University of Oulu

Frerejean, J, van Merriënboer, JJG, Kirschner, PA, Roex, A, Aertgeerts, B, Marcellis, M. Designing instruction for complex learning: 4C/ID in higher education. Eur J Educ. 2019; 54: 513– 524.

Designing instruction for complex learning : 4C/ID in higher education

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Author: Frerejean, Jimmy1; van Merriënboer, Jeroen J. G.1; Kirschner, Paul A.2,3;
Organizations: 1School of Health Professions Education, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands
2Open University of the Netherlands, Heerlen, The Netherlands
3LET Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, VUB, Jette, Belgium
5Department of Public Health and Primary Care, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
6Faculty of Digital Media and Creative Industries, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-03-31


Objectives‐based instructional design approaches break down tasks into specific learning objectives and prescribe that instructors should choose the optimal instructional method for teaching each respective objective until all objectives have been taught. This approach is appropriate for many tasks where there is little relation between the objectives, but less effective for teaching complex professional tasks that require the integration of knowledge, skills, and attitudes and the coordination of different skills. For the latter, a task‐centred approach that starts designing instruction from whole, real‐life tasks, is more appropriate. This article describes one task‐centred instructional design model, namely the Four‐Component Instructional Design (4C/ID) model and illustrates its application by reflecting on three educational programs in higher education designed with 4C/ID. The first case presents a design for a course that focuses on the development of mobile apps at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. The second case illustrates the integration of information problem‐solving skills at Iselinge University of Professional Teacher Education, a teacher training institute in the Netherlands. The third case is an example from general practice education at the KU Leuven, Belgium. Future developments and issues concerning the implementation of task‐centred educational programmes are discussed.

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Series: European journal of education
ISSN: 0141-8211
ISSN-E: 1465-3435
ISSN-L: 0141-8211
Volume: 54
Issue: 4; SI
Pages: 513 - 524
DOI: 10.1111/ejed.12363
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Copyright information: © 2019 The Authors. European Journal of Education published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.