Theory Name: 4C/ID – Four Component Instructional
Authors: van Merrienboer, Joreon J.G.
Associated Learning Theory
Cognitive Learning Theory
This model prescribes instruction for learning in a complex environment.
This model focuses on incorporating requisite skills with now learning
and focus on creating a learning environment.
Specification of Theory
(a) Goals and preconditions
Learning of complex cognitive skills, task-specific skills
1. There are two main relationships between constituent skills: horizontal
and vertical. Some skills can be horizontal, occur simultaneously or
independent of other unrelated skills. Horizontal skills are bottom
up, or are based on prerequisites.
2. Training should focus on coordination and integration of constituent
skills and desired exit behavior for an overall complex skill.
3. Training should promote schema for non-recurrent aspect and rule automation
for recurrent aspect of a complex skill.
(c) Condition of learning
1. Learning should be based around real-life situations.
2. Media should only be used if it supports the real life environment.
(d) Required media
None required. However, it is noted that media selection should be consistent
with the type of learning that occurring. That is to say that all learning
should be based around
(e) Role of facilitator
Provide a great deal of support at the beginning or learning and fade
as skills progress (scaffolding).
(f) Instructional strategies
Create learning environments that contain the four blueprint component.
1. Learning tasks: Provide concrete, whole-process tasks. Promote schema construction
for nonrecurrent tasks.
2. Supportive information: Provide reference that supports the learner in bridging
the gap between prior knowledge and the learning tasks. Focus on elaboration
(embellishing existing schema).
3. Just-In-Time information: Provide information that is prerequisite to recurring
tasks. Focus on procedural information rules.
4. Part-task practice: Promote rule automation with practice of recurring tasks.
Focus on promoting automatic performance.
(g) Assessment method
Formative Research & Application
(a) Tested context -
(b) Research method
(c) Research description
van Merrienboer, J.J.G., Clark, R.E., de Croock, M.B.M. (2002). Blueprints
for complex learning: the 4C/ID model. Educational Technology, Research
and Development. 50(2); 39 – 65.