Mayer's Designing Instruction for Constructivist Learning:
SOI Model (Select, Organize, and Integrate)

Constructivist learning environments emphasize the manipulation of the physical objects, but sometime it is not possible to develop a simulated environment for such manipulation. Mayer's SOI model can be complimentary under that situation. The model intends to foster understanding through direct instruction and it is suitable for text-based learning, lecture and multimedia environments, in which manipulation is not possible (Reigeluth, 1999).

Mayer's three views of learning

Learning as Response Strengthening
Learning as Knowledge Acquisition
Learning as Knowledge Construction
  • Learning occurs as weakening or strengthening of an association between stimulus and response
  • Role of the learner: reacting to reward and punishment
  • Role of the teacher: administering reward and punishment
  • Functions of the instruction: create a mechanism of stimulus-response-feedback; drill and practice
  • Learning occurs when the new information is placed in long-term memory.
  • Role of the learner: receive and process information
  • Role of the teacher: present information by lectures or textbooks
  • Functions of the instruction: to present and transmit the information directed from the teacher or textbook to learner
  • Learning occurs when a learner actively constructs a knowledge representation in working memory.
  • Role of the learner: the sense maker
  • Role of the teacher: cognitive guide provides guidance and modeling on authentic academic tasks
  • Functions of the instruction: to create meaningful interaction between the learners and the academic material, and to facilitate the learners' processes of selecting, organizing, and integrating information
  • Focus on rote learning, in which learners add behaviors or information into their memory
  • Focus on rote learning, in which learners add behaviors or information into their memory
  • Focus on constructive learning, an active learning, in which the learner possesses and uses a variety of cognitive processes during the learning process


Mayer (1999) distinguished two kinds of active learning: behaviorally active learning, engaging in doing something without making sense of the actions or the objects; cognitive active learning, engaging sense making, such as self-explanation. He also classified three prerequisites for problem-solving transfer:

  1. Skill: Cognitive Processes (selecting, organizing, and integrating information)
  2. Metaskill: metacognitive and self-regulatory processes for planning, orchestrating, and monitoring)
  3. Will: Motivational and attitudinal aspects of learning

What is SOI model?
Let's examine Mayer's SOI model from four different aspects:

  1. Its theoretical foundation includes;
  1. Its instructional functions are to:
  1. Its implications to instructional design include:
  1. Its suggestions of the methods

Select Material:

Help learners to focus on the relevant piece of information

Organize Material:

Help to organize the incoming information into a coherent representation

Integrate Material:

Help learners to activate and use prior knowledge and to activate and coordinate multiple representations of the materials

  • Highlight most important information for learners: using different text design techniques, such as bolding, heading, etc.
  • Use instructional objectives or adjunct questions
  • Provide a summary
  • Eliminate irrelevant information: be concise
  • Structure of the text: comparison, classification, enumeration, generalization, and cause-effect
  • Outlines
  • Headings
  • Pointer or signal words
  • Graphic representations
  • Advance organizers
  • Illustrations with captions
  • Animation with narration
  • Worked-out examples
  • Elaborative questions



Mayer, R. H. (1999). Designing instruction for constructivist learning. In C. M. Reigeluth, (Eds.), In C. M. Reigeluth, (Ed), Instructional-design theories and models: A new paradigm of instructional theory, Volume II. pp,141-160. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Reigeluth, C. M. (1999). (Ed.), Instructional-design theories and models: An new paradigm of instructional theory, Volume II.. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.