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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Garvey, EDU651 1.1 – Introduction to Instructional Design

What is instructional design?

Siemons (2002) wrote “that there are many definitions for the term instructional design.”  So, we looked for the most likely combination from each of seven theories so that we could forge just one definition that meant something as our base.  The definition then became that an instructional design is the development, management, and evaluation of a systematic process which utilizes effective learning resources, materials, and tools, so that instructional information can be implemented and applied by the learner disciplined to learn through meaningful goals, tasks, and /or activities.  An equal contribution was made to this new theory including concepts from the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), 1994; Berger & Kam, 1996; Broderick, 2001; Craig, 2012; Gagne, Wagner, Golas, & Keller, 2005; Reiser & Dempsey, 2012; and Siemons, 2002.  

Does my definition of instructional design include instructional technology?  Why or why not?

No.  My definition of instructional design did not include technology.  Technology usage has changed over the last 50 years and possibly could be the more progressive term, but in the definition, I considered the word “technology” redundant after having already stated the usage of effective learning resources, materials, and tools.  You could not substitute these words for technology, so, the fit did not seem logical or true.  Also, Berger and Kam had discussed instructional design as a science which I had left out of my definition.  I have considered technology a science which they stressed as a perspective or means of targeting complex information (as cited in Craig, 2012).  Learners use technology for many targets, but it is not a requirement of instructional design.  It is a positive choice, and it would seem that technology serves learning more as a “reflection of theory and practice” (Siemons, as cited in Craig, 2012).

What do I feel is the most important endpoint (or result) of an instructional design?

I do not consider instructional design to have endpoints, which is similar to the ADDIE paradigm.  “It is important to note that the ADDIE activities typically are not completed in a linear step-by-step manner, even though for convenience they may be presented that way by various authors.  Thus the iterative and self-correcting nature of the instructional design process emerges as one of its greatest strengths.  Therefore ID models should assure opportunities for recurring and concurrent design activities from the beginning to the end of the instructional design process” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2012, p. 9-10).  As a “result” of the instructional design the designer should evaluate and revise (p. 10).

How would I define ‘effective learning’?

There are many forms of effective learning, so we capitalized on one form called mastery learning by Bloom (1976), in that the theory required teachers to write short units, each had specific objectives, and before the teacher engaged her plan, she would have to create a pre- and post- assessment to fully comprehend the value of the learning session for the student (as cited in Postlethwaite, 1998, p. 336).  Because the teacher is focusing on the learners needs, she is able to assist with whichever barriers the learner is blocked by as well as offering remedial and enrichment work to the learners.  Postlethwaite continues to explain that effective learning occurs when the teacher assists the learner with his learning obstacles and this work is based on Bruner who states, “That you can teach anything to anyone if you go about it the right way” (p. 345).

What does effective learning mean to me and how would I know when it occurs in my classroom?

I have read Bloom’s work with his taxonomy in the past and I had used it in the job I used to have as a facilitator for both teachers and learners (adults with developmental disabilities) particularly in setting goals and objectives. I believe the utilization of categories as knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation has been instrumental not only in teaching and working with others, but as well in designing masters’ papers that were balanced and created appropriate learning opportunities.  In my work position, I had typed a form giving space line by numbered line for the goals’ objectives. Each line of objectives was followed by a square grid for each of the above categories.  The first objective would start with knowledge and the last objective always ended in evaluation.  This gave me ability to watch performance and in answering the questions “Can he do it?  Is it in process?  And, has it been accomplished?” I was able carefully either in a group or individually if actual affective learning was taking place.

How might I measure when effective learning has taken place?

In the above example of utilizing Bloom’s Taxonomy, I could gauge learning as having taken place by counting the objectives completed and dividing that number by the entire number of objectives to be completed, and then assign a rate of success percentage to the goal.  To further define the goal, I would consider each of the performance questions as 1/3 of one point for each of the numbered objectives which further factored into my measurement by making the answer more accurate.  The challenge was in estimating before the learner started his work what percentage should be set established within his ability with my professional goal being to match his real ability by the assigned tasks and expected time of duration for the task.  When at all possible the individual being served was invited to participate in the making of goals, which would give us an accurate reading of his enthusiasm level.

(Over the past 50 years) What change do I feel made the biggest change in instruction?

