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Running Head: INVESTIGATING THE ICARE MODEL

Investigating the ICARE Model for Advanced Instructional Design


Rhonda Ritter
CECS 6020
University of North Texas

INVESTIGATING THE ICARE MODEL

Investigating the ICARE Model for Advanced Instructional Design


The impact of technology on the world has not only changed the way organizations
conduct their daily business affairs, but it has made a tremendous impact in the educational
setting. The use of online classes has changed the way students attend college, the way faculty
members prepare to teach their courses and assess their students, and the way that faculty and
students collaborate. Courses are being offered in a variety of formats such as: synchronous,
asynchronous, blended/hybrid courses. Synchronous learning is defined as online courses when
the instructor and the student are online at the same time. Students are required to all be online
and participate in class lectures, discussions, etc. at a specific date and time. In contrast,
asynchronous learning coursework is provided via web technology and the students can access
the content, presentations, lectures, tests, etc. at a time that is convenient for them (Admin,
2012). Blended and/or hybrid courses, as they are commonly called, is a combination of
synchronous and asynchronous.
Many different terms are used to define the course offerings, however, one of the most
important aspects of this trend is designing the course so that it will benefit the students.
Instructional design has evolved into a field that is growing rapidly to keep up with the offerings
of online courses. Not only are instructional designers needed in the educational arena, but in
any aspect of an organization that needs to conduct training for their employees. This paper will
focus on the ICARE Instructional Design Model that has been used in an educational setting.
The decision to choose this design was due to its flexibility, adaptability and ease of use.
Technology has changed the way teachers teach and students learn. The World Wide
Web and technology opened up a tremendous potential for educators to embrace but there
needed to be a system of organization to presenting the information in an online environment in a

INVESTIGATING THE ICARE MODEL

systematic and organized fashion. Salyers (2006) noted that with the emergence of technology,
educators must use the technology to determine how to enhance the classroom experience. The
world had to adapt and instructional design was developed. Instructional design is defined as the
systematic development of instructional specifications using learning and instructional theory to
ensure the quality of instruction. It is the entire process of analysis of learning needs and goals
and the development of a delivery system to meet those needs. It includes development of
instructional materials and activities; and tryout and evaluation of all instruction and learner
activities (Berger & Kam, 1996).
With the emergence of the World Wide Web in 1990 the world has seen tremendous
gains in the use of the Internet for professional and personal uses (Zimmerman, 2012). In 1993 a
milestone in the use of the Internet was reached, the World Wide Web became free to anyone
who wanted to utilize its resources (Zimmerman, 2012). This opened up doors for businesses
and education. The educational system would need to prepare students to be able to use
computers and the technology that was rapidly changing their world. To keep individuals
abreast of the new technology, more and more applications and information would be gained via
these technological devices through instructional design models.
Numerous models have been developed to aid in the process of creating online course
materials for educators who are not well versed in the design process. Molenda, Reigeluth, and
Nelson (2006) found that within the realm of instructional technology, instructional design is not
only a construct, but also a field of theory and practice. Wang (2008) stated cognitive
constructivists believe learners construct knowledge individually based on their prior experience
and new information (p. 413). Based on this idea, the design of instruction must support the
needs of the individual learner and educators must move into the realm of facilitators instead of

INVESTIGATING THE ICARE MODEL

lecturer (Wang, 2008). In most classrooms, educators do not have a background in instructional
design and typically do not follow a linear method of planning and learning (Hanley, 2009) and
therefore are in need of a systematic, organized design to follow. It is important to let learners
know early in a lesson what the objectives of the course will be and what they will be expected
to know at the end of the instruction (Hoffman & Ritchie, 1997).
The approach or learning process behind instructional design models is based on the
construction of whole learning environments that have special features conducive to efficient,
effective learning andcan be viewed as large-scale methodsframeworks that are created in
order to immerse learners in a consistent set of instructional conditions (Molenda, et al, p. 577).
Hoffman and Ritchie (1997) found that when instructional designers are creating courses it is
crucial to keep the instructional goal of the learner in mind.
In the California State University (CSU) a need was seen to establish an instructional
design model that faculty members who were not well trained in the process could use in their
online course development. The CSU system sponsored a Faculty Development Institute that
introduced an instructional design-based online course structure that can be adoptedand
adaptedfor use across disciplines, organizations and types of knowledge or skills being taught
or learned (Hoffman & Ritchie, 2001). A system of templates was created using the acronym I
CARE, that helped students to mentally organize their approach to the individual course content
as well as facilitating the technical development of online courses (Hoffman & Ritchie, 2001).
The ICARE model has been found to be a useful and practical application design to use
in the online educational setting. Byrum (2013) found that the flexibility of the ICARE model
made the design very appealing because it allowed the course designer to change the learning
experience of the students. The designer could emphasize one section over another with the

INVESTIGATING THE ICARE MODEL

ICARE model, using a more constructivist learning approach. The study conducted by Byrum
(2013) found that students who were novice instructional designers believed the ICARE model
to be very helpful and easy to use. Rees (2011) describes the ICARE model as being a useful
resource after an instructor has conducted an analysis of the student needs because of the way
that the model organizes the course content. Middlesex University used the ICARE model
framework and adapted it for their Global Campus initiative to offer distance learning in other
countries (Hanley, 2009).
ICARE stands for Introduction, Connect, Apply, Reflect, and Extend (Rees, 2011;
Hoffman & Ritchie, 1998; Byrum, 2013). Hoffman & Ritchie (1998) developed the ICARE
model to be organized around modules, or sessions, to correspond to learners needs around their
personal and professional lives. The figure below represents the ICARE model framework and
the progression from one section to the next.

