PPP Pebble in the Pond!

Post-ADDIE - Task / Problem Based Instructional Design

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Merrill makes mal-adaptive model more better with Pebble in the Pond!!!

In 2002, David Merrill proposed the "Pebble in the Pond" metaphorical framework for Instructional design that focused on holistic task/problem based instruction. In an answer to ADDIE frameworks criticized for learners having difficulty consolidating, or combining, discrete skills and "component parts" of learning into holistic complex tasks.

Explained in depth in his 2007 Article, Merrill puts forth the "Pebble in the Pond" framework in detail here. Instead of breaking complex tasks into parts, Merrill begins with a "specified" complex task and moves outward in his circular design from there.


Image from: http://mdavidmerrill.com/

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Is "Pebble in the Pond" for you?

Do your learners have difficulty putting complex tasks together?

Do they learn discreet skills, but fail to demonstrate complex task proficiency?

Do you find breaking down tasks into linear parts challenging or philosophically frustrating?


If so, the "P-in-the-P" approach may be a better fit for you than traditionally structured ID&T.


Essentially, Pebble in the Pond is largely applicable to diverse learning contexts, but will require learners capable of the sort of self-monitoring or meta-cognition that isn't always in place. On one level or another, it can be implemented in K-12, higher education, and workplace oriented learning contexts.


Moving through traditional ID&T leaves some unsatisfied because complex tasks become either oversimplified or irreconcilably divorced from their authentic context by forcing them into the traditional model. In response to this, Merrill's framework on concentric rings (Task, Progression, Components, Strategy, Interface, and Evaluation) aims to make learning accessible while keeping student focus on the irreducible nature of some tasks & concepts. This emerged from Merrill's work with "first principles", essentially the idea of practices or concepts that are, to put them in terms of math, prime.


The tasks identified are real/authentic tasks that subsequently inform questions of concept progression, component skills/knowledge, appropriate instructional strategies, efficient technological interface tools, and ideal forms of evaluation.

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