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General Didactics and Instructional Design: eyes like twins A transatlantic dialogue about similarities and differences, about the past and the future of two sciences of learning and teaching

Klaus Zierer1* and Norbert M Seel2

Author Affiliations

1 Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Ammerländer Heerstraße 114-118, Oldenburg, 26129, Germany

2 Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Rempartstraße 11, 3, Freiburg, OG, 79098, Germany

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SpringerPlus 2012, 1:15  doi:10.1186/2193-1801-1-15

Published: 17 August 2012


Although General Didactics (GD) and Instructional Design (ID) have not shown many points of contact in the past, there are some obvious parellels from the perspective of their historical development. This will be examined in detail in this article. More specifically, we speak about model building, which has characterized General Didactics and Instructional Design for some decades. However, the models of General Didactics and Instructional Design are not problem-free with regard to the continuity and advancement of both disciplines. First, we will describe the historical roots of both disciplines and examine which elements of theory are of central importance. Second, we will try to answer the question of which kind of model building could be considered as predominant and what problems result from this predominance. In order to do this, we will describe empirical studies on the use of instructional models and discuss these studies from the perspective of the philosophy of science. Third, we will draw inferences for future processes of model building in order to prevent the same problems that happened in the past from happening again. Finally, we will discuss the issue of what General Didactics can learn from Instructional Design and vice versa.

General Didactics; Instructional design; Model building; Teaching and learning; Comparative education