First Principles of Instruction

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This handy resource describes and illustrates the concepts underlying the “First Principles of Instruction” and illustrates First Principles and their application in a wide variety of instructional products. The book introduces the e3 Course Critique Checklist that can be used to evaluate existing instructional product. It also provides directions for applying this checklist and illustrates its use for a variety of different kinds of courses. The Author has also developed a Pebble-in-the-Pond instructional design model with an accompanying e3 ID Checklist.  This checklist enables instructional designers to design and develop instructional products that more adequately implement First Principles of Instruction.


M. David Merrill is an instructional effectiveness consultant and professor emeritus at Utah State University. He currently teaches online courses at Brigham Young University Hawaii and University of Hawaii. Since receiving his PhD from the University of Illinois in 1964 he has served on the faculty of George Peabody College, Brigham Young University-Provo, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, Utah State University, Brigham Young University Hawaii, and Florida State University. He is internationally recognized as a major contributor to the field of instructional technology, has published many books and articles in the field and has lectured internationally. Among his principle contributions: TICCIT Authoring System 1970's, Component Display Theory and Elaboration Theory 1980's, Instructional Transaction Theory, automated instructional design and ID based on Knowledge Objects 1990's, and recently First Principles of Instruction. He was honored to receive the AECT Life Time Achievement Award. He resides in St. George, UT.


List of Figures and Tables vii

Online Premium Content xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

Preface xix

Part I Identifying E3 Instruction 1

Chapter 1 What Are the Problems with Instruction? 5

Chapter 2 First Principles of Instruction 19

Chapter 3 Instructional Content 47

Chapter 4 Instructional Interaction 69

Chapter 5 Instructional Strategies 87

Chapter 6 Instructional Strategies for Problem Solving 121

Chapter 7 Problem-Centered Instructional Strategy 149

Chapter 8 Enhancing Instructional Strategies with Structural Frameworks and Learner Interaction 171

Chapter 9 Multimedia Implementation of Instructional Strategies 191

Chapter 10 Critiquing Instructional Strategies in Existing Instruction 219

Part II Designing E3 Instruction 247

Chapter 11 A Pebble-in-the-Pond Model for Instructional Design 249

Chapter 12 Designing Functional Prototypes 273

Chapter 13 Design a Problem Prototype 299

Chapter 14 Design a Problem Progression 315

Chapter 15 Design Strategies for Component Skills 325

Chapter 16 Design Structural Framework and Peer-interaction Strategy Enhancements 339

Chapter 17 Finalize the Functional Prototype 353

Chapter 18 Design Assessment and Evaluation 369

Chapter 19 The Pebble-in-the-Pond Instructional Design Checklist 381

Part III Support for First Principles of Instruction 393

Chapter 20 Indirect Support for First Principles of Instruction 395

Chapter 21 Direct Research Support for First Principles of Instruction 417

Chapter 22 First Principles of Instruction and the Future 437

Appendix Adding Assessment Capabilities to PowerPoint 451

Glossary 461

References 469

About the Author 477

Index 479