch item, type =D6/$D$13 in cell E6 andpress Enter. The $ sign in front of the column reference D and the row reference 13 makes $D$13 anabsolute cell reference. The cell D6 is a relative cell reference because it does not contain any $ sign. Whenyou copy a cell formula from one row to another with absolute cell references in it, the absolute cellreferences do not change from one row to the next. In this step, you make the cell reference for the TotalSales, D13, absolute so that its reference will not change when you copy the formula.Now copy and paste this formula from cell E6 to cells E7 through E13.Create the percentage of sales figures for each lunch item and Total Sales. Begin by selecting E6 to E13.On the Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box, click Percentage. Under decimal places, select or type0. Since there is no lunch item that corresponds with cell E12, use the keyboard to delete this cell.Etc. Scenarios 3 and 4 were prompted examples. In these examples the strategy required learners to applywhat they already know and use guidance only for the new material introduced by the new problem.Scenario 5 was an unprompted example. In this example the strategy put learners on their own andencouraged them to return to the component instruction to learn the commands that they may haveforgotten rather than being prompted by the guidance. Figures 12 and 13 illustrate the prompted andunprompted scenarios used in the Excel course. 18
  • Figure 12. Prompted ExamplesScenarios 3 and 4 In the previous scenarios, you were guided step-by-step in the application of the commands tocomplete the scenario. In this scenario, you will not be given this step-by-step guidance. You should firstreview the modules teaching the commands that you will need to complete this scenario. Then, you shouldtry to complete each task in the scenarios on your own. If you need help, there is learner guidance providedat the end of the exercise for each of the tasks. You will learn more if you try to do the task before youlook at this guidance material and use this guidance only when you are unable to perform the requiredcommands. After each task, you will be shown an interim spreadsheet that you can use to compare withyour own work. In this scenario, you will design a new worksheet.Step 1: · Enter your User ID in cell D1. · Create Income formulas in cells B9, C9, and D9. · Create Cost formulas in cells B15, C15, and D15. · Create Profit/Loss formulas in cells B17, C17, and D17 for the Theater Final worksheet.If you have completed Scenarios 1 and 2, you are familiar with creating formulas, since this informationwas covered. The detailed guidance for creating formulas in this exercise is provided at the end of theScenario in a section called Learner Guidance.You should not simply type in the values. You need to apply the appropriate formulas. You havesuccessfully created Income, Cost, and Profit/Loss formulas for the Theater Final worksheet. At this point,your worksheet should contain the following data. [Data is supplied here.]If your worksheet does not look like the following worksheet, you may want to try again or go to theLearner Guidance Section. [Final worksheet is shown here.] Figure 13. Unprompted ExampleScenario 5In this exercise, there is no Learner Guidance section. If your screens do not match the sample screensprovided, you should return to the Excel course and review the appropriate modules.Step 1: Enter your User ID in cell D1. Add formulas to compute the totals in column G and generate the expenses (with no decimals) in Row 18.Step 2: Format the data. Use 12 pt bold for table headings. Add months as column headings.Etc. The final three scenarios or authentic tasks constitute the assessment for the course. These were alsounprompted examples, where learners were to apply what they had learned to new problems. In thesescenarios learners were allowed to use neither the help system of Excel nor to return to the component 19
  • instruction for help. They were required to use the commands and operations as they remembered themand were able to apply them, based only on their previous instruction. Figure 14. Authentic TasksIn this authentic task, you apply your knowledge of Microsoft Excel 2000 to redesigning a worksheet. Jakehas returned from a holiday in France. He had set a budget for the vacation and wants to compare hisactual and planned expenses. He is unsure of the correct exchange rate. You have agreed to work this outfor Jake in return for a bottle of vintage French Chardonnay.Jake has given you the basic information on the following worksheet named Holiday. [Worksheet appearshere.]You must create formulas and redesign the worksheet to make it look like the following example.