A Framework for Instructional Design

First Principles of Instruction

M. David Merrill (2002) identified five Instructional Design principles that promote learning when creating learning/training environments, processes, and products. He noted that the most effective learning processes or environments are problem-centered and involve the learner in the five distinct phases of:

Merrill uses the following diagram to show the four phases surrounding problems:

Merrill's effective learning processes or environments

According to Merrill, the definition of a problem varies among theorists, such as engaging in a simulation or being involved in a real world task. He uses the word problem to include a wide range of activities, with the most critical characteristics being that the activity is a whole task, rather than components of a task and that the task is representative of those the learner will encounter in the real world.

Next Steps

The major instructional design theories and/are models include:

Some other models for creating learning processes are:


Merrill, M.D. (2002). First principles of instruction. Educational Technology, Research and Development, 50(3), pp43-59.