Monday, May 23, 2011

5 Star Instructional Design Rating

The 5 Star Instructional Design Rating is broken into 5 core questions or stars that may be posed when reviewing an instructional site. The 5 stars represent the concepts of Problem, Activation, Demonstration, Application, and Integration. Each star is awarded a gold, silver, and bronze. Below I have broken down the ratings in a progressive order of bronze, silver, and gold to signify the attainment of one level and then building upon that to reach the next. These stars are broken down in the following:
  • Is the course presented in the context of real world problems? (Problem)
    • bronze - the course presents a view of the completion of a module resulting in the learner's ability to perform a task
    • silver - students are engaged in the problem and task levels as well as the operation and action levels
    • gold - students complete multiple problems rather than just 1
  • Does the courseware attempt to activate relevant prior knowledge or experience? (Activation)
    • bronze - students use prior knowledge as a basis to build in the new learning
    • silver - the course facilitates students in building relevant experience to build knowledge upon
    • gold - students are given opportunities to utilize prior experience and knowledge of subjects
  • Does the courseware demonstrate (show examples) or what is to be learned rather than merely tell information about what is to be learned? (Demonstration)
    • bronze - the course maintains consistency between the demonstrations being utilized and the skills being developed
    • silver - learner guidance techniques are being applied
    • gold - media is both used to enhance learning and relevant to coursework
  • Do learners have an opportunity to practice and apply their newly acquired knowledge or skill? (Application)
    • bronze - practice and tests are consistent with stated objectives
    • silver - learners are required to complete varied sequences of problems and are provided constructive feedback
    • gold - students are able to access help and guidance from instructors if faced with problems, and this safety net is gradually reduced through the progression of the course
  • Does the courseware provide techniques that encourage leaner's to integrate (transfer) the new knowledge or skill into their everyday life? (Integration)
    • bronze - students are able to publicly demonstrate gained knowledge
    • silver - students are provided opportunities to discuss and defend their new knowledge
    • gold - students are provided opportunities to use their new knowledge to invent, create, and learn
I think the 5 Star Instructional Design Rating helps in that it takes a step-by-step approach to examining an instructional system. Often times, these factors would be overlooked. The ratings allow even the creators to follow along, while allowing them to take a step back from their own creations in order to examine them impartially. I am unsure if I understand the gold, silver, and bronze ratings correctly. However, the way that I understand them seem to make sense to me! Am I understanding them correctly, or is there a different way to be looking at this? I would appreciate your feedback!


Merrill, M.D. (2001). 5 star instructional design rating. Utah State University.

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