I have already discussed the ADDIE  instructional system design model (ISD). Lawrence A. Tomei of the Robert Morris University argues that while ADDIE represents the base of most instructional systems design, there exist lesson design models such as ASSURE [Analyze learners, State objectives, Select media, Utilize materials, Require participation, Evalute] and the BDM (Backward Design Model)  which “differ with respect to the educational psychology they espose and the problems they seek to address”.

According to Tomei, the ASSURE model “assumes that instruction is delivered using a variety of media and is helpful when designing technology based lessons”. Tomei correlates this model to cognitivism, the reconstruction of prior knowledge and the processing of new information.

The third generation of ISD models he refers to as the BDM, constitutes an answer to the behavioural and cognitive educational theory flaws and shortfalls by including a person’s feelings toward learning and how learning sattisfied individuals. Thus it starts with the end, by stating the results and the goals beforehand.

Now for the fun part: Tomei proposes an engine for designing online education, mixing the educational components of the three models mentioned above in a scheme where each pose as a gear. The engine examines: Learner; Learning;  Resources; Delivery and Outcomes as they appear in: the Traditional, the Adult and the Distant learner. [here we are once again cofronted with the Bloom’s taxonomy of 1956 as it represents the traditional leaner’s taxonomy for learning]


While trying to redesign the scheme as an engine I realized it was not. The gear metaphor is not valid here, as concepts meet at the crossroads of conditions without being able to redefine the result of the next intersection. Despite this, diagrams as Tomei’s in all their simplicity, help the viewer acquire a sense of transition from one paradigm to the next.


Tomei, Lawrence A., 2010, ‘A Theoretical Model for Designing Online Education’ in “Online Education and Adult Learning: New Frontiers for Teaching Practices”, ed. Terry Kidd, New York: Hershey, pp. 29-45

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