I have been an instructional designer for two years, although I practiced instructional design in my previous career as a technical writer without knowing what it was called. I first learned the theories behind instructional design and some basic instructional design models in my master’s degree program on the subject. I learned, as all good instructional designers should, about the ADDIE framework. While I have dabbled with other basic models, I have a favorite model based on Morrisson, Ross, Kalman, and Kemp’s (2011) Designing Effective Instruction. Today, most of my instruction begins with a design formatted at least loosely on this model.
I have been intrigued throughout my studies with many of the more advanced instructional design models. Although I have not had an opportunity to try designing anything that uses these models in real life, I took a course in simulation design at Old Dominion University, and my partner and I worked together to design and build a model of a simulation which would help instructors develop empathy when teaching English Language Learners, and then assist them in choosing classroom approaches based on best practices which were most appropriate for their ELL learners. Although our model was just a mockup of a simulation using some of the advanced coding available in PowerPoint, it was still very interesting planning the design and developing the model.
Other advanced instructional design models which have piqued my interest over the years with which I would like one day to experiment include games and gamification and 3D virtual worlds. The one advanced model with which I am currently attempting to work is problem-based learning (PBL). I’ve done a bit of research concerning this area and I think it has a lot of potential and promise in the area of student-led, social-constructivist learning. It is a wonderful technique for developing the soft-skills and higher-order thinking skills which are critical components in today’s workforce. It has the added benefit of adding relevance to learning, which is important for motivation and engagement. Of course, it is also ridden with pitfalls, from instructors unable or unwilling to step out of behaviorist teacher-led mindsets and into a facilitative role to students without the discipline or motivation necessary to take control of their own learning or the requisite prior knowledge necessary to be successful in the particular scenario the problem establishes. Other potential problems can include classrooms insufficiently equipped or situated for PBL or too high a student to teacher ratio.
That said, I think in proper balance with other methods, PBL can be a useful and powerful tool for instructional designers. I believe it is the technique I would like to focus on for the duration of this course.
Morrison, Gary R., Ross, Steven M. , Kalman, Howard K., & Kemp, Jerrold E. . (2011). Designing Effective Instruction (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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