EDUC 602

Research Projects

Copies of 602 Research Papers appear here with the permission of the authors and are for the use of EDUC 602 Students and others with an interest in ISD-related research. Additional papers are encouraged and solicited.



EDUC 602




For over 30 years, Alexander Joseph Romiszowski has been active in the instructional design field--as an instructor, consultant, theorist and writer--in both traditional education and corporate training settings. He has produced over 200 publications, including 10 full length books. Currently, he is Professor of Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation, and Director of the Training Systems Institute in the School of Education at Syracuse University.

As one reviews his body of work, it becomes clear that among Romiszowski’s many interests are a few key topics: instructional design theory, instructional technology, and training. In the area of instructional design theory, he has sought to correct some deficiencies in classic approaches. He has embraced instructional technology of all kinds, and written extensively on how these technologies can be used effectively. He has also designed training programs all over the world, and used his experience to speculate about the future of training and make recommendations for improvement.


Instructional Design Theory

Perhaps Romiszowski’s most significant contribution to ISD is his modification of the classic domains of learning attributed to Bloom and associates: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. To these Romiszowski has added a fourth category, the interactive domain, in order to cover interpersonal skills, which do not readily fit into the other classifications (Romiszowski, 1981).

Romiszowski criticizes the educational establishment for ignoring the interactive domain, and credits the training sector with having recognized its importance. In the business world, interactive skills such as selling, leading, motivating and persuading have long been recognized as critical areas for training, especially for management and sales personnel.

The interactive domain is closely tied to the affective domain, to which Romiszowski has also suggested modifications. He has renamed it the reactive domain, arguing that it does not encompass merely attitudes and feelings ("affect"), but also skills that involve appropriate "reactions" to people or situations. Indeed, he believes that feelings and attitudes cannot actually be taught, but that you can teach someone to behave as if he or she felt a certain way. For example, sales clerks are trained to react to an angry customer in an agreeable manner, even if they don’t actually feel agreeable. In fact, it would be impossible to teach someone to feel goodwill when faced with an unreasonable and irate customer. But if the sales clerks maintain self-control and respond to the customer civilly, then they are exercising a reactive skill.

Interactive skills come into play when a person goes beyond reacting to a person or situation, and seeks to influence. Thus, in the example above, the sales clerk would be using an interactive skill if he or she not only responds in a positive manner, but also goes on to persuade the customer to make a purchase. In other words, reactive skills involve "managing oneself" and interactive skills involve "managing others."


I find that Romiszowski’s description of the affective/reactive domain sheds a new light on our class discussion of how to write objectives and measure performance in this area. We discussed that attitudes are not in themselves measurable, so we must write objectives that call for performance of a behavior that would indicate a particular attitude is present. But with Romiszowski ‘s model, it appears that the presence of the attitude does not matter. In fact, the attitude cannot really be taught. What matters is that the learner behaves as if the attitude is present. For example, one will probably never manage to change the attitude of a racist toward minorities through sensitivity training. But one may be able to teach the racist how not to act like a racist, that is, how to respond to minorities in a manner that is acceptable to society. Certainly, such a goal is worthy of training. Of course, the learner will need incentives to react in the prescribed manner, such as acceptance by one’s colleagues or keeping one’s job, but all learning requires some degree of motivation to be present in the learner. I think that Romiszowski’s view of the affective domain is both realistic and practical, and should serve to simplify objective writing and performance evaluation in this domain.


Instructional Technology

Another contribution of Romiszowski’s concerns the use of technology for instruction. In particular, he has been actively involved in the development of computer-based instructional systems, and written voluminously on their use and merits. Among the many advantages of CBI are its ability to deliver individualized instruction, and its suitability for instructional games and simulations, which are ideal for teaching skills in the reactive and interactive domains (Romiszowski 1984).

In a simulation, the learner is exposed to a realistic scenario and is required to make decisions, which subsequently have a direct impact on the how the scenario unfolds. Simulations allow learners to explore the results of actions that they would be unable to take in the real world, due to danger, cost or inconvenience.

