Kemp Design Model: The Road To Effective Design Strategies

Kemp Design Model: The Road To Effective Design Strategies
Summary: Discover the Kemp design model for Instructional Design—a framework with 9 steps that guide you through the entire process, from analyzing learner needs to evaluating instruction effectiveness.

Understanding Kemp's Instructional Design Framework

The Kemp model was introduced in 1994 by three authors—Jerrold Kemp, Gary Morrison, and Steven Ross—in their book Designing Effective Instruction. This book is still popular in its latest, eighth edition, and is widely used in Instructional Design. Unlike other models, such as the Dick and Carey model, the Kemp design model follows a circular structure rather than a linear one. This means that the key elements of the model are interdependent, which offers Instructional Designers a great deal of flexibility. They can start the design process with any of the components or stages rather than being stuck working in a specific order. Below, we examine 9 elements of the Kemp model and see how you can use them to achieve the desired learning outcomes.

The 9 Elements Of Kemp's Model

1. Identifying Instructional Problems

The first step in designing learning solutions is to identify the root cause of the gaps in learners' performance. Once you pinpoint the problems, you can determine if providing instruction is the best way to address them. For example, if students struggle with a high-stakes exam because of a conflict in schedule with other classes, consider setting another date for the exam to reduce their anxiety. On the other hand, if employees in a company have a hard time handling their conflicts, they are likely in need of training on that matter. In some cases, providing additional instruction may not be the answer, and an alternative solution can be the best way to address a performance issue.

2. Defining Learner Characteristics

The next element requires you to get to know your students on a personal level. By understanding their unique backgrounds, prior knowledge, experiences, beliefs, and points of view, you can better tailor your instructional approach to meet the needs of each learner. For instance, if you're designing lessons for college students, you might take a look at test scores and student feedback from the previous semester to gather insights into what worked well and what didn't and to identify areas where students may need extra support. Knowing all this information, you can then create a fun and engaging learning plan that is designed to help students succeed and achieve their goals.

3. Creating Clear Objectives

Kemp's model of Instructional Design emphasizes that your objectives should be exactly what the learner needs to master. The objectives can range from simple tasks like recalling information to complex ones like analyzing or creating something. The important thing is to make sure that your goals are specific, easy to understand, and relevant to what you want the learners to achieve. By setting clear and measurable objectives, you ensure that your learners are on the right track and that you're providing them with the best possible learning experience.

4. Developing Assessment Tools

Assessment tools help you evaluate your learner's performance, and creating them is an integral part of the process. These instruments come in different forms, like simple tests or assignments such as projects, writing papers, or even simulations. The choice of the evaluation tool really depends on the insights you want to get from your learners. If you want to know their knowledge retention rate, a simple test might be enough. But a project might be more effective if you want to check out their creativity or problem-solving skills. Ultimately, your goal is to make certain that learners can show you if they've achieved their learning goals and how much they're growing.

5. Selecting Instructional Strategies

This element is all about choosing the most suitable methods for achieving learner objectives. When it comes to Instructional Design, there are many ways to convey information to learners. From simple analogies to complex simulations, you have a range of instructional strategies at your disposal. These strategies should be aligned with the instructional objectives and the type of performance expected from learners. For instance, if the goal is to develop critical thinking skills, group activities and discussions could be more fun and effective than lectures. On the other hand, if the objective is to teach a specific concept or theory, a lecture may be the way to go. So, it's essential for you to carefully consider the learning objectives and choose instructional strategies that are both fun and effective.

6. Developing Instruction

All that's left to do now is to translate your chosen strategies into interesting learning materials. This means that you get to organize instructional units, create captivating videos, lectures, and handouts, or even build web pages and digital resources. This phase is super important because it ensures that the materials you create align with your learning goals and objectives while also being engaging and easy to use. It's time to unleash your talent in Instructional Design and prepare to see your plans come to life.

7. Implementing Instruction

This phase of Kemp's design model is where the action happens. Here, you get to deliver all the unique and engaging content you've created, not just by presenting information but also by connecting with learners. While you provide them with your carefully crafted lesson and all the necessary resources, ensure that you keep them motivated and active during the instruction. So, spark their enthusiasm, encourage discussions, and allow them to express themselves as they want. Of course, you need to foster the right environment, which will welcome collaboration and experimentation and reward hard work and engagement.

8. Support Resources

This element focuses on all the support services you need to make the teaching and learning process smoother and more effective. This may include technological support staff, special education assistants, or specific software and tools. These support services make sure that everyone involved in the learning process has all the assistance they need to succeed in their learning journey. However, these resources may vary based on the Instructional Design and the needs of the learners. Therefore, it is crucial for Instructional Designers to carefully consider all the required support resources and ensure that all learners have access to them.

9. Evaluating Instruction

In this step, it's time to step back and see how your program is performing. It's like a quality check of all your work and your chance to improve it or leave it as is. But how do you do that? Through surveys, quizzes, observation, and feedback from your learners, you can ask for their opinions on the overall learning experience and urge them to share where they encountered difficulties or what they enjoyed the most. Quizzes will tell you if your learners have truly grasped the content and, lastly, observation will allow you to experience their real-time reactions while taking courses and even step in where needed.


The Kemp design model puts learners first, making sure that their needs, preferences, motivations, and backgrounds are all taken into account to create personalized learning experiences that stick. It's also flexible and adaptable, so you can make it work for a variety of projects. Last, but not least, it gives a clear and logical framework you can follow to design memorable L&D content.