Saturday, June 26, 2010
In the past eight weeks, I have taken a framework that my team of students developed in our previous course, and I revised it significantly to suit the needs of an amazingly diverse group of students. I had the privilege of seeing people benefit from my design work, and the frustration of seeing a plan take twice as long to implement as I had anticipated.
What were the biggest challenges you encountered? How did you work to overcome them?
The greatest challenge I encountered was developing goals and objectives that I could reasonably expect to be able to teach to a group of people with widely divergent backgrounds who did not speak English. I translated my materials into Spanish using Google Docs, and I arranged to have a translator available during the pilot seminar. To work around the communication challenge, I focused on developing manual skills related to using a computer that would not require much communication, however knowing the importance of cooperative learning. I also planned for classroom discussion among the students. I anticipated holding these discussions in English with the help of the translator, but my students had read my Student Guide and they understood from the introduction that they should discuss what they were learning, so they discussed what they had learned with each other, in Spanish. I allowed time for the discussion, and then I made a summary statement which was translated for them.
What insights did you gain about the field of instructional design, the ID process, or the issues and challenges an instructional designer faces on a daily basis?
I had a good understanding of the ID process already. My weak area was in understanding the importance of evaluation to the learning process, and to the instructional design process. My epiphany for this course was understanding the importance of evaluation.
What did you learn about the different skills and dispositions that an instructional designer must possess to successfully deal with the common issues and challenges faced in their daily work?
An instructional designer needs to be aware of people: how they think, what motivates them, and what causes resistance to change. Well-designed instruction enables people to adopt what they are learning into their own thought processes.
How will you apply what you learned in this course to future ID projects?
I will be methodical in my planning. I will take the time to know my learners. I will make their needs and strengths and weaknesses just as much a part of my planning as the course content. I will take the time to consider whether the problems I am solving are actually instructional problems, or whether some other kind of change would solve the problem at hand more directly.