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ISD From the Ground Up, 4th Edition

A No-Nonsense Approach to Instructional Design

By  Chuck Hodell

Don’t leave course design to trial and error.    

Is trial and error a key pathway to instructional systems design (ISD)? Does success come only to experienced designers with expert instincts? Prior to the 2000 publication of ISD From the Ground Up, it certainly appeared that way to instructional designers just learning the ropes. Chuck Hodell set out to change that.  

Known as “the man who wrote the book on ISD—literally,” Hodell developed a comprehensive and practical handbook on core ISD practices and principles with a practitioner’s eye. His definitive guide is an industry staple currently found on the bookshelves of experienced instructional designers and university students alike.  

This updated fourth edition covers all the basics and many advanced tenets important to working professionals, especially those entering the field. Stand-alone chapters offer crucial support to practitioners building foundational skills, while in-depth tutorials and rich insights guide the credentialed designer.   

At a time when skillful curriculum development is valued more than ever, ISD From the Ground Up offers a refresher on objectives, design plans, lesson plans, and even what it takes to facilitate a focus group. Updated with new chapters and an expanded glossary of terms, it delves into skills and practices essential to the success of today’s in-demand curriculum developer.


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(*) The following formats are included with a purchase of this E-Book: PDF, EPUB, Kindle.


Chuck Hodell

Chuck Hodell is the author of the bestselling ATD book ISD From the Ground Up and has been involved in the worlds of training and education for more than 30 years. He has written extensively on instructional design and training-related topics for ATD, including several Infolines. He has enjoyed stints as a musician, police officer, telephone company repair technician, trainer, teacher, and academic administrator. Like many talent development professionals, his first exposure to training and instructional design was as a subject matter expert. He currently serves as associated director of the graduate program in instructional systems development at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. He is also the senior program director for instructional design at the Transportation Learning Center and academic adviser to the International Masonry Institute. Hodell has an undergraduate degree from Antioch University and an MA and PhD from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.


ISD From the Ground Up is a foundational book and methodology our training teams use to meet the unique and varied learning needs of the military and their families through our Department of Defense contracts. Using this book has resulted in a significant, positive impact on the readiness of our military by providing a critical resource to our instructional designers and trainers.
Suzanne Tofalo 
Senior Learning Manager, Zeiders Enterprises 
As someone who often coaches trainers to deliver training developed by others, I wish more ISDs would follow Chuck Hodell’s clear and specific recommendations for sound (and practical) design. ISD From the Ground Up is a useful how-to and a just-in-time job aid. It should be on every talent development professional’s bookshelf.
Greg Owen-Boger 
Vice President, Turpin Communication 
Co-Author, The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined 
ISD From the Ground Up is a practical, user-friendly book that allows readers to immediately learn and apply the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively design instruction for others. It is rare to find such an interdisciplinary text that anyone—from engineers and mechanics to educators and online course designers—can use.
Erica Boling 
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University 

ISD From the Ground Up is perfect for professionals designing training programs. Chuck Hodell’s practical, no-nonsense presentation of ISD fundamentals, such as the ADDIE model and Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction, has helped me guide both novice and experienced international trainers as they improve their instructional design for a variety of contexts.
Joan Kang Shin 
Director, TESOL Professional Training Programs, University of Maryland, Baltimore County 
ISD From the Ground Up is my go-to book whenever I need design help. The dog-eared corners, underlining, and comments in the margins are proof of that!
Julie Gaver 
Owner, Julie Gaver Training & Development

Book Details

ISBN: 9781562869984

Pages: 304

Pub Date: December 2015

Formats: Paperback, PDF

Product Code: 111532

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