Computer-based technology offers a particularly effective medium for the development of simulations. In an example of which I’m personally aware, a surgeon in training is able to "operate" on a patient, using an interactive video system. The student learns to make critical surgical decisions, but without any risk to an actual patient. Yet despite the advantages of computer-based simulations, Romiszowski finds that many of those in existence have a critical shortcoming:


While many CBI and CBIV simulations set up the scenario and create an exciting simulated environment with appropriate system responses, few create an effect ‘dialogue’ with the learner to analyze and bring to consciousness essential concepts, principles and rules used in the simulations. Most of the feedback is composed of summative, qualitative statements analyzing the learner’s responses in a ‘book-like’ fashion. It does not guarantee that the learner reflects on the reasons why certain decision strategies may be better than others (Romiszowski & Grabowski, 1989, p.2).


In other words, the simulation allows the learner to see the results of his or her decisions, but does not allow the learner to explore why those decisions were or were not appropriate. Such an opportunity to reflect upon why certain decisions lead to certain outcomes is considered critical in transforming the experience gained during the simulation into actual learning that can be drawn upon in the future. This step is especially important in teaching decision-making, where there are not necessarily absolute right and wrong answers.

In order to rectify this problem with CBI simulations, Romiszowski recommends the use of structured communication, a methodology developed by Anthony Hodgson in the late 1960's. In structural communication as applied by Hodgson, the following steps are generally followed: a) learners are exposed to new material; b) learners are posed with a set of related questions or problems; c) learners formulate responses by choosing elements from a matrix consisting of 20 to 30 different items; d) learners are presented with discussion material based upon the items they did or did not include in their responses.

For example, Romiszowski developed a debriefing tutorial to be used with students following the completion of an interactive video simulation for sales management decision-making. In its original form, the simulation eventually provided feedback to learners regarding the degree of correctness of their decisions, but never explained why one solution might be better than another. The added structural communication unit allowed students to explore how they came to their decisions, and see how their solutions compared to those of the management experts who designed the instruction. In addition, the students had the opportunity to respond directly to the instructor/developer if they felt their responses, though not considered correct by the instructional program, were indeed supportable. Romiszowski feels this interaction between the student and the instructor/developer is essential not only to enrich the student’s learning experience, but also to improve the quality of instruction, as certain student feedback might actually lead to changes in the tutorial. Here we see the importance of ongoing evaluation of training materials, as stressed in the ISD model.

While the tutorial developed for the management simulation was originally paper-based, Romiszowski later created a computer-based version. He also developed a computer-based structural communication unit to aid in the teaching of George Orwell’s Animal Farm (Romiszowski & Abrahamson, 1994). In each case, he encountered a number of difficulties, the foremost of which was fitting the entire response matrix on a single computer screen. Since each item in the response matrix typically consisted of at least a sentence, the items could not be viewed simultaneously, but rather had to be placed in a list which the learner could scroll up or down. As a result, the learner was forced to consider the responses separately, and lost the advantage of being able to see relationships and patterns among them. Despite this shortcoming, Romiszowski sees structural communication as a valuable, but so far unexploited tool for the CBI developer and worthy of additional research.

Another area of technology in which Romiszowski has been involved is the expert system. The expert system is not a training technology per se, but rather a sophisticated job aid that assists workers in problem-solving (Romiszowski, 1986). An expert system consists of a structured knowledge base, the information used by an expert in solving a particular type of problem, and an inference engine, which contains the rules and strategies an expert applies in solving such a problem. Since some expert systems are designed to inform the user of the logic that was employed to arrive at a particular solution, they also may contain an instructional element.

While expert systems are generally designed by "knowledge engineers," Romiszowski has described how the development process overlaps with the ISD process, and thus, how the instructional designer can make important contributions to the design of these systems (Dills & Romiszowski, 1990). The basic steps involved in designing an expert system are: problem selection, knowledge elicitation, knowledge representation, user interface development and testing, and prototype development and testing.

The problem selection step overlaps with the analysis step in the ISD model, and includes identifying the type of problem to be addressed by the expert system, the user, the subject matter expertise needed and the resources available. The knowledge elicitation step parallels the instructional designer’s experience in terms of choosing an appropriate SME or team of SME’s, and gathering the necessary information from them to develop content. In this step, Romiszowski stresses the importance of minimizing the SME’s time contribution, as he or she often represents one of the more costly elements of a project. In order to do so, Romiszowski recommends that the knowledge elicitor learn as much about the subject as possible before ever meeting with the SME.