[Worksheet appears here.]Objectives:Refer to the target screen on the previous page to ensure that the columns and rows in that example andyour final screen are identical. · Insert a new row under row 1. · Calculate the value of goods purchased in $ terms. · Calculate the variance of goods purchased in $ terms compared to the budget. · Calculate the totals for each of the four columns of numeric data. · Center and bold the title across the five main data columns and change the font size to 12 point. · Italicize the Items row labels. · Bold the Total row. · Bold all column labels, except for the exchange rate column label. · Right align column labels over numeric data. · Format the numbers, except for the Exchange Rate value, with thousand separators, two decimal places, and red negative. · Create a double line border around all the data, except for the exchange rate data. · Shade the column labels − except for the exchange rate − with dark green background and white font. · Change the exchange rate to 6.685. Is the total variance better or worse? · Save the file with the name Finance Final.Does Pebble - in - the - Pond Work? Thompson/Netg undertook a study to validate the first principles of instruction and the Pebble-in-the-Pond model for instructional development. Their development group, with consultation from the author,developed eight scenarios for a course in Excel. The illustrations in this article represent these scenarios.They then developed a problem-progression-component-instruction with guidance strategy for teaching thiscourse as illustrated by Figure 8 and the other illustrations in this article. 20
  • The investigators selected study participants from among NETg customers who volunteered toparticipate in the study. There were three groups. Group 1, the scenario group (N=49 ), received theinstruction as described in this paper. Group 2, the straight e-learning group (N=49), received the existingcommercial version of the NETg Excel course. This commercial version of the course systematicallyteaches all of the commands and operations of Excel, using a guided demonstration that instructs learners toexecute a command or series of commands and then see the consequence of their action on the screen. Thissame instruction was used for the component instruction in the scenario group. Both groups had access tothe same guided demonstration instruction of the individual commands of Excel. A control group (N=30)received the final three authentic scenarios without any prior instruction in Excel. The instruction wasdelivered online from a company website that also provided frequently asked questions and access to anonline mentor for both experimental groups. On the three authentic tasks the scenario group scored an average of 89% a 30% gain over thedemonstration group and a 159% gain over the control group, the guided demonstration group scored 68%a 99% gain over the control group and the control group scored 34%. All differences are statisticallysignificant beyond the .001 level. Further the times required to complete the three authentic tasks were 29minutes for the scenario group, a 41% gain over the demonstration group, and 49 minutes for the guideddemonstration group. Most of the control group failed to finish the tasks so no time data was recorded.These differences are also statistically significant beyond the .001 level. Finally, on a qualitativequestionnaire, the scenario group expressed considerably more satisfaction with the course than did theguided demonstration group.Conclusion In this paper I have described some First Principles of Instruction derived from existing instructionaldesign theories and models that form the specifications for effective and efficient instruction. I have alsodescribed a Pebble-in-the-Pond modification of the ISD process that facilitates the development ofinstruction that meets the specifications for these principles. I have also reported a study demonstratingthat when instruction implements some of these first principles it is more effective and efficient thaninstruction that fails to implement these principles. Pebble-in-the-Pond is a viable alternative to traditional 21
  • ISD and overcomes some of the major objections raised by Gordon and Zempke (2000). By developing thecontent first, Pebble-in-the-Pond is a more efficient development process. Pebble-in-the-Pond implementsfirst principles of instruction that have been demonstrated to make learning more effective and efficient.Pebble-in-the-Pond results in instruction that works and it is consistent with the current view of requiringauthentic experience in real world problems.References Boyle, S. and Merrill, M. D. (In Press) A Scenario-based Approach for Technical Training. AnnMarie Armstrong (Ed.) Instructional Design in the Real World: A View from the Trenches. Gordon, J. and Zemke, R. (2000). The attack on ISD. Training, April. Merrill, M. D. (In Press). First principles of instruction. Instructional Technology Research andDevelopment. van Merriënboer, J. J. G. (1997). Training Complex Cognitive Skills. Educational TechnologyPublications. 22