I believe the biggest change in instruction might normally be thought of as technology, and I do feel teachers are using it somewhat, but I think the biggest change has to do with expectations placed on school and instructors in particular to see that learners “achieve at a relatively high level (Corcoran & Silander, 2009).  Corcoran and Silander state that because of standards-based reform, technology accountability, and economic change, schools are actually being required and held more responsible to improve effectiveness even though the resources have been lowered and learners’ numbers have been raised (2009).  It would seem that these changes in expectations have enabled learners to have their own ideas and questions so that more is being processed such as entire Arab countries uprising and which presents the downfall of old governments – mostly because people are self-educating themselves through social media or other to accept more knowledge and opportunity presented by a larger world.  They are more challenged to excel their own life and circumstances.  People in general want a higher level of existence.  They are adapting to change which instructional design must keep pace of.

(Over the past 50 years) What change do I feel made the biggest change in learning?

I will preface the thought of suggesting “online learning” in arguing my case as to what has made the biggest change in learning.  Although younger people seem to learn technology very quickly in comparison to adults, it would seem that adult learners are spending more quality time engaging in online learning which is a big change in learning.  They are changing for various reasons such as advancement, available time, social contact, and desire for personal knowledge, experience, and growth in their development.  Basically, content makes a qualitative difference when comparing older to younger learners.  Due to the ability of online campuses to offer forums and other technology, peers are able to interact long or short distance and be more engaged to develop skills, abilities, and to recognize their needs.  Gillen-Wiles (2012) states that through their study of online communities for Masters’ learners, “the concepts and ideas presented in the program coursework were the driving force in developing their understanding of student-centered, inquiry-based instructional strategies as well as developing and extending the participants’ TPACK (Technological pedagogical and content knowledge (2012).

What type of change do I feel still needs to be made in order to maximize learning within a learning environment?  Why?

I believe to maximize learning within a learning environment, we need to change some structures, particularly “teachers’ resistance to change” (Cuban as cited in Reiser & Dempsey, 2012, p. 18-20).  It seems that it is sometimes confusing for the teachers to understand changing roles in that there is now more emphasis on learning rather than teaching, and “learners may also be given opportunities to select their own objectives and/or learning methods.  This change in perspective from teaching to learning represents a paradigm shift of immense power when planning for effective educational environments” (p. 11).  It seems clear that teachers might have a hard time letting go of the reins where students lead, as well as being prohibited by equipment expense and time illusion to both learn technology and manage others in that same position.  Others claim that because teachers’ resistance to change might be because of a lack of input when administrators direct “top-down” (Chu & Schramm, 1975; Cuban, 1986; Gordon, 1970; Tyler, 1975b as cited in Reiser and Dempsey, 2012).

What are some of the reasons that educational technologies have had minimal effects on educational practices, and thus on student learning? 

One of the largest concerns with utilizing technology fully is that the times are changing so quickly, it is hard to keep up especially given only so much time, money and energy to both learn technology and then learn the content of what technology can show us “provided evidence of the accelerating pace of societal changed in the use of technology and other forms of communication within education settings.  Again, both teachers and learners are underutilizing technology because the teachers don’t consider it useful due to time constraints of being a facilitator to many working computer stations, having the appropriate number of working computers for their learners, and low levels of necessary support (as cited in Farber, 2010).


Corcoran, T. & Silander, M. (Spring 2009).  Instruction in high schools:  The evidence and the challenge.  Future of Children.  19(1).  p. 157-183.

Craig, D. V. (2012).  Theme 1:  Exploring instructional design [online course].  Retrieved from

Farber, S. (2010).  The effect of guided self-reflection on teachers’ technology use [ProQuest:  Dissertations and Theses].  Retrieved from

Gillow-Wiles, H. (2012).  Engagement in a community of learners as a mediating agent toward the construction of technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) in an online master’s program [ProQuest:  Dissertations and Theses].  Retrieved from

Postlethwaite, K. & Haggarty, L. (June, 1998).  Towards effective and transferable learning in secondary school: The development of an approach based on mastery learning.  British Educational Research Journal, Vol. 24(3).  P. 333-354.

Reiser, R. A. & Dempsey, J. V. (2012).  Trends and issues in instructional design and technology (3rd ed.).  Boston, MA:  Pearson Education, Inc.

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