As I reflect on my experiences in Design of Performance and Instructional Systems, I am intrigued by the field of instructional design and technology and the number of disciplines that are encompassed within. I am not sure why this had not occurred to me before, but I came upon this realization from one of the first assigned readings, The Proper Way to Become an Instructional Technologist. Reading this essay gave me a sense of relief that I had made a wise choice in selecting this program because I have a range of experiences in many of the fields mentioned. The next title, Competencies for Instructional Designers: A View from Employers, further solidified my aspirations to become an instructional designer. In the back of my mind, there was some trepidation that my technological skills were not up to par and therefore, I would have some difficulties. However, the aforementioned article calmed my nerves when I read that instructional design and technology is primarily concerned with systematic design processes and performance improvement. Having these two readings at the beginning of the course helped me to relax and confidently delve deeper into the content.
As the semester progressed the view of instructional design and technology expanded. The infographic, A Brief History of Instructional Design as well as the article titled, A History of Instructional Design and Technology: Part I: A History of Instructional Media, gave an account of the origins of the field and many of its earliest contributors and movements. I learned about many of the early contributors in undergraduate school, but had never associated their principles with instructional design.
There are some technical aspects of instructional design that I would need to lend close attention to assure that I have a solid grasp on important concepts. One area that I would need to examine closely is needs analysis. The Needs Analysis excerpt from Training Educators to Design and Develop ODL Materials: A Facilitator’s Guide, Commonwealth of Learning, advises that needs analysis is a key aspect to learning essential information about the need and audience for an idea, service, or product. The text Real World Instructional Design: An Iterative Approach to Designing Learning Experiences has a section devoted to assessing the learner’s needs and characteristics. This chapter provides detailed information on the purpose and methods for conducting learner analysis. There is yet another article that I found to be a great resource for understanding needs analysis better. Need Training? Conducting an Effective Needs Assessment, provides practical advice on what a training needs assessment is and why one would need to conduct it.
Currently, the readings on setting goals and creating objectives are very informative and useful in identifying the purpose of instruction. The article titled, Identifying Instructional Goals Using Front-End Analysis gives a great overview of design, development, and revision of instruction, and assures that front-end analysis is of value to novice instructional designers. In culmination, I do believe that the readings presented thus far have provided me with ample knowledge to support my decision to pursue instructional design as a career choice.