The concept of Instruction Design or “the practice of creating instructions” was created during World War 2. It was created when a large number of psychologists and educationalists were summoned to develop training materials. They had to apply their knowledge of evaluation. A considerable amount of training materials for the military were developed. This was based on the principles of instruction, learning, and human behaviour.


During mid 1950-1960’s, the programmed instructional design movement was started by B.F.Skinner, Bloomberg Benjamin, Robert F. Mager. They introduced the concept of instruction materials, leading to the development of the “Taxonomy of educational objectives”. This identified as three principal domains of learning. It emphasised the importance of desired behaviour and learning conditional assessment in writing learning objectives. In early 1960’s, Robert Glaser coined the term “criterion-referenced measures”. It was used to assess students’ entry-level behaviour and post training competency. This is when the Criterion-Referenced Testing Movement took place. It can be used to assess the learners’ entry level behaviour. Also it can be used to what extent learners have developed mastery through an instructional program.

In 1965, Robert Gagne introduced the Conditions of Learning. He described three domains of learning outcomes (cognitive, affective, psychomotor), five learning outcomes (Verbal Information, Intellectual Skills, Cognitive Strategy, Attitude, Motor Skills), and nine events of instruction in “The conditions of Learning”, which remains foundation of instructional design practices even today.

Age of Transition

To begin with, in 1970, the Instruction Design witnessed rising interest in the systems approach. A number of models based on information-processing-approach were developed across military, academia and organisations, many of which use media to improve the quality of instruction. In 1980’s, the birth of e-learning took place and the methods were evaluated for the use of PC in an academic and interactive context. There was a rise in interest in the principles of cognitive psychology. Since the use of computers was already known, now the designers thought of improvement and importance of performance.

In 1990’s, a rising interest in “Constructivism” and in the importance of performance was seen. The constructivist theory underlines the importance of authentic learning tasks that replicate the actual complexity of the real world environment of trainees as opposed to the theoretical learning approach which preceded it. Finally, through the instruction Design (ID), in 2000’s the online learning revolutionised. The deeper internet penetration, better bandwidths and rise of social media made online learning a viable, economical and effective medium as it provided realistic learning experiences.

Present scenario

In conclusion. today technology is used in all its form for teaching and assessment purposes. Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analytics are used for shaping the way how learning is tailored to the needs and preferences of each learner. Online Learning has absorbed advanced technologies. Products such as Articulate Storyline are making it possible for trainers to create the learning content in various flexible formats, at the same time products such as Atum Testpad are using artificial intelligence to create intelligent Learning Management System for insightful learning ecosystem.