My expectations for the continued reading were to learn more about the process of instructional design and look at the other points of The Essential Triangle of Instructional Design. I already knew about the different types of assessments that could be conducted, but Cennamo and Kalk lay out more details on how to use the assessments and what kind of outcomes they’d be best used for.
I have come to understand that as we develop the five phases in the instructional design process, we also elaborate and refine the outcomes and assessments of learning iteratively. During the Define phase, we gather information from the client to determine what a tentative outcome will be for the instruction; we consider different types of techniques to determine if these outcomes are achieved. In the Design phase, we examine the learning outcomes and determine the subskills that contribute to obtaining these outcomes. In the Demonstrate phase, we refine the outcomes, assessments, and outline the actual instruction. We develop assessments as part of the prototype and test them with learners during the prototype evaluation. In the Develop phase, we continue monitoring the materials and fully develop assessment items that are tested during pilot tests and field trials. Through the assessment tests, we determine if the intended outcomes can be achieved. Lastly, in the Deliver phase, we present the instructional materials and assessment items to learners making sure that that through their participation in the instruction, the desired learning outcomes will be achieved.
After reading this part, I have concluded that the outcomes and assessments are determined primarily during the Define, Design, and Demonstrate phases. Nevertheless, outcomes may be added or deleted, and assessment items can be modified, based on the results of the learner tryouts during the Demonstrate and Deliver phases.
While reading, I also learned how to develop an effective and enjoyable instruction and facilitate learning through well-designed materials and experiences. I learned that successful learning experiences should include a set of predictable events. First introduced by Gagné (1965) in his Nine Events of Instruction and then elaborated upon by various other authors (Smith & Ragan, 2005), these events guide in structuring and organizing the learning experience.
I have come to understand that the design of learning activities is based on the three learning theories: behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism. Behaviorists believe that learning should occur through reinforcement of desired feedback. Cognitivists think that learning involves storing new information with related prior knowledge. On the other hand, constructivists state that knowledge is individually built as learners try to attempt to make sense of the world around them. These three learning theories are not always used equally, although most can agree that effective learning experiences should be built on learning events. There are six learning events that can be used in any order depending on the outcome. These are: focusing on goals, linking with prior knowledge, gaining and organizing content knowledge, taking action and monitoring progress, synthesizing and evaluating learning, extending and evaluating knowledge.
I found the descriptions of each learning event very enlightening to me. They helped me understand how each event worked and the types of activities that supported each of them. For instance, the activities involved in the first learning event, Focus on Goals, included asking questions about a topic that would generate curiosity, pre-testing on content to be learned, prompting learners to set their own goals and more.
Along with planning learning events, I have learned that the specific instructional strategy is influenced by the context in which the instruction is delivered, and the conditions under which learners participate. I found that there are different types of delivery, such as synchronous, asynchronous, distance learning, face-to-face learning, and blended learning. One delivery method we need to consider is chunking, where a set of topics that go together are used. The chunking method works best when we consider the learners’ prior knowledge and the complexity of the issue.
Throughout the design process, we continuously monitor whether the instructional activities, outcomes, and assessments are aligned, and if they are appropriate to the needs and characteristics of the learners. Besides, in each phase of the instructional design process, we evaluate our ideas when we present a project proposal; we evaluate our “best guess” solutions when we present design documents, storyboards, content outlines, and prototypes for discussion.
I found it very useful to learn that evaluation may be formative and summative. Formative evaluations are conducted during the process of designing and developing the materials. It refers to the fact that the product is still “in formation.” The purpose of formative evaluation is to ensure alignment among outcomes, assessment, and activities; to ensure that outcomes, assessment, and activities are appropriate for the learners and that the content is accurate and free from errors. A summative evaluation is conducted after the product is already completed. It measures the effectiveness of instruction after it has been finalized.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that every part of the instructional design process is essential in designing the most effective instruction. However, as we move further in this process, it’s critical to evaluate and assess the information that we have gathered. We build our “best guess” of what will work best for our situation and our learners based on research, theory, and the experience of others. Hence, to determine if we have guessed correctly, we need to test our assumptions through the process of evaluation.