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Collaborative Project- Diamond Model and Rapid Prototyping

Page history last edited by Marie Lara 5 years, 5 months ago


Analysis and Applications of the Diamond Model and Rapid Prototyping

in a Non-collocated Setting


Team Members: Brian Martinez, Joshua Malone, Marie Lara, Jose Davila, Kate Binns

Background Documents: Team PaperMeeting Minutes,   Team Research,


Instructional Design-1.pptx







     There are several Instructional Systems Design processes that may be employed in the development of effective instruction online and in the classroom. In light of the technological advances available to aide in this process, various considerations must be made in the decision of which model to use including the subject matter, target audience, available resources, and objectives that will be addressed. Some models are more effective than others at addressing specific concerns, and at times the instructional design team may implement a variation or combination rather than one single approach.


     This paper will analyze two contrasting instructional design models. The Diamond and Rapid Prototyping models will be compared and contrasted across many attributes. The model’s respective strengths and weaknesses will be examined as they are employed in the instructional design process. Then, each model will be evaluated for effectiveness in various scenarios to determine which is the most effective for the given situation. Lastly, this paper will examine how the purpose or focus of the model may provide a better fit to particular learning and performance problems. 


Overview of Diamond Model:



     The “Diamond Model” of instructional design has been derived from the work outlined in the book, Designing and Assessing Courses and Curricula: A Practical Guide by Robert M. Diamond which runs about 512 pages long and covers a multitude of scenarios, cases and incidentals. The author did not entitle the model after himself; rather others that have utilized and adapted his design have done so. 


     The Diamond model is considered by Gustafson & Branch to be a Systems Oriented Model. “Systems oriented models typically assume that a large amount of instruction, such as an entire course or entire curriculum, will be developed and that substantial resources will be available to a team of highly trained developers….original development is specified….technological sophistication of the delivery system vary.” The Diamond Model is divided into two distinct phases.     


Phase 1:

  1. Feasibility and desirability are examined. 
  2. The level of effectiveness of existing courses is considered. 
  3. Enrollment projections, instructional priorities, and faculty enthusiasm are considered as well. 
  4. The “ideal” solution is the starting point, without regards to possible constraints. 




The decision to move forward with the project leads to a detailed “operational plan” that includes goals, a timeline, human (and other) resources, and student needs.


Phase 2:

Each and every unit of instruction proceeds through a 7-step process

  1. Unit’s objectives
  2. Design of the evaluation instruments and procedures
  3. Selection of instructional format and examining existing materials (for possible inclusion)
  4. New materials are produced (if necessary) or modifications of existing materials
  5. Field testing
  6. Revision of the unit based on field test data
  7. Coordinating logistics for implementation, followed by full-scale implementation including evaluation and revision. 




     Robert Diamond wrote that he created this design as a variation of the model developed at Miami University in the 1960’s (Diamond, 2008). He wished to develop a design that could help faculty and administrators who recognized a “need for change”, but were unclear as to how to reach their goals. Developed as a wide-reaching method to address the needs at institutions of various sizes and budgets, he offers a practical approach to those particular individuals that desire to develop curriculum's and courses in this setting and only have “concepts” and “theories” to begin with.


     Replication of the ADDIE process is a key component of most any one of the over 100 instructional design models available to be utilized as the backbone of a learning systems design process. While the ADDIE process is apparent in the Diamond Model, the instructional design elements appear to be quite comprehensive and specific to the process of course and curriculum design for a higher education audience.

Some other features that are unique to this instructional design model are that –


  1. Emphasis is placed on matching the decision on whether to engage in instructional development to Institutional as well as Instructional issues. 
  2. Emphasis is placed on the assurance of faculty ownership of the instructional development. 
  3. Emphasis is placed on the need for formal organizational support.


The two-phase process may be seen as divided into five stages:

  1. Determining the need to change;
  2. Identifying goals or desirable outcomes;
  3. Designing the curriculum or instruction to attain these goals and the assessments that will provide the necessary feedback as to the attainment of goals;
  4. Implementation and assessment (which feeds back to the goals statement); and
  5. Revision based on the results of the assessment. 


These stages help the team concentrate on a learner-centered course or curriculum.


