Reflections on Thursday’s Advanced ID presentations

I appreciated the two different perspectives on problem-based learning (PBL) that were presented during class this past week. Alicia’s presentation, in addition to being very professionally presented, discussed PBL from the perspective of its use with middle school children. In this instance, PBL was a perfect solution for motivation and engagement of students in an otherwise largely teacher-centric environment. It gives students greater control of their own learning and provides an authentic learning space where students can feel as if they are a part of something larger than themselves. Alicia tied PBL to Connectivism and Social Constructivism theories, and spent time defining the terminology including a new term, hybrid PBL. This term included the authentic, student-based nature of PBL while allowing that students might not be fully prepared for solving messy, ill-structured problems on their own, thus permitting some lectures and other interventions to bring just-in-time information to students to assist them in the solving of their problem.

Brandi also talked about PBL, but addressed her presentation from the concept of PBL through Communicative Action (the guiding principle of this course). As Brandi presented both the concepts behind PBL and the challenges associated with it, she effectively drew parallels to LTCA theory and demonstrated how PBL could be an advanced ID theory through this analysis.

Buddy presented the ASSURE model as an advanced ID model. This model allows for the creation of stand-alone technology-assisted training with less reliance on instructor lecture and requires active learner participation for successful application. The model is ideal for online learning, where much of the learning takes place asynchronously and where reliance on and incorporation of media and technology is a necessity. Buddy related his model to Gagne’s nine principles of instruction.

Stacey’s presentation centered around brain-based learning and it was a topic of particular interest to me in light of a recent presentation I attended at the Educause Learning Initiative annual meeting. Her model reinforced what I learned about the brain at that conference and presents exciting possibilities in terms of new ways to approach learning and teaching.

I found all four presentations insightful and interesting. While I’m not sure that I agree with each student that their particular project reflected an advanced instructional design principle, I would be likely to use all three models represented when appropriate. The one I felt least fit into the category of an advanced ID model was the ASSURE model, as it fits pretty well within the ADDIE framework, and Gagne’s behaviorist model, though learner-focused, could hardly be considered advanced. That said, as a designer of online instruction, I can see the application of this model as a valuable resource in my tool belt, and plan to teach it to faculty who struggle with the appropriate application of media resources into their online courses or for whom designing engaging online experiences is a particular challenge.

Dr. Warren made a comment to a previous blog post where I summarized some of the things I learned at Dr. Medina’s lecture on the brain. He asked how we might design a course to take these principles into account and suggested that this question might be a dissertation topic. Up until now I had not focused on a particular area of interest that could be a dissertation thesis, but this brain research is fascinating to me, and I’ve done at least one presentation that dealt in part with it. I think this is an area of research I would really enjoy and could be passionate about. After hearing Stacey’s presentation, I feel more so that way than before. I plan to do more research into this field and begin asking questions which could lead to a dissertation topic.  

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