ID’s Dick and Carey Model Podcast


Musical Interlude


Greetings, Salutations,  and a Big Welcome to Our Very Bright Instructional Design Podcast. I’m your host Dr. Julia. Our topic for today is the Dick and Carey Instructional Design model.




Dick and Carey model breaks down the different components for completing an instructional design project. The steps are made smaller to refine what is being asked but are interconnected so that one shapes another.

Stage 1: Instructional Goal
This stage begins the process by asking: “What are we trying to accomplish?” and “What will the learner be able to do when they have finished?” An instructor must assess what is the desired state a student should be in when they have completed the assignment. Specifically, the student should be able to perform a certain way. Part of this process is to assess the needs of the students: what separates the student and their current situation from reaching the instructional goal.

Example: I am currently teaching an undergraduate course in academic writing for a local university. One of my instructional goals is for students to be able to produce their own research confidently. Before I can write my major assignments or assign readings, I had to determine what a confident research looks like. In the case of my class, it means the students need to be able to ask researchable questions, compile information for a variety of sources, know what different research methods are out there, how to choose a methodology, and then successfully perform one or more method.

Stage 2: Instructional Analysis
The second stage analyzes the gap between what the student knows and where they should be at the end of the assignment further. For this assessment, the instructor must determine the skills involved in reaching a goal, construct a list of steps to reach those goals, determine the mental operations a person must go through to accomplish those steps, and set forth smaller milestones, or objectives, to benchmark when learners acquire certain skills.

During the first week of school, I had the students write a short essay about a topic that interests them, so we have a starting place for research. The essay also helped me identify the skills gaps the students had in terms of writing, researching, and comfort with academic writing.

Stage 3: Entry Behaviors and Learner Characteristics
During stage 3, the instructor performs research on learners to identify what they know, how they feel about what they know, and other traits and behaviors relevant for learning. The stage answers the question: “What do learners already bring to the course?”

I had a set of major assignments and a calendar before the first week of classes set up, but after receiving their essays, I made adjustments to the calendar to set forth lessons, which can act as milestones throughout the course, and made some alterations to how I would approach certain topics to help students bridge between what they know and what they could know by the end.

Stage 4: Performance Objectives
After assessing the needs of learners and setting forth goals, the next stage requires the instructor to write out clear and detailed performance objectives. This stage asks the questions: “Under what conditions can a learner demonstrate their development?” or “By what measure can we determine if the lesson is successful?”

For my class, the objectives are the following: recognize and appropriately define a research topic

  • identify, locate, and evaluate appropriate academic sources
  • document sources in appropriate bibliographic style
  • formulate and synthesize an extended research project.
  • communicate research in multiple modes (written, oral, and multimedia).

Stage 5: Criterion-Referenced Test Items
Stage 5 asks instructors to develop assessments to be given at the beginning of the course and throughout to make certain the learner has the necessary knowledge to do the course, progresses appropriately throughout, and reaches the desired outcomes at the end.

Back to my course example, students started with the diagnostic essay and will end with a final essay, which will reflect on the diagnostic essay in terms of what the student did in class. I want the students to consider what they knew at the beginning and where they feel they ended up. During the course itself, the students will write a bibliography and research paper, thus demonstrating their proficiency in performing research.

Stage 6: Instructional Strategy
Learning occurs best through activities, so this next stage outlines for the instructor what the learners will do throughout the course. To be most effective, the lessons need to reflect back on the objectives and be effective teaching strategies.

It would take way too long to outline my course here. Suffice it to say, my class has a calendar and microlessons throughout each class.

Stage 7: Instructional Materials
With outline in hand, the instructor either needs to gather together relevant materials for the course activities or needs to generate those materials from scratch.

Lucky for me, teachers like to share their lesson ideas, so I rarely have to create materials completely from scratch.

Stage 8: Formative Evaluation
Formative assessment occurs throughout a lesson and allows the instructor to make adjustments to the learning process as the course goes along. The best method for this assessment is to create a beta test and ask participants for feedback as they go along.

Because I teach in a face-to-face setting, I can simply ask my students direct questions or have small group meetings with them. Around midterm, I often ask my students to indicate something in the course which is working for them and something which isn’t.

Stage 9: Summative Evaluation
As the end of the lesson, an instructor should stop and evaluate the program’s effectiveness: Did the students learn? Were the learning objectives met? What is gap between known and unknown now?

I suppose in the face-to-face setting of a college campus the summative evaluation falls mainly on the final projects and the teacher evaluation forms. I prefer in this case the evaluations of the business world, which have learners demonstrate their knowledge and then reflect on what worked or didn’t work for them in the course rather than on their instructor (my weight does not impact whether I’m a good or bad teacher).

My Thoughts:

The two main differences I can readily see that are of value concern the evaluation and analysis directly of learners and the skills they bring to the table and the use of summative and formative evaluation on the program being created.


I do wonder however about the use of this model in different settings. For example, my academic colleagues would be open to directly assessing learners and what they already know and then implementing that data into course creation; while from my experience, a corporate consumer may just want to tell me what they believe their employees can or cannot do because any testing may be disruptive to work.


Frankly there are too many steps. The model does show what an instructional designer should actually be doing, but if I tried to explain this process to my employers their eyes would roll up into their heads. It’s too much and many of the steps function together, such as the first 4 stages.


My assessment: Good model for learning how to be an instructional designer; terrible model for actually doing the work.


Closing Music