According to the author; Robert M. Diamond, from “A Brief Introduction to the Model”, he states that the benefits of his design model are that:


  1. The model is easy to use, sequential, and cost-effective; it will save you both time and effort by significantly reducing the time needed for implementation. 
  2. It can be used for the design or redesign of courses, curricula, workshops, and seminars in every subject area and in every instructional setting, both traditional and nontraditional. 
  3. The programs you develop will meet accreditation agencies’ demands for clear statements of learning outcomes with an associated high-quality student assessment process. 
  4. It is politically sensitive, protecting you from decisions by others that could jeopardize implementation. 
  5. It will ensure that all important questions are asked and all options are explored before key decisions are made. 


     As the author addresses the faculty in the majority of his textbook, stating “This book is designed to help you go through the design, implementation, and evaluation processes. It will provide you with a practical, step-by-step approach supported by case studies, a review of the significant literature, and introduces you to materials that you should find extremely useful.”

He asks the reader to think of:


  1. Specific goals for the student
  2. Demands of accreditation
  3. How the teacher can facilitate learning


Diamond believes that this process leads to an increased specificity in the design process.

In course design, L. Dee Fink stated that some perceived advantages of the Diamond Model are:


  • “The design can be utilized for course and/or curriculum design.
  • The design forces the developer to think “outside of the box”.
  • The model identifies key factors that should be thought of in sequential order.
  • It serves as a procedural (type) guide.
  • The model allows you to understand you are in a process, and for others to know their individual roles
  • Improves efficiency by reducing duplication of effort and ensuring that critical questions are asked as well as alternative solutions explored. And -
  • It is data driven.”


Others have alleged some disadvantages could be:


  • That the process is very linear
  • Or that it is constraining, and may limit creativity, that the process is
  • Time-consuming to implement and
  • Specific to higher education
  • Solely classroom oriented
  • And specifically directed at total curricula in addition to individual classes.


     Diamond considers this; that it is, “specifically directed at total curricula in addition to individual classes” to be an advantage, and others see that it requires significant input from university personnel (as well as other academic departments) to may be a major hindrance in the process (Diamond, 2008).


     While this model does not address nor offer answers for those institutions that need immediate outcomes, it is “ideal” for those institutions with the resources and access needed to respond to those requests for courses and total curriculum's based on pointed demands, research and such a demanding and exact process as that which the Diamond Model offers.


     In a quest for an alternative to the specific, methodical processes that are part and parcel of the Diamond Model of Instructional Design, one may look to a new design methodology based on the software engineering design process. The Rapid Prototyping Systems Design Model might be the solution to their needs of those institutions and businesses demanding or needing immediate outcomes as well. 



Overview of Rapid Prototyping:


     Software developers attempting to streamline and decrease the time needed to create new products first applied the design process of rapid prototyping.  After the needs analysis and initial goal development was created, all members of the team simultaneously developed a prototype of the project and conducted research. The initial prototype was given to the end users to test and provide feedback to aid in redesign. These steps were repeated as needed until the end product was satisfactory to users. The process was highly effective, which has led instructional designers to examine the application of rapid prototyping in educational design.


     When applying rapid prototyping to instructional design, the stages of design are cyclical and focused on solving problems to meet the end goal.


     Stage one is very similar to most instructional design models. The designer uses this stage to identify client needs and develop objectives. However, when applying the rapid prototyping model, the objectives are indefinite. The initial objective is identified to provide a purpose for the team and define tasks. As the design is revisited and further research is developed, the overall objective may shift.



     In stage two of the design process, the entire team works to develop a prototype of the final design while simultaneously conducting research. This allows the team to develop a sample of the end product swiftly for review. This is only effective when the project’s end goal has high levels of modularity and plasticity.  Modularity is achieved when each section of the project can be changed without forcing a redesign of the entire project. Plasticity is in reference to the end product. For example, a webpage or other electronic format can easily be redesigned without incurring increased production expenses, but a textbook cannot.



     While stage 3 appears to be the end of the design process, it is not. In this stage, the design team will present the prototype to potential end users for review. The end users will test the product and provide feedback and evaluation for the design to use.


     The design team will use the feedback and evaluation provided by this stage and return to stage two for redesign. This feedback and redesign loop can be repeated until the product has been perfected.

     One of the strongest advantages of rapid prototyping over other design processes is that it creates a sample design quickly. The sample design allows clients and users to be part of the design process without increasing the time spent to design and create the end product. Additionally, if a redesign of the objective becomes necessary the investment of time and funds is not prohibitive. The design becomes more flexible to changes and errors can be addressed at an earlier stage.

