Instructional Design for Everyone
On November 14, 2015, NERCOMP hosted an instructional design workshop in Norwood, MA. This workshop, Instructional Design for Everyone, was focused around a common formula for design thinking.
Current state: Where is the learner?
Future state: Where does he need to be?
Active steps: What do we do to get him there?
The workshop was led by instructional designers who each shared a common problem they have faced. The processes they each used to find solutions differed, but were all centered around a “systems” approach. Whether they employed a particular research model, design strategy, or mixed model approach, each designer highlighted the balance between analysis and design that occurs when determining the best approach for identifying where faculty are at with their teaching and learning and what they want students to be able to do.
A few of the design models used by the presenters to approach their problem are highlighted below.
Backward design: look at most recent syllabus, identify learning objectives, refer to course catalog for description, discuss how objectives/outcomes will be assessed then develop learning activities to get them there, verify alignment
Analysis – Why do you want to try this? For what module or issue?
Design – Changes needed or proposed
Development – Create pre-class guided research activities, in class cases
Implementation – Observe classes
Evaluation – Evaluate project; using various data sources for triangulation
Systems approach (Dick and Carey needs analysis model): identify instructional goals, conduct instructional analysis and analyze learners and contexts, write performance objectives, revise instruction and develop assessment instruments, develop and select instructional materials, design and conduct formative evaluation, design and conduct summative evaluation
Various mixed methods (theory vs practice vs reality): Start with consultation – what do you want students to be able to do? Tell me about your teaching style and how you like to interact w students? How do you know they can do it or are doing it? Let’s figure out what activities and things will help them learn/practice. Instructional Designer goes back and brainstorms, finds solutions, researches, talk with peers, etc.
Also important to the instructional design process is guiding instructors to think about how they align assessment with learning outcomes, pairing assignments or activities with skills, and assuring several feedback loops exist between faculty and student that are made available throughout course. Formative assessment gives students a chance to fail before the content moves on and gives instructor a chance to learn about students and reframe content. A course design plan can help faculty conceptually and visually organize their course and arrange content. Objective mapping or an alignment worksheet helps to visually identify what students will do, through what activities, how they will be evaluated (assessments) and how it all aligns.
When planning course design, it is also important to consider situational factors, such as class size, length and frequency of sessions, and instructor experience and teaching style.
Additional concepts and theories were shared, including:
Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction and are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance and impact to their jobs or personal life.
Idea: Instead of a textbook, create a wiki and give students resources to create the content themselves, then publish it w Creative Commons license.
5 E’s learning cycle framework:
Engage: get them curious and interested
Explore: give a simple problem to investigate and solve
Explain: peer instruction, sharing solutions, giving feedback
Extend: challenging problem multi-stage, no one answer
Evaluate: summative assessment
Gagne’s 9 events of instruction as a guide for the instructional design framework of a course.
1. Gaining attention
2. Informing the learner of the objectives
3. Stimulating recall of prior knowledge
4. Presenting information
5. Providing guidance
6. Eliciting performance
7. Providing feedback
8. Assessing performance
9. Enhancing retention and transfer
The best Instructional Designers are able to “code shift”, work well with others, possess an authentic curiosity, display a spirit of exploration and willingness to fail, and when necessary can “control the burn” and “round the wagons”.
We ask instructors to be student-centered and help facilitate learners constructing knowledge. We need to employ this pedagogy in faculty development also.
To learn more and explore the various strategies shared by the panel of presenters, view the presentation slides.
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