In my current position as a designer and writer of instructional videotapes on patient education topics, I encounter this issue a lot. While the physicians and educators who serve as SME’s for our videos are usually paid by the project rather than the hour, we are still forced to use them sparingly due to their limited availability, or otherwise projects are paralyzed while we wait for responses. As a result, I have found it necessary to make myself an expert on the subject matter to whatever degree possible, so that we need the real SME as little as possible.

While the knowledge representation step, which involves creation of the knowledge base and inference engine, is not likely to be familiar to the instructional designer, the process bears similarities to structuring the flow of information within a CBI lesson--an activity in which many instructional designers do have expertise. Development of the user interface for an expert system also parallels the screen design activities undertaken by the CBI developer. Prototype development lies mainly in the realm of the computer programmer, but testing both of the user interface and prototype clearly falls within the domain of instructional designers who, of course, are intimately familiar with evaluation, a key component of the ISD process.

If the use of expert systems grows as Romiszowski believes it will, then this area will provide new opportunities and challenges to the instructional designer who wishes to participate.



Romiszowski has described trends in corporate training as a series of waves, each overtaking and incorporating the previous one (Romiszowski, 1990). The first significant wave peaked in the 1960's and focused on job-skills training. It's primary goal was to train workers to perform repetitive, production line-type jobs. The second wave, which dominated in the 1970's, concerned management and supervision training. A great many resources were poured into training managers, yet significant benefits to corporations were not realized. Much of the training was generic, teaching general supervisory skills supposed to be universally helpful.

I think there's little wonder that this management training was ineffective, since canned training by nature ignores the ISD process. The developers of these programs were skipping the essential analysis step. They had to, no doubt, because they didn't really know who their learners were. As a result, the programs were teaching objectives, if they had objectives at all, that may or may not have had any relevance to the student/manager's actual job situation. It might also be noted that management skills, as discussed earlier, reside primarily in the interactive domain. These skills are not universal, but are situation-specific. That's why the objectives we write for skills in the interactive domain, indeed in any domain, must have the expected behavior and conditions clearly spelled out.

Apparently, another problem with this popular 1970's training was that many of the managers returned with a lot of bright ideas about how to improve things, but were unable to implement any changes due to the inflexibility of their companies. Here, again, is a problem that can be eliminated by thorough analysis prior to development of instruction. The company's goals can be determined, as well any characteristics that might prove to be barriers to reaching those goals.

The third wave of training, that of the 1980's, saw the emergence of two trends: organizational development and performance technology. With the former, companies seek to revamp their entire organizations from the top down, drawing all levels of employees together to work toward unified goals. With the latter, companies seek to improve themselves from the bottom up, with productivity problems being tackled individually. Romiszowski notes that the performance technology trend grew out of the recognition that training often didn’t solve corporations’ problems, either because the productivity problem was unrelated to training, or because the training needed to be augmented with additional actions from the company. Once again, the need for analysis is demonstrated.

The 1990's bring with them the fourth wave--"information, knowledge, and wisdom"-- which is driven by advances in information and communication technology. Among the resulting training developments, predicts Romiszowski, will be the increasing use of expert systems, which will allow people to make complex decisions at a level of expertise that otherwise would require much more training and experience. Another development will be the increasing utilization of training-at-a-distance, in which learners at varied geographic locations may be trained via computer and telecommunications technology at significantly reduced costs in terms of travel and time away from job.

Romiszowski believes that training will begin to focus on these areas: teaching people to efficiently use new information and communication tools, promoting the acceptance of change, and teaching the skill of "learning to learn." This last item will be essential for both individuals and organizations, as continuous change will require everyone to keep up with, if not create, new knowledge in order to stay competitive in the worldwide business environment.

Since a company’s competitive edge will be more crucial than ever, trainers will be held increasingly accountable for the results and cost-effectiveness of their training. I believe that as a result, the importance of the ISD process will also grow, since the model seems to be an excellent tool for ensuring that training is needed and that the training will produce the desired results.

