Week 1 – IDT 863 – Models vs Theories

These posts mirror my class discussion posts for IDT 863 at Old Dominion University, I’m including them here primarily for my own documentation of things I’ve thought of, that perhaps I’d like to search through again later.

The text for this class is:

Richey, R. C., Klein, J. D., & Tracey, M. W. (2010). The instructional design knowledge base: Theory, research, and practice. Routledge.


So I really liked the start of this book thus  far, and I’m happy that they’ve tackled this theory vs. model thing head on. First off in the theory section I think they do a good job laying out the difference between inductive/deductive theories. This has always been one of those things that when I read about I do so with a raised eyebrow. Simply put, inductive theories try to explain an ideal state of reality that is derived from observations or experiences. Deductive theories likely happen after a few inductive theories are tried out. Deductive theories are referred to as a ‘phase’ on page 7 and I think that made the most sense to me, as one is taking general understandings about things and making more specific presumptions.

The next few paragraphs keep with this ‘phased’ approach, without being explicit about it. Perhaps because it is likely that many researchers will not flow through each stage from theory to model for each research project. For instance, if you were doing research on how an existing conceptual model may be applied to a new circumstance than you’d already have the base theory and model to work from. 

But I wrote in the margins of the paper this sentence that I think summed it up for nice me, models are the means to practice a theory. In this way I think we’re set up for a nice flow from ideation, to theory, to model, to application.

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