First, the author gives a short description of the current German situation with respect to educational research (‘empirische Bildungsforschung’), to general didactics (‘Allgemeine Didaktik’), and to research on learner development and educational experience (‘Bildungsgangforschung’) in particular. Then, the didactics for the third field of study, ‘Bildungsgangforschung’, are described, and an example of instructional analysis from this perspective is given: an English class at senior high school (upper secondary stage). The example is of help for one of the central concepts of ‘Bildungsgangforschung’, the description of authentic student participation. With reference to the example, and going beyond, the developmental task concept is described and defended. Quality criteria for learner development and instructional planning, which are partly based upon empirical data, are proposed. In doing so, particular attention is given to the tension between general education as suggested by Wolfgang Klafki (‘Allgemeinbildung), teachers’ professional developmental tasks, and students’ efforts to achieve the developmental tasks adequate for their age group. A graduated model of instructional cooperation for the description and evaluation of classroom instruction from the point of view of learner development and educational experience is used for a reflective final step.