English publication


Introduction: Due to periodical job rotation within the military, instructional developers are not always experts in their field and are consequently unaware of the types of educational concepts that are available to teach with (Jans & Frazer-Jans, 2004). These observations have led to the construction of a tool named AID (Assistant for Instructional Development) to support the educational developer in choosing suitable instructional concepts. The development of AID is inspired by bridging the gap between the complex theories of instructional design, the available computer-based technologies, and on the other hand, the shortage of expertise in courseware design of military subject matter experts (Muraida & Spector, 1993). AID advises the developer from a database of the most up to date concepts. Input such as preconditions, desired organisational aspects and educational content is used by AID to generate an advice. This advice consists of more than just an indication of a suitable educational concept; it also provides suggestions and guidance for implementation. In continuance of two pilots, AID has been tested by 29 instructors in training to establish if it is a valid tool for choosing suitable concepts.

Method: As a first step towards the validation of AID, different descriptions of specific learning situations have been constructed. These descriptions can be seen as vignettes. The vignettes depict a specific learning situation within defense training and instruction All subjects read the three vignettes and then answered the questions posed by AID. After finishing the questions for each vignette, they were shown the first advice that had been generated by AID. The data that was collected totaled 174 advices; a first advice per subject per vignette (87 advices), and a second advice per subject per vignette (another 87 advices). The second advice thus was registered by us but not shown to the participants.
Every individual advice was compared to the advice that AID would have been expected to generate. For example, if vignette A described ‘part task learning’, it was expected that AID would advise this same concept. The first and second advice that was generated by every subject for vignette A was compared to this expected advice..

Results: For Vignette A 83 % of the respondents received the intended concept as a first advice. In combination with the second advice a total of 93 % of the respondents were presented with the intended advice. Vignette B led to more divers outcomes. Only 31 % received the intended concept as a first advice, and in combination with the second advice, 41 % received the intended advice produced by AID.Vignette C showed that 69 % of the users of AID got the intended concept as their first advice. Together with the second advice 79 % of the respondents, in total, received the expected advice. The results show that AID is an effective tool for advising instructional developers. It can be concluded that AID is well adapt at providing support for the development of new educational programs.

Possibilities for implementation lie within both the training of instructional developers, as well as on the work floor. When instructional developers are trained for their new posts, they can explore the different educational concepts by using AID. Once on-the-job, AID can assist them in selecting appropriate educational concepts and support their choice with additional information on the required preconditions. In addition, AID can solve some of the uncertainties that are associated with resemblances between educational concepts. As is evident from literature (Theunissen et al., 2005), there is never an exact definition for any educational concept. This leads to fine distinctions in practical implementation of these concepts. AID creates an opening for organizations to standardize both theoretical and implementational values of these concepts. When all educational developers handle the same principles and definitions of concepts in designing their educational settings, it will be possible to implement the various educational concepts consistently.


Instructional Development; Military; Instructional Development; Training; Instruction; Courseware Design; Educational Development, Instructional Design; support; Aid; Educational Concepts; Instructors; Job Rotation; Army; Instrument.

picture of N.C.M. Theunissen

Last updated on 12 February, 2015.