Educational Technology Research and Development

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 39–61

Blueprints for complex learning: The 4C/ID-model


    • Educational Technology Expertise Center (OTEC)Open University of the Netherlands
  • Richard E. Clark
    • Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California
  • Marcel B. M. de Croock
    • Educational Technology Expertise Center (OTEC)Open University of the Netherlands

DOI: 10.1007/BF02504993

Cite this article as:
van Merriënboer, J.J.G., Clark, R.E. & de Croock, M.B.M. ETR&D (2002) 50: 39. doi:10.1007/BF02504993


This article provides an overview description of the four-component instructional design system (4C/ID-model) developed originally by van Merriënboer and others in the early 1990s (van Merriënboer, Jelsma, & Paas, 1992) for the design of training programs for complex skills. It discusses the structure of training blueprints for complex learning and associated instructional methods. The basic claim is that four interrelated components are essential in blueprints for complex learning: (a) learning tasks, (b) supportive information, (c) just-in-time (JIT) information, and (d) part-task practice. Instructional methods for each component are coupled to the basic learning processes involved in complex learning and a fully worked-out example of a training blueprint for “searching for literature” is provided. Readers who benefit from a structured advance organizer should consider reading the appendix at the end of this article before reading the entire article.

Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2002