Thursday, October 29, 2009

Merrill's First Principles Situated in the OAR Model Domains

Merrill's First Principles of Instruction (2002, 2006) state that learning is promoted when:

• Instruction takes place in the context of real-world tasks that are progressively difficult
• Learners activate relative cognitive structures by recalling or demonstrating prior knowledge or experience
• Learners observe a demonstration of new knowledge
• Learners apply new knowledge, receiving feedback and coaching that is gradually withdrawn
• Learners integrate their new knowledge by reflecting on, discussing, defending, presenting new knowledge and creating personal ways to use it

We have developed a instructional design model which situates Merrill's First Principles in the OAR Model domains:

The task (or problem) is a Resource and the core component available to influence and/or measure student behavior. Objectives are statements created to define and/or measure desired student behavior. Activities are opportunities created to inlfluence and/or measure defined student behavior.

There are two types of Activities: Acquisition and Application. Merrill's activate and demonstration phases are Acquisition Activities, where opportunities to gain knowledge and skills are created to influence defined student behavior. Merrill's apply and integrate phases are Application Activities, where opportunities to demonstrate knowledge and skills are created to influence and/or measure defined student behavior.


Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instruction. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50(3), 43-59.

Merrill, M. D. (2006). First principles of instruction: a synthesis. Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (2nd Ed.). Prentice-Hall, Inc.

1 comment:

  1. George, I haven't seen this integration of the OAR Model and of First Principles in a while. Looks very good and compares the two nicely.

    I thought I would share a link to one of my publications that describes how to use Merrill's First Principles of Instruction based on a review of the literature. I have found these principles to be both powerful and flexible, and this article gives practical tips for using them in meaningful ways.

    Applying Merrill's First Principles of Instruction: Practical Methods Based on a Review of the Literature

    Keep up the great writing, George!