As I have read through the textbooks and participated in case studies, I have learned that instructional design is not necessarily a straightforward process. It requires a good base knowledge of the different models, tools, and phases to be successful.
I was surprised to learn of how many different models an instructional designer could use in their process depending on the project. The most well-known and used seems to be the ADDIE model, along with the five phases. Many of these models seem to overlap or be somewhat similar. Every model has some kind of process comparable to that of the ADDIE framework. I noted that the five phases of instructional design were parts of a process that the chapters continually use. In each phase, there are essential elements that are observed, with learners being the first element to be considered. This makes sense because, in order to build any instruction or learning, you have to know who your audience is and what their needs are.
Determining what the learners already know and what they need to know on a topic is where you conduct a needs assessment. This will identify the gaps in knowledge. How one performs a needs assessment will be dependent on the project and whether or not you have direct access to the learners. For instance, if you are developing a program to teach middle school students how to research correctly, you must first understand the learners and what prior knowledge they have. You may or may not have direct access to middle school students. Let’s say for this scenario you do. You could conduct a small learning experiment in the classroom to gather what knowledge they currently possess about researching. From here, you could collect information on what the students presently know and what they lack. The learners are at the center of the instructional design process, and it is vital to determine their needs and characteristics. In the essential triangle of instructional design, the learner is surrounded by three additional elements, outcomes, assessments, and activities. While reading through chapter 3, gathered that while learners were the core element for an instructional designer to focus on, outcomes and assessments were elements to which to build off of. Identifying the learners’ goals and outcomes will give the instructional designer an idea of what the client expects and how to determine whether or not the project was successful.
I have concluded that instructional design has a wide range of techniques that can be used for the specific project that an instructional designer has been tasked with. Learners are the core of what an instructional designer does, and it is imperative to continually iterate through the phases multiple times to get the most refined results.