Dick and Carey's Model

Dick and Carey's model (1996) is systematic in nature. The model is a procedural system including ten major process components (nine basic steps in an iterative cycle and a culminating evaluation of the effectiveness of the instruction).

(Flow chart and table from Sherri Braxton's site on Instructional Design Models)

The nine components in an iterative cycle include:

  1. Assess needs to identify instructional goal(s): to identify what it is the learners are expected to be able to do at the end of the instruction
  2. Conduct instructional analysis: to determine a step-by-step of what learners are doing when they are performing the goal; to determine what skills and knowledge are required
  3. Analyze learners and contexts: to identify learners' present skills, preferences and attitude as well as the characteristics of the instructional setting; the useful information about the target population includes entry behaviors, prior knowledge of the topic area, attitudes toward content and potential delivery systems, academic motivation, attitudes toward the organization
  4. Write performance objectives: to specify what it is the learners will be able to do with the statements of the skills to be learned, the conditions, and the criteria
  5. Develop Assessment Instruments: to develop a criteria-referenced assessment consistent with the performance objectives
  6. Develop instructional strategy: to develop strategies in pre-instructional activities (motivation, objectives and entry behavior), presentation of information (instructional sequence, information, examples), learner's participation (practice and feedback), testing (pretest and posttest) and follow-through activities(remediation, enrichment, memorization and transfer)
  7. Develop and select instruction: to use the instructional strategies to produce the instruction
  8. Design and conduct formative evaluation: to collect data that are used to identify how to improve the instruction
  9. Revise Instruction: to use the data from the formative evaluation to examine the validity of the instructional analysis, learner and context analysis, performance objectives, assessment instruments, instructional strategies, and instruction.

The final process is to design and conduct summative evaluation, which is an evaluation of the value of the instruction.

The underlying approach and methods

The systems approach: Dick and Carey (1996) pointed out the systematic characteristics of their model:

  1. Goal-directed: all the components in the system work together toward a defined goal
  2. Interdependencies: all the components in the system depend on each other for input and output.
  3. Feedback mechanism: the entire system uses feedback to determine whether the goal is met.
  4. Self-regulating: The system will be modified until the desired goal is reached.

Needs Assessment: a study to determine the nature of an organizational problem and how it can be resolved. The outcome of a needs assessment is the description of problem, causes of the problem, and the solution.

  1. Needs assessment becomes an increasing important component of the process
  2. Rossett (1982): Needs assessment, a front-end analysis, is a technique to understand a performance problem before trying to solve it.
  3. Instruction may not be the only solution to the performance problem.
  4. Information gathering is important: the methods include interviews, questionnaires, observations, documents, group discussions

Gagne's (1985) domains of learning

  1. The domains include psychomotor skills, intellectual skills, verbal information, attitude and cognitive strategies
  2. Dick and Carey deliberately omitted cognitive strategies from the text: the least understood part; these can be treated like intellectual skills and taught as such.

Mager (1975) model for objectives: three major components: descriptions of the skill or behavior, descriptions of the conditions that the behavior is performed, and description of the criteria that will be used to evaluate learner performance.

Resier and Gagne's (1983) Media Selection: it is necessary to select a medium for a cluster of similar objectives in the same domain, and attempt to mix compatible media for a various objectives. The factors in media selections include

  1. The projected availability of various media
  2. The ability of the teacher and the students to manage the media
  3. The ability of the designer or an available expert to produce the materials in a particular media format
  4. Flexibility, durability and convenience of the materials within a specified medium
  5. Cost-effectiveness

Keller's ARCS model (Attention, Relevance, Confidence, Satisfaction)

Comments from Gustasfon and Branch (1997) about Dick and Carey's (1996) Model:

"The most widely adopted introductory text related to the ID process is Dick and Carey (1996). Thus, their model is known almost anywhere ID is taught. The popularity of the Dick and Carey model can be partially explained by its very readable text and the authors' continually updating the model to reflect emerging ID philosophy. They also accompany there model with clear and simple examples of each of the steps and excerpts from cases of its use to provide readers with a frame of reference. Dick and Carey have made minor modifications to their ID model to reflect growing interest in performance technology, context analysis, multilevel evaluation models, and total quality management".


Dick, W., & Carey, L. (1996). The systematic design of instruction. 4th ed. New York, NY: Harper Collin

Gustafson, K. and Branch, R. (1997) Revisioning Models of Instructional Development. Educational Technology, Research and Development, 45 (3), 73-89.

Mager, R. M. (1975). Preparing instructional objectives. Palo Alto, CA: Fearon Publishiners.

Reiser, R.A., & Gagne, C. R. M. (1983). Selecting media for instruction. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.