Authoring Instructional Materials (AIM)

AUTOMATED INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN (AID) tools assist instructional designers and others in creating instructional products to improve learning. AID systems assist in the production of courseware (Gros & Spector, 1994), or in the development of computer-based instruction (CBI), although some tools guide users in general decision-making that can apply to a range of instructional products and solutions.

AID tools may eliminate some physical ID tasks such as storyboarding and test generation (Muraida & Spector, 1993). However, the strength of AID tools lies in their ability to guide novices and non-ID professionals through the process of creating effective instruction (Tennyson & Barron, 1995; Chapman, 1995). AID tools are especially useful in situations where instructional design expertise is lacking and subject matter experts and others are responsible for developing instruction.

Authoring Instructional Materials (AIM)

ShipBoard or SchoolHouse Network

Authoring Instructional Materials (AIM) is a government-managed system used by the Navy and other agencies to develop, update, manage, and integrate training content.

AIM is designed to improve and streamline the training development and maintenance process.

There are two different approaches used by the Navy to develop instructional materials. (1) AIM I that supports the Personal Performance Profile and (2) AIM II that supports the Task Based approach. AIM II automates the systems approach to training and ensures uniform formatting and compliance of all required output products, in any form, from paper to web.

AIM's Granular Database Form


AIM II: The Application

The AIM II application is an integrated collection of commercial software products tied together through government software.

AIM II uses a Microsoft Access or SQL server database engine to store training content chunks and establish links between them. Links are established to ensure that content is tied directly to a learning or performance support objective.

These objectives, in turn, are directly bound to a selected task. AIM II replaces unstructured word processing based curriculum authoring and maintenance systems that require expertise in generation and formatting of complex documents by instructional designers and Subject Matter Experts.

The database foundation of AIM II supports Content Design, Content Development, Content Surveillance and Maintenance, Content Production and Content Management. AIM II can output its training content in PDF, HTML and XML formats.

AIM II also supports Sharable Content Objects (SCOs) advocated by the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative and its SCO Reference Model (SCORM) standard.

AIM II Instructional System Design (ISD) Model

ADDIE and PADDIE ISD ModelInstructional System Design (ISD) is often called SAT (System Approach to Training) or ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implement, Evaluate). This ISD model was designed by the Department of Defense to solve training problems.

This process provides a means for making sound decisions to determine the who, what, when, where, why, and how of training. The concept of a system approach to training is based on obtaining an overall view of the training process.

The application of a systems approach to training insures that training programs and the required support materials are developed in an effective and efficient manner.

AIM II introduces PLAN, as the first phase, to the traditional five phases of ADDIE. The Plan phase is the starting point of the ISD process for AIM II (PADDIE) as defined in the Naval Education and Training Command Task based Curriculum Development Manual (NAVEDTRA 130A Vol 2, 1997).

It is in this phase that the developer identifies resource requirements and the sequence of events in the development process of a new course, a revision, or a cancellation.

Military and Department Of Defense (DoD) Contributions

The military and DoD research and development community has contributed significantly to the exploration of automation within the domain of Instructional Design (ID) (Spector et al., 2004 ). As noted by (Baker and O’Neil 2003), during the period from the 1970s through the 1990s, military training research contributed advances such as adaptive testing, simulation-based training, embedded systems, and several authoring systems.

More Information

Authoring Instructional Materials (AIM) - Human Performance Center

AIM Introductory & Informational Brief – Naval Air Training Systems Division

Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL)

Naval Education and Training Command Task Based Curriculum Development Manual

Reginald L Johnson
Graduate Student
Department of Educational Technology
San Diego State University

Johnson, R.L. (2005). Authoring Instructional Materials (AIM). In  B. Hoffman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. Retrieved from