Social constructivist instructional design?

There are many good and useful models of instructional design, for example, ADDIE, ASSURE, CRESST, ARCS, 4CID, Component Display, Gagne’s Instructional Design Model, and so forth. These seem to me to identify some of the critical processes that instructors typically go through when teaching online.

What strikes me about these instructional design models, as the wikipedia entry on instructional design indicates, however, is that most of them are based upon cognitivist perspectives of learning. Indeed many of the originators of such models are well known for their work in cognitivism, and some specifically through their ideas about the information-processing model of cognitive learning theory.

Despite the suggestion that there is interest in constructivism amongst instructional designers, It still seems to me that most of the instructional design models still have at their core a cognitivist perspective. I’m not sure what this means really other than the processes that they walk us through likely are designed to help us create conditions for learning based upon the underlying tenets of cognitivism. So for example rather than leading us through the steps to enable a change in behavior or a change in constructed and multiple realities, they may well be leading us to design teaching and learning activities for changes in cognitive structures (such as schemata). If we have different goals, then we have different methods, and likely we have different outcomes.  These things are necessarily interrelated.

What this leaves me wondering is whether those professors who have assumed or who want to assume a more social constructivist stance to teaching and learning can gain the most benefit from these models. Or do we need a way of thinking about designing for learning, one that engenders and more constructivist approach? Does such a model exist? Or do we need a new way of thinking about course creation?

In a post I wrote what now seems like ages ago, Jason Green suggested that it would be useful to have a design model that walks us through the important questions we need to consider, rather than the processes that we should follow. This idea has resonated with me, and I wonder whether such an approach would be a good starting place.

I also wonder whether choosing instructional activities that allow students some control of their learning enough to really be constructivist? Or do we also need to allow students some control of the course itself?  If it’s the latter, how do we do that, particularly when we teach online and must have many matters settled and many decisions made before the course even starts?