More on ISDT

Thoughts and ideas here are in response to the feature article by Steven Baratz (“What IS Instructional Design?”) in the October issue of our IDeaL newsletter, by Vince L. (vlasnik@hotmail.com.)

Instructional Design:

An applied, cross-disciplinary professional (post-graduate) design discipline that integrates human learning theory and instructional practice to develop, produce, implement, and evaluate effective educational experiences and learning environments to improve human performance outcomes, knowledge construction, and the acquisition of robust transfer competencies.

User-Centered Design

User-centered (a cognitive/perceptual term) and usage-centered (a behavioral/functional term) are post-modern design descriptors often arbitrarily or ambiguously defined and interchangeably used and mis-used. In the context of 21st century instructional product design theory and practice, user-centered design focuses on constructing a user experience and environment with physical and virtual affordances that are manipulable, controllable, customizable, and adaptable from the essential perspective of theconceptual model of the learner. This means both (a) the learner’s metamodel of their own learning processes and the learning activities and environment, and (b) the designer’s model of the learner and the corresponding educational activity and experience, with the former driving and superceding the latter in the design solution. Thus the conceptual model of the learner becomes the superordinate principle guiding the design process and learning outcomes (i.e., the highest level of the prescriptive taxonomy). Usage-centered design focuses primarily on the functional goal-based behavior of learners and structuring activities, procedures, processes, and corresponding affordances to optimize the effectiveness of the learner to efficiently accomplish those intrinsic goals. In both of these approaches, however, the conventionally-deterministic structure of the content and the underlying information architecture of the knowledge domain are secondary considerations while the learner’s conceptual model and intrinsic goal-driven behavior provide the guiding blueprint for the instructional design solution.

Granularity

Granularity is a hierarchical concept associated with the relative degree of complexity of a component part to its aggregate, subsuming structure. Fine silt is more granular than sand which is more granular than rock, etc. In taxonomic development, the smaller the relative size to the taxons (units) of classification, the higher the degree of granularity. In instructional design, the concept of granularity is multifaceted and can refer to the size of learning units or scope (e.g., degree or certificate curricula, courses, lessons, modules, activities); learning element prioritization or sequencing (e.g., logical order of lessons, concept formation and skill acquisition to optimize scaffolding in new knowledge construction); content domains architecture (e.g., superordinate concepts, subordinate concepts, rules, principles); teaching strategy (e.g., individual v. group learning, passive learner/expository v. active leaner/discovery, inductive v. deductive, tutorial v. simulation, abstract v. problem-oriented, synchronous online chat v. asynchronous threaded discussions, etc.); media design and utilization (e.g., relative size and complexity of single components or combined components, type of media element including text, graphics/visuals, audio, animation, degree of user control, etc.); and learner assessment (e.g., conventional declarative-convergent testing using multiple-choice, matching, and short-answer questions v. holistic, constructivist-divergent portfolios with demonstration work-product artifacts from individual and group projects, internships, and service learning).

This gives you only a very high-level taste about some of the issues related to ID, UCD, and that ever-thorny granularity thingy.

So, the statement by Steven that “There are no specific requirements for becoming an Instructional Designer. There are no credentials for which to apply or tests to pass. You can become an instructional designer by your own self declaration!” is not really valid when you want to establish yourself as a graduate-trained/degreed, rigorously-prepared professional instructional systems designer. The M.A. or M.S. in Instructional Technology or Instructional Design is the commonly-accepted baseline credential in the field, with certificates on the low-end and Ph.D.\’s on the high-end offered through some of the better programs (Utah State, Carnegie-Mellon, Florida State, and Georgia to name only a few off the top of my head). These programs are clinical, hands-on, internship and project-oriented, giving you all of the heavy-duty theory but also pragmatic skills. As for your new business cards deal, sure you can call yourself anything you like. With a Ph.D. legally you can always call me “Doctor” only just don\’t ask me to operate on your brain if you know what I mean. Steven does note there are some Master\’s programs available (quite a lot actually, but there is no seriously-respected B.A. or B.S. in the field: this is a minimally-graduate level profession). I studied and worked five years to earn the doctorate in Instructional Design & Technology from The Ohio State University, and now have 17 years of real experience beyond that under my belt, and yet I am humble when saying I\’m an instructional designer or instructional technologist, because the learning is lifelong and continuous: . even after all that time I just went “back to school” (on scholarship and a research assistantship thank goodness — Ha!) believe it or not to complete my long-awaited post-doc capstone.”

