Two ways of program design: atomic and complex
When an educational experience designer creates a program, he/she analyzes the context, forms a system of goals, and selects suitable methods to achieve them... But the program is more than goals, actions, and people who implement them.

*Van Merriënboer, J. J., & Kirschner, P. A. (2017). Ten steps to complex learning: A systematic approach to four-component instructional design. Routledge.
The most popular way of designing an educational program starts with defining the list of competencies, skills, knowledge, and values students should acquire during the program. Afterward designer chooses the appropriate assessment and instructional activities. The main idea is that student learns step by step or "skill by skill/knowledge by knowledge " by acquiring the more fundamental and easiest skills and knowledge at the beginning and gradually acquiring higher-order skills and knowledge. In other words, students are moving from remembering to creating, as mentioned in different pyramids of learning objectives.
The example is when the designer uses the Blooms / Krathowl / Mariano / understanding by design taxonomy to formulate the list of learning goals and objectives. Then one chooses the appropriate instructional activities for each objective. This list of objectives is also used for sequencing activities and creating student journey map and curriculum.
The starting point of thinking is the whole problem, or I prefer to use the term "situation" instead of thinking on the list of skills and knowledge. Having determined this situation, the designer analyzes it and creates a simulation based on it, ideally a series of simulations. The basic idea is that a student learns when immersed in a situation entirely with all its contexts. Then the student can train a system or a set of skills, knowledge and values in contrast to training a separate skill on a particular task. Skills, knowledge and values do not exist separately from each other. They form a complex system.
For example, in the 4C/ID model, one starts with identifying the authentic problem or real-world situation that students should be able to solve after graduation: "the cook should be able to cook a delicious dish in a restaurant kitchen." Then, the designer starts analyzing this problem situation of a cooking dish in different contexts (working in a small restaurant or a Michelin restaurant kitchen) to identify its surface and structural features. Based on this information, a designer creates a series of simulations: From cooking an effortless dish in a simulated kitchen to cooking in an authentic Michelin restaurant under the pressure of a chef. These simulations are the basis for the curriculum and subsequent decision-making.
At first sight, these two ways of thinking looks like the same. The formulation of the problem situation reminds the formulation of high-level competence!

This misunderstanding could appear because the problem situation and the competence are the two sides of the same coin. When competence is inside the person (the psychological dimension), the problem situation is inside the world (the environmental dimension). The trick is in linguistics — usually, one uses the "action verbs" to describe the problem situation — the washer has broken, so I tried to fix it; the angry neighbour came, and I tried to calm him down; the cook cooks to make the visitor happy. So, when one describes the problem, s/he uses the words which actually describe the competency needed to solve it — fix, calm down, cook.
The main difference is in how one thinks after these higher-order competencies, or problem situation was chosen — atomically by splitting it into the hierarchy of sub-competencies, skills, knowledge, and attitudes, or complexly by analyzing the context and creating a series of simulations that require the application of the whole system of sub competences, skills, knowledge, and attitudes.
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