Layers of Necessity

Instructional Design Model

Layers of Necessity

  1. Developer of Model - The developers of the Layers-of-Necessity Instructional Development Model are Dr. Martin Tessmer and Dr. John F. Wedman.
  2. Date of Development - The model was developed in 1990.
  3. Introduction – The creators of this model bill it as more of a practitioners model as it flows forth naturally from what an actual instructional development practitioner would experience within the field and was a drastic change from the instructional design models prior. Older models were more highly complex and detailed in scope and required a great deal of accuracy by the practitioner in order to develop instruction. The Layers of Necessity model is especially useful when time or resource restraints are a factor.
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Context for Use – This model of ID was to be used in the practice of ID rather than in the theoretical application. In the Layers of Necessity model, the developer focuses on a layer of design that matches the necessities and constraints of the project. For a situation with great time and resource limitations, the develop will focus on a simple layer; whereas when more time and resources are available, a more complex layer of design will be the focus. This model is focused on enhancing tasks rather than completing them, principle based instead of procedurally based, concerned with the layer of focus over any individual task, has a comprehensive perspective, and is resource and time sensitive as opposed to resource intensive. Developers rely on their own experience more than traditional ID models.


Advantages – This model of ID offers the following advantages:

    1. Allows for flexibility and personalization of methods by the individual ID designer.
    2. Allows for the ID designer to develop methods that are sensitive to their individual time and resource constraints.
    3. Allows for ID design models to be applied by actual practitioners in the field rather than theorists.
    4. Allows for practitioners at various levels of proficiency to implement methods.
    5. Allows for a more flexible rather than rigid implementation of procedures.


Disadvantages - This model of ID offers the following disadvantages:


  1. Requires that all parts of each layer receive equal consideration.
  2. Requires the ID to personalize the model to their own expertise and judgment.
  3. Requires some skill in balancing attention to the certain levels of ID & Development, which makes this more appropriate for experience instructional designers.