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MISA™ - Learning Systems Design Tool


MISA™ is an instructional engineering method supporting 35 main tasks or processes and some 150 secondary tasks. The method has been completely modeled using the MOT knowledge modeling editor. It is offered in an hypertext mode allowing to complete the elements of documentation which constitute together a complete design of a learning system. One progresses into the method through 6 phases and along four axes. MISA is the first instructional design method based on knowledge modelling and taking into account all the components of a telelearning system. It has been experimented in several organizations.

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MISA is a design tool for learning systems that supports 33 main tasks or processes and 150 secondary tasks. It results not only from advanced research in the field of didactical engineering but also from experience acquired during numerous projects where it was used to develop instructional programs and products. Since the method was entirely modelled using MOT, an object-oriented model editor, users may navigate in hypertext graphic mode identifying and completing documentation component templates making up the learning system’s specifications. The method consists of six well-defined phases developed along four axes: Knowledge and Skill Representation (DC: Design of Content), Application of Teaching Methods and Approaches (DP: Design of Pedagogical specifications), Specification of Learning Materials (DM: Design of Materials) and Delivery Planning (DD: Design of Delivery)

Main Functionalities

  • The method is completely modelled using MOT, an object-oriented model editor, therefore ensuring consistency while clearly identifying processes and providing hypertext links to the tasks to be performed.

  • The precise definition of documentation items, thanks to the integration of 17 categories of teaching objects, makes it possible to provide templates that help to focus efforts and reduce design time.

  • Knowledge modelling enables the identification of various types of knowledge and links, thus laying the groundwork for choosing activities and support media. In addition, the concept of "competence" is reconciled with those of "knowledge," "skill," and "need for learning." Furthermore, skills are classified enabling integrated processing of cognitive, affective, social and psychomotor aspects.

  • The pedagogical model focuses the design on learning units, thus, significantly simplifying operations, many of which can be automated using the ADISA Workshop. The generalisation of the concept of "Didactical Instrument" through the use of a "Resource" concept and the identification of four types of instructions describing the learning activities provide both a general and a specific definition of the key concept of learning scenario.

  • The support model enables the production of a macro-design that keeps open to the decisions made by the specialists in various future support media. It then becomes feasible to reinvest these specifications in future development in the same project or other projects.

  • The delivery model clearly identifies from support media considerations all issues related to learning system access, required delivery infrastructures and training management tasks. MISA provides a solid basis for using Learning Management Systems (LMS).

Comparative Advantages

  1. MISA is the first instructional design method that enables designer to plan telelearning environments and integrates a model of its operational processes and principles.
  2. MISA makes the engineering approach and framework visible enabling quality control of both the process and the resulting products.
  3. MISA simplifies communication and reaching a consensus among the various players during development by integrating operation principles similar to those of software engineering.
  4. MISA enables the production of a learning system that includes varied learning paths that can be adapted by learners, instructors and instruction managers alike.
  5. MISA enables the production of an intelligible, complete learning system that the requester can validate continuously and at strategic moments.
  6. MISA enables the production of learning system specifications with reusable components.
  7. MISA makes it possible to maintain system consistency with regards to content (knowledge and competence) and the other dimensions.

History and Current Status
A first design method was created for a distance course at Télé-université in 1991. It was then developed within a first computerised support system for instructional engineering (AGD). A second version, MISA 2.1, and a third version MISA 3.0 (integrating 17 learning design typologies) was produced following testing in several organizations. Born from the AGDI and HyperGuides projects at Télé-université’s LICEF Research Centre, the current method, MISA 4.0, has achieved a level of stability that now allows it to be marketed. This task was entrusted to Technologies COGIGRAPH who has developed a Web-based support system for instructional engineering (ADISA) and the production of various support documents.

MISA is the topic of a Télé-université course on instructional design. Several short training seminars given by the LICEF are available via Technologies COGIGRAPH. MISA was used to design several workplace training courses, including those given on the EXPLOR@ delivery system. It was also used to develop training courses for some professional bodies. Hydro-Quebec has chosen to use MISA as a corporate instructional design method.


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