This design process does have disadvantages. The speed of design can sometimes lead to increased redesign due to oversight of potential needs.  This can lead to inefficient use of time, which can be further compounded by overdesign. If a client feels that redesign is a constant, the design can become overwhelmed by unnecessary components. The frequent redesign process can lead to burnout and reduced creativity.

     While rapid prototyping may not be the correct design model for every situation, it is an ideal design process for complex situations, times when conventional methods were previously unsuccessful, and new situations without significant background. Rapid prototyping is best applied when flexibility and time are of high importance.





Comparison of Diamond Model and Rapid Prototyping:



The Rapid Prototyping model is used early on in a project so it can help with the analysis, design, development, and evaluation of the instructional innovation. The prototyping produces products in which you do not need to spend that much money opposed to the expenses on a product development cycle. However, this model’s focus is more on aesthetics of the final product due to cost efficiency and building initial prototypes. Their primary focus is the demonstration of how the product really feels and looks everything else they disregard. The way they determine the usability of the product is by utilizing an executable prototype. The way they reconfigure and represent the finish product is by tweaking the Executable prototypes. The operation and production costs are usually low as well as the time it takes to produce due to the usage of rapid prototyping.


     Moreover, Rapid Prototyping is easy to understand especially when setting a goal or if you would like to apply a task. If adding any Instructional material you will need to utilize the following; Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, or any other media software that is available. However, if you decide to use any kind of printed material you will need to understand that it’s going to take time and money and it will defeat the purpose of using Rapid Prototyping.


     However, one of the greatest advantages that you will see in utilizing Rapid Prototyping is that the end-user is always involved in the process from beginning to finish. The Rapid prototyping upon using the user-centered approach is great because it automatically defines the needs along with the task objectives of the user. The learners are the ones that test the instructional prototypes and provide feedback about the effectiveness of the model. The designer’s job is much easier upon creating and improving a better model with the learner help by providing feedback. The process is then repeated several times so that the designer can gather as much information necessary to help him improve the highest quality of the model. The objectives get evaluated and modified during the research and design process. They evaluate the content, objectives and need of the model. The purpose of this whole objective is to be able to teach the learners in setting goals and also provide them with well-defined material. However, when the designer and user collaborate it definitely helps to motivate the user in creating the best possible instruction for their peers. Therefore, in order for the Rapid Prototyping to be very effective you must all necessary resources available. The learners and designers must cooperatively work together hand in hand so they can create the best instruction model for all the learners. However, in order for the Rapid Prototyping to be very effective, the designer must have all the resources and must know about the model as well as collaborate with everyone.


     The Robert M. Diamond Model of Instructional Design was developed to meet the specific needs for higher education institutions. However, The Diamond model in comparison to other models has been known to be the most specific as to the problems that may need to be addressed. The level of education and the type of setting where it might not necessarily be a corporate environment but it can incorporate a bigger scope than other ISD models.


The Robert M. Diamond Model of Instructional Design has Phase I and Phase II:


     PHASE I: Discusses the project selection while PHASE II discusses the design. One of the best reasons to adapt the Diamond Model is to promote technology in which it will also support the instructional design process. The cutting edge and the technologies that we currently use are great because it supports creative thinking and innovates instructional designers. It used to be that for instructional designers and stakeholders to see the visuals and prototypes they would need to wait long periods of time that would consist anywhere from six months or longer to see the project’s visuals become a reality. However, this would allow them to revise and evaluate any revisions necessary much earlier during the design process. Moreover, the positive aspect of making any changes during the development phase is saving time and money.


     The Diamond Model requires the departmental goals to work together with the departmental. It basically means that administration must agree prior to a project getting approved. In order for the project to be successful the people, finances, time and the resources must be available and ready to go. The Diamond Model has another positive aspect to where they are sensitive to political issues, in which means they are usually politically correct.


     If a team is created there can be a negative backlash because of the emphasis that will be placed more on the instructional design, which in turn will lean towards the learner centered approach. If the team is created it can cause for some people to get discouraged about independent thinking. On the other hand, anytime you put anyone from administration in control of learning they can abuse of their power where they can be biased on their research, self-promotion or inflated egos. There are opportunities for abuse when putting administrations in control of learning.