INVESTIGATING THE ICARE MODEL

The Introduction section of the ICARE model serves to place the present learning in the
context of the course as a whole, and enliven learners prior knowledge with respect to the
content (Hoffman & Ritchie, 2001). Byrum (2013) noted that this section was used to clearly
state the objectives of the course and to orient the learner to the materials and goals. Hoffman &
Saltzman (2009) presented the introduction section as a way of combining the context, how the
module fits within the course; motivation, identifying the relevant problem/opportunity; and
learning outcomes, useful learning activities, assessing accomplishment and focus of the learner.
The Connect section is where the learners engage new information in a context that is
relevant and meaningful to their professional or personal life (Hoffman & Ritchie, 2001).
Byrum (2013) notes the Connect section should provide the learner with real world examples.
Hoffman & Saltzman (2009) present this section as a place to provide the learners with materials
such as graphs, diagrams, demonstrations, etc. Hanley (2009) noted that when Middlesex
University used the ICARE model they changed the Connect phase to the Content phase to
accommodate their needs, which was productive to their implementation because of its flexibility
and adaptability.
Hoffman & Ritchie (2001) describe the Apply section as the phase where the content
should be related to the real life needs of the learner. This section should include a variety of
methods. Within the Apply section, learners are able to take the information that was gained in
the Connect section and apply it to real world examples (Byrum, 2013). One example that can
be used in this section is to have the learner create an authentic project that is to be assessed to
practice the new skills (Byrum, 2013).
In order for the learner to retain their knowledge of the content, there needs to be a phase
that allows some thinking, or reflecting, on what they have learned. The Reflect section allows

INVESTIGATING THE ICARE MODEL

learners to not only think about what they have learned, but to talk about it in order to further the
process of long term retention in memory (Hoffman & Ritchie, 2001). This section is the phase
where reflective activities are incorporated such as: blogging, exchanging emails, or posting to
discussion boards (Hoffman & Saltzman, 2009).
The final section of the ICARE model is the Extend section. This is a good place for the
instructional designer to include any type of resources for future reference or perhaps a topic for
advanced work (Hoffman & Ritchie, 2001). The Extend section is for those who may want to
do more activities for enrichment or for the learner who may need remediation (Byrum, 2013;
Hoffman & Saltzman, 2009). Another aspect of the Extend section is to assess the learners
knowledge and prompt the learners to evaluate his/her own learning (Hoffman & Ritchie, 2001).
Examples of web-based activities would be to implement quizzes, surveys, discussions, or even
off-line activities as appropriate (Hoffman & Ritchie, 2001).
Some of the major strengths of the ICARE model are its flexibility, ease of use, wellbalanced systematic approach (Byrum, 2013), adaptability (Hanley, 2009), pedagogically sound
design (Hoffman & Ritchie, 2001) and it is available free for anyone to use to adopt, adapted or
transform into their own online course design (Hoffman & Ritchie, 2001). One weakness would
be that the model is relatively new and has not been implemented on a larger scale as the older
models and therefore does not have as much publicity as other advanced instructional designs.
Discussion
The World Wide Web has changed the way that people operate in their daily lives
whether for personal or for professional reasons. With the change in technology, people had to
adapt. More importantly, educators had to adapt and learn how to keep up with these changing
times to educate the students to the best of their ability with this new technology. Instructional

INVESTIGATING THE ICARE MODEL

design was one way that educators could move into this new era with little training or knowledge
of the concept.
The ICARE model is an advanced instructional design that I feel will be one that has a
promising future in the educational setting as well as the business setting. The way that the
modules are designed makes it easily adaptable within any type of organization to teach the
learner a new skill. When researching this model, I found that in essence I use this concept when
I am teaching my secondary level students. With the online system that I use in the classroom, I
was able to adapt the ICARE model and implement it into the instruction process with little
difficulty.
This design was chosen for use in our prototype to create a lesson on the basic functions
of Excel. The ICARE model is designed in a way that makes it adaptable to any type of learning
process. We chose this instructional design model due to its flexibility, adaptability and ease of
use for the learner as well as for the instructor.
With more universities creating online courses and businesses needing more online
training for cost purposes, the advanced instructional design models will become a system that is
widely used. Due to the ICARE Instructional Design Model being a relatively new advanced
instructional design, further studies need to be conducted on the model and its uses in other types
of organizations.

INVESTIGATING THE ICARE MODEL

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