In 2002, David Merrill proposed this framework that integrates five principles of learning. This framework is commonly known as Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction (MPI). These principles are inter-related and help the instructional designer to develop materials that enhance the learning process. In addition to Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction (MPI), there are other models of Instructional Design like the ADDIE model and Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction.
Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction (MPI): Explained
Learning starts with the demonstration of real-world problems. A learner should relate to the real issues and tasks at hand, which is when learning would be effective. First, the learners can be presented with videos or training tutorials to see the concept at hand in action. When learners can view the information in the form of an example, they will understand better.
The course must activate the learner’s base knowledge. This would be useful in connecting the pre-existing knowledge with the new knowledge. This phase aims to create activities that build on existing knowledge and then absorb the new information presented.
The course must demonstrate the knowledge gained so that it leverages the different brain areas and aids in retaining the new information. The various steps and procedures must be demonstrated for the learner wherein the learner is observing the process and being a part of it.
The learners must apply new information on their own and learn from their mistakes. The learners then carry out each step of the task independently, which gives them the ability to see the obstacles first hand. When they encounter a similar problem in the real world, they will have the knowledge and experience to solve it. This can include a branching scenario or collaborative project like a case study that uses the learner’s conflict resolution skills.
The course must be such that it offers the learner the opportunity to integrate the knowledge gained into the actual world with discussions and reflection. When the learner can understand the context and integrate the newly learned skill or knowledge with daily life, the concept would be learned better.
Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction thus provides the learners with more guidance and demonstration at each step. This can be reduced when the learner gains more expertise.
Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction
Let us look at the advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction (MPI):
Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction is a learner-focused model. This encourages the learner to practice the lesson and implement the new knowledge gained. It is different from problem-based approaches in that it includes more demonstrations and support, and the learner can gradually build on experiences and expertise. Thus, life-long experiences can be gained, and the learner uses creativity to solve real-world problems.
Disadvantages of Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction (MPI):