Gustafson, K.L. & Branch, R.M. (1997). Revisioning models of instructional development. Educational Technology Research & Development, 45(3), 73-89.

Gustafson & Branch review the history of instructional development models, starting with Silvern’s (1965) application of systems theory to instructional design. They focus their review of models on those that include the steps of analysis, design, production, evaluation and revision, and acknowledge that some authors would include implementation. They find that these models have been researched, applied and modified in different contexts for different audiences: college courses, large-scale curriculum planning, military training, individual classrooms with teachers as designers, and self-based lessons/commercial products. They also suggest that models serve the role of conceptual and communication tools. Positing a taxonomy of instructional design models, they categorize models for purpose into classroom, products and systems models and then offer a set of characteristics by which to compare them: typical output, resources committed to development, team or individual effort, instructional design skill or experience, emphasis on development or selection, amount of front-end analysis/needs assessment, technological complexity of delivery media, amount of tryout and revision and amount of distribution/dissemination. Finally, they acknowledge recent developments in instructional development models such as rapid prototyping and use of expert systems, but conclude that these models do not depart from earlier models if one views the process as iterative and recursive rather than linear and progressive: “While we have no quarrel with those who are exploring alternative ways of developing learning environments, we believe many claims for uniqueness are overstated” (p.86).