The reading and projects throughout the semester have established a strong foundation of the principles of instructional design. I’ve been intrigued by the models, the research and the growth that the field has experienced over the last century. While there are many important things that I’ve learned, there are two things that stick out for me when I reflect on the course. The first is that the field has made a tremendous difference in learning for nontraditional learners. I think about the use of technology and curriculum planning as tools for learners who don’t benefits strictly from reading and lecture as a group of people who I hope to help one day. With the advent of computers and computer assisted learning, these learners had new opportunities to explore the information they needed to acquire.
As learning theories become more creative through constructivist models, these opportunities broadened in unparalleled ways. I think about the way that these theories of design have also helped teachers to be more capable when teaching their students in all arenas – k-12, corporate, military, etc. As these models grow and change, and the field of instructional design grows and changes, those same k-12 learners who benefitted from nontraditional learning models can continue to thrive throughout their careers whether that’s in a corporate office where they are offered performance support, through a military training program where behaviorist models as baked into their education, or as instructors themselves, using their experiences to develop unique and engaging experiences for learners in the world around them. This is something that I’ve deduced from the research and models offered throughout the reading.
The other big take away I have from the course is the importance of viewing any instructional design model or process as nonlinear. This is my first semester of graduate school and about a month into the program I was able to transition into a role as a Learning Specialist at a software company. In my role, I spend about 50% of my time helping convert learning materials from paper manuals to e-learning. I was incredibly excited to take on my first project because I knew it would give me an opportunity to use the information I was learning and hopefully develop a better understanding of the curriculum. What I quickly learned is the emphasis on design being nonlinear is extremely true. Though I’m only creating a minimal amount of new content, the meetings that I have with SMEs and stakeholders are touching many parts of the ADDIE process and mostly not as outlined. I’ve enjoyed being able to have input and design suggestions based on what I’ve learned in this course. I can consider Gagne’s events and make a recommendation to ensure to the content is being translated to a digital format in a way that will be useful for learners. I have been able to kickstart conversations around assessments that are aimed at ensuring we meet prescribed learning goals and that learners are able to fully understand what they are expected to learn and be assessed on at the end of the model. It’s exciting to know that the information I’m learning can be put to use in real time.