Comparison Chart of Diamond Model and Rapid Prototyping:




Instructional Model

Key Components



Diamond Model







·         Used in higher education with sensitivity to  political/social issues

·         Linear development

·         2 Phases

o   Phase one determines feasibility

o   Phase two is design/implementation with seven steps

·         Focus on creating learner centered curriculum

·         Heavy use of flow charts, process diagrams, and organizational charts


·         Focuses on teamwork amongst college/university faculty for development.

·         Faculty must take ownership for this model to be effective

·         Only applicable to institutions of higher learning (although could be stretched in some instances)








Rapid Prototyping




Boulet, Guy. Rapid prototyping: an efficient way to collaboratively design and develop e-learning content.  http://www.guyboulet.net/site/docs/Rapid_prototyping.pdf



·         Used for e-learning of all types

·         Nonlinear development.

·         7 overlapping stages (typically, but can include more for review and redesign of prototype)

·         All team members involved at an early stage

·         Develop prototype in first stages and refine continuously.

·         Discussion of prototype is done throughout

·         Facts and results of prototype are analyzed

·         Continuous evaluation

·         Ideally, 4-8 future learners are engaged in review of instruction


·         Relies on team-work

·         All team members are fully engaged throughout the design process

·         Focus is on the actual e-learning prototype, not theory.

·         Development done too quickly can lead to inferior end results.

·         Collaboration could be done too close to end date and final product may not have been evaluated and redesigned as needed due to deadline.






Application in Non-collocated Setting:



     Today, more and more engineering companies are globalizing, forcing companies to design, collaborate, and develop projects with co-workers from all over the world. This expansion greatly limits face-to-face connections and forces companies to rely on online and digital means for communications. Engineering programs are beginning to incorporate this new means of project building into their program. For example, the University of Kentucky challenges its engineering students to perform Rapid Prototyping in a non-collocated environment (Leifer, 2004). Two groups of students from the Extended Campus of Engineering from the University Kentucky were tasked with designing and fabricating a functioning gear train with their assigned team. The two schools, which are 270 miles apart, are located in Lexington and Paducah cities. Each school team was paired with a team from the other school to design these 3D gears. Once the gears are designed, the teams use the Z Corporation ZPrinter 400 System Rapid Prototyping tool. These groups experienced the challenges of communicating as any online group project might experience.

     This assignment utilized the 4 steps of rapid prototype. The students had an initial meeting to plan and analyze their needs for the project. During this first stage, the students brainstormed on potential ideas for their group project and shared ideas. During the second stage, the students researched types of gears and used the information presented to them in class on basic solid modeling concepts to further their knowledge and development of their designs. The student groups then had to produce their models for feedback and evaluation from their professors and peers. Here, groups would realize their gears would not work due to their design. This would then force them to redesign, which is the fourth stage. This cycle of "design-build-modify" allowed for some groups to produce a more challenging and creatively designed gear (Reilly et.al, 2010). These students may have been just printing and designing gears, but were also following the rapid prototype method of instruction.

     With the growing use of rapid prototyping, newly developed programs allow for a unique collaborative and physical/virtual co-designing of projects. The company TwinSpace supports the production of rapid prototyping in interactive workspaces and collaborative virtual worlds (Reilly et.al, 2010). This environment provides key features:


  1. “A communications layer that seamlessly links the event-notification and transactional mechanisms in the virtual space with those in the physical space. 
  2. A mapping capability, managing how physical and virtual spaces are connected and synchronized. 
  3. A common model for both physical and virtual spaces, promoting the interoperability of physical and virtual devices, services and representations. 
  4. Specialized virtual world clients that participate fully in the larger ecology of collaborative cross-reality devices and services” (Reilly et.al, 2010).


     TwinSpace allows for multiple means of communication and provides mapping capability for both the physical and virtual spaces. This collaborative cross-reality environment allows for project development to be facilitated through various interactive devices, applicable to a range of physical and virtual environments. TwinSpace connects and allows for participants to fully engage in collaborative cross-reality devices and services to develop rapid prototyping projects (Reilly et.al, 2010).

