The threat matrix: a qualitative study of an instructional design process
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The two goals for this study relate to the identification of essential instructional design elements contained in a computer-based lesson. The first goal was to identify and verify, through the use of qualitative analysis, key decisions that were made during the process of instructional design to create an extensive hypermedia, computer-based lesson. Second, the verified key decisions were presented and described in a generalized manner so that they could be used to address any type of computer-based lesson regardless of its content;The computer-based lesson developed for this study was called the Threat Matrix: A Computer-Based Lesson (TMCBL). It was designed, produced, and installed for the Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) located at the Naval Education Training Center in Newport, Rhode Island. The Threat Matrix is a vast collection of thousands of discrete facts that describe the navies of the world. It provides an organizational structure for the categorical grouping of descriptive data for surface warships, submarines, fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, sensors, and weapons systems. The instructional design and resulting computer-based lesson created as the basis for this study was a fully functioning prototype encompassing part of the elements of the Threat Matrix;Twenty-five key decisions that were made during the instructional design process were identified and verified using the qualitative process of triangulation. The three links of the triangulation process included recommendations by SWOS, recommendations by the ISU Experts, and supportive findings in the research literature. When any of the identified components of the instructional design process could be triangulated via this technique, it was then termed a Key Decision. Data which further supported triangulated analysis included a course evaluation and prototype assessment, an attitude assessment instrument, personal interviews, chronological logs, and participant observer field notes;The study found that the key decisions made during the instructional design process of a hypermedia computer-based lesson could be identified and verified, and also could be grouped according to their use within the instructional design process. This categorization could be used for other instructional designs as computer-based lessons are developed and produced.