What the generic ISD model does not guarantee is cost-effectiveness. In fact, Romiszowski has candidly described the shortcomings of the ISD process, based on his own real world experiences (Romiszowski, 1989). In particular, he notes the failure of projects in the dissemination stage, after having had a highly successful pilot implementation. At first glance, one might think that the failure of a project to succeed in the dissemination/diffusion stage could be attributed to the fact that the basic ISD model doesn’t even cover that stage, although some variations do, such as the Briggs model. However, Romiszowski does not feel that the failure of these projects is due to the absence of an algorithm to guide the dissemination stage, but rather a lack of project management:


It is still quite common to find projects that overrun hopelessly on both time and cost criteria, in the drive towards technical performance. Others, when pressed by time (T) and cost (C) constraints, end up by compromising performance (P), not for any lack of technical expertise/experience on the project team, but for lack of project management skill or, more seriously, because the project was designed with a built-in failure component due to insufficient planning attention to the real (T) and (C) requirements in order to deliver the (P) level promised. (p. 96)


It’s true that only one of the models that we studied in class featured a project management step--the IDI model, which sought to assign tasks and responsibilities and develop time lines under the step entitled "Organize Management". But as suggested by our difficulty in finding information on these models, few designers in the field probably use these models anyway. So it’s not very surprising that instructional designers often fail in this rather crucial area of project design and implementation.

Good project management skills are not only essential to the instructional design process, but also to all business ventures. Therefore, perhaps this shortcoming of instructional designers could be addressed to some degree by the educational process, for example, in the form of one or more business courses devoted to project management.

Romiszowski suggests that while educational and training projects are not generally considered profit-motivated ventures, perhaps they should be treated as such. The economic aspects of the process should be given as much attention as the technical aspects. For example, he likens the analysis step in ISD to market research in the business world. As for marketing--how to reach your intended market with your product and get it accepted--he laments that there is no equivalent in instructional design projects. Yet if one wants to disseminate a training program on a large scale, one must consider how to reach the market, which usually comprises those implementing the training, rather than those being trained. Since the ISD process focuses on the learner rather than the instructor, the potential for conflict when one has to "sell" the training program to an instructor is great. Romiszowski cites an example in which a series of self-study materials for employees in the engineering industry was developed and tested with great success. Yet when samples of these quality materials were circulated to the firms for whom they had been designed, the instructors all gave the tutorials poor evaluations and refused to use them. Further inquiry revealed that the instructors had acted together in rejecting the program, not because it was bad, but because it was so good they feared they would lose their jobs. Failure to address how to get the "product" accepted by the market resulted in years of work being wasted.

At my company, we often encounter much the opposite problem--too much focus on the instructor (the "market") to the detriment of the learner. This fault results primarily from the fact that we do not have direct access to the learner. Thus, we cannot carry out the traditional ISD process. Instead, we must rely exclusively on the patient educators (nurses and physicians) who purchase our videos to tell us what the learner needs. While I am confident that the quality of our products compares quite favorably to that of competing products, we can never truly be sure of our programs’ effectiveness, since we do not conduct evaluations involving the learner. Furthermore, we sometimes find ourselves being asked to take steps to satisfy the instructor that we know are not in the learner’s best interest--such as making 30 minute videos, which we know are far too long for a viewer to absorb, but which many educators request so they will feel they are getting their money’s worth.

I suspect this type of problem often arises in the world of corporate training as well, or any time that someone other than the learner holds the purse strings (and that seems to be the case in the majority of educational and training situations, with the exception of courses marketed directly to the consumer, and to some extent, higher education.) While there are no easy solutions to such "marketing" conflicts, I believe instructional designers should at least be made aware of their existence. In addition, skills for dealing with these situations could be acquired if ISD projects were approached as implementations of business ventures, and proper attention were given to economic issues and project management, as Romiszowski believes is so vital.



Overall, I think that Romiszowski’s work holds a great deal of relevance for today’s instructional designer. Unlike many other ISD figures whose accomplishments peaked in the 1950's, 60's or 70's, Romiszowski continues to work and publish in the field, and thus, has seen the tremendous changes that technology has wrought upon both education and training. He has not only accepted these changes, but also promoted the use of technology and addressed its appropriate utilization. In addition, Romiszowski’s writings are full of concrete examples, as well as historical background and references to other theorists’ work, all of which render his publications rich information sources for the fledgling designer.