     While rapid prototyping is readily used in non-collocated settings, so too can the Diamond Model when being applied in higher educational environments. The Diamond Model suggests that school administration, faculty, and stakeholders support and contribute to the research efforts of the students while also considering any political concerns. The Diamond Model can easily be applied to any instructional design project for online and distant learners. Phase I allows for the project selection and design to be established. Phase II of an instructional design, address the production, implementation, and evaluation of a project. Online and distant students can develop and collaborate on an instructional design project though programs like PB works, Blackboard, Collaborate, Canvas, or Moodle. If staying true to the Diamond Model, the task of incorporating and addressing the needs of the faculty, administration, and stakeholders may be the most challenging aspect of a design project. Since online and distance learners are not on campus, communication gaps between students and school officials may occur. However, communication through email, phone, or video chat would make incorporating school officials concerns and ideas easier.




     As educational institutions begin to be more conscientious of their instructional design methods, various models and combinations of models will emerge as favored in dedicated scenarios. The Rapid Prototyping model is designed for quickly providing a working product that is malleable and ready for change even as it is implemented. The Diamond Model follows more traditional techniques and is better suited for larger and long term production timeframes. Whichever model is selected, the administrators of the project must consider the learner. The end product must create the desired change in the learner or in their environment.






Branch, R. M. (2009). Instructional design:the addie approach. New York: Springer.


Branch, R. M., & Gustafson, K. L. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement.
     (1997). Survey of instructional development models (IR-103). Syracuse, New York: ERIC 
Clearinghouse on
     Information & Technology.


Culatta, R. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.instructionaldesign.org/models/rapid_prototyping.html


Diamond, R. M. (2008). Designing and assessing courses and curricula: a practical guide.

     (3rd ed.). New York: Jossey-Bass.


Leifer, J & Jacob, J. (2004). Distance Collaboration in a Design Project for Students Enrolled in Introduction to
     Engineering. American Society for Engineering 
Education. Retrieved      from:http://search.asee.org/search/fetch;jsessionid=1s06a9o68ual0url=file%3A%2F%2Flocalhost%2FE%3A%2Fsearch%2Fconference%2F28%2FAC%25202004Paper1122.pdf&index=conference_papers&space=129746797203605791716676178&type=application%2Fpdf&charset=


Reilly, D., Rouzati, H., Wu, A., Brudvik, J., Hwang, J. Y., and Edwards, K. (2010) TwinSpace: an Infrastructure for Cross-
     Reality Team Spaces. ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST'10), New York,N.Y., USA,
     October 2010. Retrieved from: 


Royteck, M. A. (2010). Enhancing instructional design efficiency: Methodologies employed by instructional designers.
     British Journal of Educational Technology., 41(2), 170-180. Tripp, Steven D. & Bichelmeyer, Barbara (1990) Rapid
     Prototyping: An Alternative Instructional Design Strategy.


Tripp,Steven, Bichelmeyer,Barbara, Rapid prototyping: An alternative instructional design strategy, Educational Technology Research and Development, 38, 1, 3/18/1990, Pages 31-44, DOI 10.1007/BF02298246



Comments (7)

KATE! Binns said

at 8:09 pm on Mar 30, 2014

Hi all... I apologize for putting essentially the same thing everywhere. I originally put my information on the Team Paper page, but noticed that everyone else placed it on the front page. Sorry for any confusion!

Josh Malone said

at 9:50 pm on Apr 1, 2014

I added more on the RP example I used and how they followed the model. I also set all the text the same size, color, and font. This is coming along. Hope all is well with you all! Life is crazy here in Austin.

Josh Malone said

at 5:04 pm on Apr 3, 2014

Couple of questions:
1. Should we indent new paragraphs? Some seem indented and others aren't.
2. There seems to be a lot of extra spacing in the "Overview Diamond Model" Should we lessen that extra space?
3. Once all is said and done should we remove the powerpoint links?

Brian Martinez said

at 10:35 pm on Apr 3, 2014


Marie Lara said

at 10:45 pm on Apr 3, 2014

If you check the link #3 from Safe Assign, https://web.cs.dal.ca/~reilly/inspace.html you can see that the 4 numbered items that you attribute to Reilly, come directly, word for word from TwinSpace. Just add quotation marks to the selection.

Jose Antonio Davila said

at 11:46 pm on Apr 7, 2014

Finally thank you guys!!!

Josh Malone said

at 2:39 pm on Apr 8, 2014

Everything looks great. Thank you everyone for all the hard work put into this!

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