A Systems Approach and Instructional Design Principles: Two Critical Elements for Effective
WWW Courseware Development

Jerusalem T. Howard and Reginald V. Terry
Syracuse University


Developing effective WWW courseware requires using a systems approach and integrating instructional design principles. The systems approach provides the developer a framework to design the instructional material. Incorporating instructional design principles insures that the courseware is developed with the learner/viewer in mind. This interactive session addresses critical WWW courseware development issues Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to evaluate courseware that in a work in progress.

Courseware development for the WWW can be effectively designed using a systems approach as well as integrating appropriate instructional design principles. A systems approach provides the course developer with a framework to create instructional material. Inputs, outputs, and feedback are three important systems development components. Inputs for developing courseware may include conceptual ideas, past course evaluations, syllabi and the like. Outputs can include courseware designed as tutorial, formal instruction, or a general informational piece. Examples of outputs may vary from a simple review of basic math skills to entire semester taught on the Web. Feedback offers developers many advantages. For example, feedback from pilot studies can help the developer modify and improve the courseware prior to full implementation. Additionally, assessment can assist the developer to ensure educational objectives are met. Overall feedback can save time and money during the development process. Feedback may be either formative or summative (Dick & Carey, 1996). Formative evaluation is usually conducted while the courseware is being developed. Summative evaluations are conducted after the material is implemented. Using a systems approach provides the web developer with an orderly framework to develop course material for the WWW. Using a systems approach is not enough to successfully develop WWW courseware. To further enhance effectively designed WWW courseware, developers should keep instructional design principles in mind.

Using learner-centered instructional design principles to develop WWW courseware increase it effectiveness of the material presented. Gagnes Nine Events of Instruction and Kellers ARCS provide crucial design elements. Gagnes Events include: (1) gaining attention, (2) informing the learner of the objective, (3) stimulating recall of prerequisite learning, (4) presenting stimulus material, providing learner guidance, (5) eliciting performance, (6) assess performance, (7) enhancing retention and transfer, (8) stimulus change and (9) appealing to the learners interest (Gagne, Briggs, & Wagner, 1992). Utilizing these concepts can help the developer design the most effective courseware possible. Similar to Gagnes Nine Events, the ARCS model focuses on the learners; those who view the courseware. If the courseware gains and holds the viewers attention, then there is a greater probability that the WWW courseware will be comprehended. The ARCS Model, attention, relevance, and satisfaction, should help the developer design courseware that motivates the learner.

Keywords: instructional design, systems approach, Gagne, ARCS Model, Web Design, courseware development, formative assessment, summative assessment, evaluation, instructional technology, distance education, learner motivation

J.T. Howard
4786 Hunt Wood Path
Manlius, NY 13104
fax: (315) 637-5067
phone: (315) 443-3852
e-mail: jthoward@mailbox.syr.edu

©,1997. The authors, Jerusalem T. Howard and Reginald V. Terry, assign to the University of New Brunswick and other educational and non-profit institutions a non-exclusive license to use this document for personal use and in courses of instruction provided that the article is used in full and this copyright statement is reproduced. The authors also grant a non-exclusive license to the University of New Brunswick to publish this document in full on the World Wide Web and on CD-ROM and in printed form with the conference papers, and for the document to be published on mirrors on the World Wide Web. Any other usage is prohibited without the express permission of the authors.