I bring a background of higher education administration, with limited teaching experience to this degree program. I have led many trainings and orientations throughout my career, but admittedly, I am not well versed in the science of learning, and unfortunately, my experience with the full methodology of pedagogy and instruction has been minimal. So, I come to this class eager to learn of the existing theories and models and developing trends in the field of instructional design and technology. The readings and activities of this class have been illuminating.
In the very first reading of the textbook, the authors raised the point that all models of instructional design ask similar questions – What does the instruction need to accomplish, what knowledge, skills, attitudes do the learners need? What does a successful outcome look like? (Cennamo and Kalk, 2019). In reading that, it was a lightbulb moment! My experiences have focused on the first two questions, and less on the third. I realized my focus has been on the delivery, and perhaps the acquisition of material and knowledge, and not on how the learner is perceiving or using the knowledge.
When I first heard of Learning Experience Design, it appealed to me in that it seemed distinct from instructional design. In the textbook, the authors indicate that learning experience design primarily considers learner needs and experiences. The focus is on the learning sciences in arranging instructional events for meaningful learning, where learning designers deliberate on the interface and best access to content, media, and technology capabilities, and how all this affects or enhances a learner’s experience (Cennamo and Kalk, 2019).
Having done the initial reading, I began to reflect on my classroom experiences as both a student and as an instructor. Dabbagh (2007) talks about the characteristics of the online learner and how competency in the use of online learning technologies does not guarantee meaningful interaction or knowledge building. As a student, I am enrolled in my first formal online courses, and I am taking both asynchronous and synchronous courses this term. In this course, even with the challenges of technology, my knowledge, and social learning skills are growing. I take the view that the technology challenges that have occurred are examples and lessons of instructional design. Rieber (1998) discusses the congruency between how instructional design is taught and how it is practiced. At the end of each class, I ask myself: what would a learning experience designer do (WWLXD)? In my other course, the emphasis is on dialogical learning, through interaction with other learners via conversation and dialogue. In this course, my reflection and time management skills are challenged, and this experience is helping me become more empathetic to learners. In design thinking, that is the first step in understanding how products and processes will be designed, and these courses offer personal experience examples from which to learn.
In covering the various models of instructional design, ADDIE stands out as the standard. The reading provides an overview of Dick & Carey, SAM, Design Thinking and other models, and of the various phases and elements and cycles to be considered. As Rieber (1998, p6) states, it is not enough to know about these tools, “I have to use them competently and creatively for the task at hand before they will work.” At that time, he was speaking to the role as that of instructional technologist. Here in 2019, design plays a more significant role, and the essential triangle of learner design calls for the learner to be at the center of the design and development process. Instructional designers now advocate for an effective program that will ensure the learners’ needs and characteristics impact the goals, outcomes, strategies, and activities of instruction (Cennamo and Kalk, 2019).
One month into this graduate program, as a learner, I admit to feeling overwhelmed by the breadth of information, the theories, the vocabulary, and being confused by some of the terms. As I navigate the two courses I’m currently enrolled in, and consider what my next classes will be, I think of a comment by Bradshaw (2018, p343) which states “Expanding diversities of thought and perspective in our field…can increase our capacity to…improve problem solving and decision-making under growing pressures to prioritize devices and efficiency”. I want to be mindful of what my efforts look like in practice. I wonder how iterative my learning and practice will become, and how will I revisit and revise my definitions and practice of instructional design and technology or learning experience design. Klein and Kelly (2018) discuss competencies that employers are seeking, those mainly being soft skills and keeping up with trends and willing to learn new technology. Outside of the class, I am engaging professionals from the field of learning and development to gain exposure to these new technologies and trends. Design thinking, and the importance of facilitating not only knowledge but improved performance, is partially why I chose the corporate project. The most recent case study assignment presented a corporate training scenario with underlying profit motives. By the next reflection paper, and certainly by the end of this course, I want to discover how to apply the approaches I’m learning about to a similar scenario, and be confident that meaningful and transformative learning has occurred.
Bradshaw, A. (2018). Reconsidering instructional design and technology timeline through a lens of social justice. TechTrends, 62, 336-344. doi.org/10.1007/s11528-018-0269-6
Cennamo, K., & Kalk, D. (2019). Real world instructional design: An iterative approach to design learning experiences (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Dabbagh, N. (2007). The online learner: Characteristics and pedagogical implications. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 7(3), 217- 226.
Klein, J.D., & Kelly, W.Q. (2018) Competencies for instructional designers: A view from employers. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 31(3), 225-247. doi: 10.1002/piq.21257
Rieber, L. (1998). The proper way to become an instructional technologist [Lecture notes]. Retrieved from http://lrieber.coe.uga.edu/pdean/pdean.html.