Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Brief History of Instructional Design

The History of Instructional Design

Instructional design is like the early settlers. They started on the wagon train and worked their way to civilization. This has been in the making a long time. In the midst of World War II having to train thousands of soldiers caused a tremendous instructional dilemma. Soldiers were trained and ready for combat using a variety of training methods. This training investment credited them with victory of war.

In the 50's theoretical models of learning were introduced. The behaviorist theory consisted of feedback and reinforcement and emphasized learning objectives. We breakdown instruction in small units and reward for correct responses that reinforce the behavior.

The constructivist theory was drawn from past experience. "Theorist such as Thomas Duffy and Seymour Papert suggest that constructivism provides a model whereby socio-cultural and cognitive issues regarding the design of learning environments can be supported by computer tools." We use this today with online classes, programming, and help desk systems on and offline.

Designing a course and knowing the objectives provides a direction and outcome of learning. How we do it depends on the approach we use. Throughout history we have taken steps to get where we are today. Technology is providing more efficient means to get there. A variety of models and theories are developed and used in the process along with technology. We design and develop our teaching methods to reach the needs of students, businesses and other audiences. We have come a long way.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Why Instructional Design?

In everything we do we use some type of design. As educators we are designing course work everytime we prepare a lesson. We determine the needs of the students, set the goals and objectives and design the lesson based on the type of audience we are targeting. We determine what is the best delivery of the content we are trying to teach/deliver to our students. We then evaluate what we have done and determine if the outcome was a success. Once we have gone through the steps, we start over and make our design better to reach our next audience. We evaluate the previous design and make necessary changes. It is all about planning and instruction. It is what we do in our work and our daily lives.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Methodologies and Theories of Learning

What is the best theory or methodology to use in the learning process? Is there a best one or is it that we must research and find the one that meets the need of the learner? What theory is best to use with an online class or a face to face class? Do we follow the traditional way of teaching or do we branch out to nontraditional teaching methods?

How we answer these questions depends on the needs of the learner. In todays' learning environment we try to offer several different theories/methodologies to reach all learners. We need to understand learning styles and behaviors of our learners.

In the Constructivism approach, we develop learning to reflect learning from prior knowledge. It includes a hands on approach. This approach encourages students to reflect on prior knowledge and analyze, interpret and predict outcomes. Instructors encourage open communication and discussion among the learner. This approach allows the learner to evaluate their own progress to determine where they are and what they need to do to accomplish the goal.

In Piaget's theory he identifies four stages of learning. As the child develops through these stages (Sensorimotor stage, preoperational stage, concrete operations stage, and formal operations stage) they experience the world using mental maps and if he/she repeats the experiences they maintain logical sequences of learning. This theory impacts learning by providing developmentally appropriate curriculum.

Another theory is the brain-based learning model. The brain is allowed to go through normal processes for learning to occur. With this theory we create learning environments that give the learner a challenging learning environment. The students in honors classes are assigned more activities and creative challenges to complete than students in a regular classroom environment. When instructors create and design curriculum, they use activities that target students' interest allowing them to monitor their learning style and taking responsibility for what they learn.

As students learn and process information in different ways, instructors are challenged to develop and design curriculum to meet the diverse needs of the learner.

Instructional Design

How do we define instructional design?

We look at it as a process of analyzing learning needs, finding a delivery system and developing instruction and activities to meet those needs.

We define it as a discipline as a branch of knowledge involving research and theories of what strategies we use to develop instruction.

We see it as a science to develop a plan, create steps of learning, evaluate and maintain facilities that stimulate learning.

We use it as an instructional system to use resources and processes that promote learning.

Instructional technology uses theories and other knowledge to creat a design and implement instruction.

The bottom line is that instructional design is the process by which instruction is created whether it is in an online environment or a face to face environment.

As we design instruction, we need to keep in mind that today brings many changes and challenges of teaching students. Not all students will visualize and learn using the same theory and process as they did in the traditional learning environment. We have a diverse learning population that challenges our need to be more creative in developing a design to benefit everyone. We still need to analyze, develop instruction, implement, and evaluate to meet the needs of our diverse society.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Information Literacy

What is information literacy? How much do we know and how does it help us in designing our curriculum? There is a lot of information that we are still learning.

Did you know when you are searching that certain extensions represent different businesses, organizations, agencies, and educational institutions? Some of the extensions are: .edu which represents educational organizations; .com is usually a company; .gov is a government agency; and .mil is a military institution. These extensions are helpful in your search for information. If you want government information, you would end with a .gov and .edu for education searches. This is important in helping us find what we are looking for.

Knowing how to determine if a website is valid is important. We do not want to search information that may not be correct. If we are looking for a website to find out how to use microsoft moviemaker, we would type in msmoviemaker.com and find several addressess to look up information on how to download and use this software. This would be good software for an introductory class wanting to teach multimedia.

Google and yahoo are two commom search engines. There are many more out there to use while we are making our way through the information highway.

Blogs are a good communication tool inside and out of the classroom to share information with the teacher and the students. This is an opportunity to learn something new and share ideas not just in the classroom but across the curriculum, across the school districts, and across the country.

Please share some ideas that you are doing in the classroom which will help make a better learning environment for our students.