Regarding access to Romiszowski’s work, there is an ironic downside that I feel compelled to note. His excellent series--Designing Instructional Systems, Producing Instructional Systems, Developing Auto-Instructional Materials--and a subsequent book, the Selection and Use of Instructional Media, were printed in text approximately this size, which--as you can see--is not very reader-friendly. (Imagine hundreds of pages of single-spaced text like this.) The irony, of course, lies in the fact that an expert in instructional design has allowed such an obvious barrier to learning as minuscule text size to frustrate those who wish to read and learn from his books.




Romiszowski, A.J. (1981). Designing Instructional Systems. London: Kogan Page.


Romiszowski, A.J. (1984). Producing Instructional Systems. London: Kogan Page.


Romiszowski, A.J. & Grabowski, B. (1989). Interactive video and cognitive structures: a technique for enhancing the effectiveness of interactive simulations and games. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 308 852)


Romiszowski, A.J. & Abrahamson, A. (1994). The structural communication methodology as a means of teaching George Orwell’s Animal Farm: paper and computer-based instruction. Computers in the Schools, 10, (1), 199-225.


Romiszowski, A.J. (1986). Developing Auto-Instructional Materials. London: Kogan Page.


Dills, C.R. & Romiszowski, A.J. (1990). The instructional developer, expert systems, and the front-end process. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 358 841)


Romiszowski, A.J. (1990). Trends in corporate training and development. In M. Mulder, A.J. Romiszowski & P.C. van der Sijde, Strategic human resource development. (pp.17-61). Amsterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger.


Romiszowski, A.J. (1989). Avoiding failure through better project planning and analysis: case studies of avoidable failure in instructional systems design and development projects. Educational and Training Technology International, 26, (2), 95-111.





Dills, C.R. & Romiszowski, A.J. (1990). The application of formal design theories to the production of videodisc/CBI instructional systems. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 353 960)


Dills, C.R. & Romiszowski, A.J. (1990). The instructional developer, expert systems, and the front-end process. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 358 841)


Romiszowski, A.J. (1981). Designing Instructional Systems. London: Kogan Page.


Romiszowski, A.J. (1982). A study of two varieties of self-instructional materials used in three different instructional plans with adult and adolescent students of mathematics in Brazil. Performance and Instruction, 21, (7), 9-13, 41.


Romiszowski, A.J. (1984). Producing Instructional Systems. London: Kogan Page.


Romiszowski, A.J. (1986). Developing Auto-Instructional Materials. London: Kogan Page.


Romiszowski, A.J. (1987). Expert systems in education and training: automated job aids or sophisticated instructional media? Educational Technology, 27, (10), 22-30.


Romiszowski, A.J. (1988). The Selection and Use of Instructional Media. London: Kogan Page.


Romiszowski, A.J. (1989). Attitudes and affect in learning and instruction. Educational Media International, 26, (2), 85-100.


Romiszowski, A.J. (1989). Avoiding failure through better project planning and analysis: case studies of avoidable failure in instructional systems design and development projects. Educational and Training Technology International, 26, (2), 95-111.


Romiszowski, A.J. (1989). Computer mediated communication for instruction: using e-mail as a seminar. Educational Technology, 29, (10), 7-14



Romiszowski, A.J. (1990). Trends in corporate training and development. In M. Mulder, A.J. Romiszowski & P.C. van der Sijde, Strategic human resource development. (pp.17-61). Amsterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger.


Romiszowski, A.J. (1991). A report on the seventh international conference on case method research and case method application. Performance and Improvement Quarterly, 4, (1), 82-87.



Romiszowski, A.J. (1994). Educational systems design implications of electronic publishing. Educational Technology, 34, (7), 6-12.


Romiszowski, A.J. & Abrahamson, A. (1994). The structural communication methodology as a means of teaching George Orwell’s Animal Farm: paper and computer-based instruction. Computers in the Schools, 10, (1), 199-225.


Romiszowski, A.J. & Grabowski, B. (1989). Interactive video and cognitive structures: a technique for enhancing the effectiveness of interactive simulations and games. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 308 852)


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