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Rethinking authoring tools: A design for standards-based instructional components

, Utah State University, United States

Utah State University . Awarded


The purpose of this research was to develop and field-test modular software components which are based on open standards and conform to a specific instructional design theory. This research attempts to resolve the three problems exhibited by modern authoring tool software. The identified problems are proprietary architectures, instructional design theory neutrality, and monolithic structures. The software components were written in the Java programming language as Java Beans. The Java Beans conformed with the Java Bean component architecture specification. Instructional content was captured and tagged utilizing eXtensible Markup Language (XML) which has recently been adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as an Internet standard. The prototype components were based upon the knowledge representation scheme and instructional strategy prescriptions of Merrill's Instructional Transaction Theory.

The knowledge components developed consisted of two types: instructional content components and instructional strategy components. The subject matter of how to properly conduct corporate interviews was chosen as sample content. Four content objects were created based upon this subject matter: Interviewer, Candidate, ConversationTask and InterviewExpert. An instructional strategy component was developed based upon the Execute instructional strategy of Instructional Transaction Theory. The prototype components were pilot tested with learners and then refined and disseminated through the Internet via a web site named This site collected feedback from instructional designers and developers and allowed them to download the components.

Much of this research focused on applied technological solutions to overcome the limitations of current authoring environments. Technological solutions have been employed to meet larger goals of improved computer based instruction. The implications for instruction resulting from this research are that the original goals of Instructional Transaction Theory can be met. These goals are to enable the development of (a) more effective instruction, (b) more efficient instruction, (c) better instructional learning environments and, (d) more adaptive instruction.


Anderson, T.A. Rethinking authoring tools: A design for standards-based instructional components. Ph.D. thesis, Utah State University. Retrieved March 19, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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