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A discussion of a controversial topic by participants who argue opposite sides of the issue.

Decision Consistency

Measures the reliability of a criterion-referenced test. In other words, if a person took the test more than once, would the classification decision (pass/fail, etc.) be the same?


See Legal Defensibility.


The output of any of the six phases of FKA’s Instructional Systems Design Methodology that require approval or sign-off, such as, a Solution Report, Model of Performance, Learning Plan or the learning materials themselves.


Any quantifiable characteristic of an individual. This may include location, department, tenure, previous learning courses attended, education, primary language, etc.


A three-step presentation method where the instructor/facilitator first describes and demonstrates an action or procedure. Then the learner is asked to narrate the instructor’s/facilitator’s second demonstration, and finally the learner describes and demonstrates the action or procedure under the supervision of the instructor/facilitator.

Design Phase

The third phase in FKA’s Instructional Systems Design Methodology. Design starts with the Model of Performance, refines the scope of the content to be included in the learning program, outlines the course, and finally plans the details of the design of the formal learning program, the bridging activities, and the job aids that will support the performance. The three deliverables from the Design phase are the Learning Scope, Learning Outline and Learning Plan.

Development Phase

The fourth phase in FKA’s Instructional Systems Design Methodology. Development starts with producing a prototype, if required, and getting it approved. Then all the materials are produced. Small sections may be tested with a few representative learners in the process called developmental testing. The Development phase ends when all materials are ready for the next phase, Implementation.

Developmental Testing

A validation activity that occurs during Development. A small piece of the learning materials is tested with individual learners or small groups of the target population. Development testing happens in parallel with the development of the learning materials.

Diagnostic Test

Used to determine the exact skill levels of individual learners, as well as those areas where they are having problems. Whereas the entry test is typically used before instruction, the diagnostic test is typically used in conjunction with the instruction or as part of the post-test process.


In FKA’s Instructional Systems Design Methodology, difficulty is one of three characteristics used to rate the relative priority of abilities and components. Difficulty is based on complexity and uniqueness. The more difficult it is to perform an ability the higher the priority to include it in the learning program. The other two characteristics used to calculate the priority value are criticality and frequency. See also Priority Value.

Direct Question

A way for the instructor/facilitator to ask a specific person the question. The opposite is an overhead question.
Direct Question

Discovery Learning

Learning without an instructor’s/facilitator’s direct involvement. It is different from self instruction in that the learning situation is usually controlled through its structured set-up and supervision. Learners then explore on their own. See also Experiential Learning.

Discrimination Index

Applied to an individual test item, it measures how well the item predicts those who do well on the test from those who do not. That is, those who do well on this question also do well on the test or conversely, those who do poorly on the item also do poorly on the test.


This is a many-faceted method involving verbal exchanges among learners with varying amounts of participation and direction by the instructor/facilitator. It can be used in large or small groups, and can be highly structured or unstructured. There are many variations of the discussion method and the differences between them are often subtle. Five examples are:
• Brainstorming
• Buzz sessions
• Committees
• Debates
• Panel Discussion

Discussion Board

An online “bulletin board” where learners and instructors/facilitators can leave messages and get responses to those messages. It can be used with e-learning courses to promote a feeling of community among learners, and to allow small-group activities.

Distance Learning

An implementation strategy where the instructor/facilitator and learners are in physically separate locations. It can be either synchronous or asynchronous and it can include: correspondence, video conferencing, or e-learning.


The incorrect options in a multiple-choice question. The correct option is called the “key”.

Distractor Analysis

Applied to each incorrect option of an individual multiple-choice question. It measures how well each distractor is performing. In other words: Is it too obviously wrong? Too confusing? Too close to the correct answer? etc.

Divergent Example

A divergent example is one of the three kinds of examples created during Concept Analysis. A divergent example does NOT match most of the characteristics of the concept.

Domains of Learning

See Learning Domains

Drill and Practice

An interactive exercise used to promote memorization of discrete facts or develop basic skills like keyboard operation. It involves the repetition of short sequences of practice with feedback as to correctness.


The predicted length of the learning program based on the estimated total number of skill and knowledge items weighted by the level of difficulty of each ability. The FKA formula states that the rate skill and knowledge items can be taught and practiced are:
• easy items – 25 per hour
• moderately difficult items – 12 per hour
• hard items – 8 per hour
If the level of difficulty is unknown, assume 15 skill and knowledge items can be taught in an hour.

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