So, the statement by Steven that “There are no specific requirements for becoming an Instructional Designer. There are no credentials for which to apply or tests to pass. You can become an instructional designer by your own self declaration!” is not really valid when you want to establish yourself as a graduate-trained/degreed, rigorously-prepared professional instructional systems designer. The M.A. or M.S. in Instructional Technology or Instructional Design is the commonly-accepted baseline credential in the field, with certificates on the low-end and Ph.D.’s on the high-end offered through some of the better programs (Utah State, Carnegie-Mellon, Florida State, and Georgia to name only a few off the top of my head). These programs are clinical, hands-on, internship and project-oriented, giving you all of the heavy-duty theory but also pragmatic skills. As for your new business cards deal, sure you can call yourself anything you like. With a Ph.D. legally you can always call me “Doctor” only just don’t ask me to operate on your brain if you know what I mean. Steven does note there are some Master’s programs available (quite a lot actually, but there is no seriously-respected B.A. or B.S. in the field: this is a minimally-graduate level profession). I studied and worked five years to earn the doctorate in Instructional Design & Technology from The Ohio State University, and now have 17 years of real experience beyond that under my belt, and yet I am humble when saying I’m an instructional designer or instructional technologist, because the learning is lifelong and continuous: . even after all that time I just went “back to school” (on scholarship and a research assistantship thank goodness…Ha!) believe it or not to complete my long-awaited post-doc capstone Just accept that there\’s a tad more than a simple moniker on a card or a resume to make you the real deal, that is, if you want serious credibility in the marketplace. Like knowing a little about instructional design theory and practice (enough to make you dangerous!). I\’ve compiled a small sub-selection from my own basic bibliography of articles, books (some online) you might want to peruse as general background before self-declaring too much:

Bransford, J.D., Brown, A.L., & Cocking, R.R. (Eds.). (2000). How people learn. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press; Anderson, L.W., Krathwohl, D.R., Airasian, P.W., Cruikshank, K.A., Mayer, R.E., Pintrich, P.R., Raths, J., & Wittrock, M.C. (2000). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom\’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman; Anderson, T. & F. Elloumi, R., (Eds.). (2004). Theory and practice of online learning. Athabasca, AB, CANADA: Athabasca University (Creative Commons). Retrieve from http://cde.athabascau.ca/online_book; Dale, E. (1972). Building a learning environment. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Foundation; Gagne, R.M. (1977). The conditions of learning. (3rd ed.). New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston; Gagne, R.M., Briggs, L.J., & Wager, W.W. (1992). Principles of instructional design. (4th ed.).”,1] ); //–> M.S. in Human Factors in Information Design at Bentley College in Waltham, MA…D’OH! Just accept that there’s a tad more than a simple moniker on a card or a resume to make you the real deal, that is, if you want serious credibility in the marketplace. Like knowing a little about instructional design theory and practice (enough to make you dangerous!). I’ve compiled a small sub-selection from my own basic bibliography of articles, books (some online) you might want to peruse as general background before self-declaring too much:

Bransford, J.D., Brown, A.L., & Cocking, R.R. (Eds.). (2000). How people learn. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press; Anderson, L.W., Krathwohl, D.R., Airasian, P.W., Cruikshank, K.A., Mayer, R.E., Pintrich, P.R., Raths, J., & Wittrock, M.C. (2000). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman; Anderson, T. & F. Elloumi, R., (Eds.). (2004). Theory and practice of online learning. Athabasca, AB, CANADA: Athabasca University (Creative Commons). Retrieve from http://cde.athabascau.ca/online_book; Dale, E. (1972). Building a learning environment. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Foundation; Gagne, R.M. (1977). The conditions of learning. (3rd ed.). New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston; Gagne, R.M., Briggs, L.J., & Wager, W.W. (1992). Principles of instructional design. (4th ed.). New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; Keller, J.M. (1983). Motivational design of instruction. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional design theories and models: Volume I: An overview of their current status. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; Marzano, R.J. (2000). Designing a new taxonomy of educational objectives. Thousand Oaks, CA Corwin Press; Mayer, R.E. (1989). Models for understanding. Review of Educational Research, 59(1) 43-64; Merrill, M.D. (2002a). First principles of instruction. Educational Technology Research & Development, 50(3), 43-59; Merrill, M.D. (2002b). Knowledge objects and mental models. In David A. Wiley (Ed.), The instructional use of learning objects (pp. 261-280). Bloomington, IN: Agency for Instructional Technology & Association for Educational Communications & Technology; Merrill, M.D., & Tennyson, R.D. (1977). Teaching concepts: An instructional design guide. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications; Nickerson, R.S., Perkins, D.N., & Smith, E.E. (1985). The teaching of thinking. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; Perkins, D.N.. (1992). Smart schools: Better thinking and learning for every child. New York: The Free Press; Perkins, D.N.. (1986). Knowledge as design. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; Perkins, D.N., & Unger, C. (1999). Teaching and learning for understanding. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional-design theories and models (Volume II): A new paradigm of instructional theory (pp. 91-114). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; Prensky, M. (2000). Digital game-based learning. New York: McGraw-Hill; Reigeluth, C.M., (Ed.). (1999a). Instructional-design theories and models (Volume II): A new paradigm of instructional theory. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; Reigeluth, C.M. (1999b). What is instructional-design theory and how is it changing? In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional-design theories and models (Volume II): A new paradigm of instructional theory (pp. 5-30). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; Richey, R. (1986). The theoretical and conceptual bases of instructional design. New York: Nichols; Rowland, G. (2004). Shall we dance: A design epistemology for organizational learning and performance. Educational Technology Research and Development, 52(1), 33-48; Schank, R.C., Berman, T.R., & Macpherson, K.A. (1999). Learning by doing. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional-design theories and models (Volume II): A new paradigm of instructional theory (pp. 161-181). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; Shedroff, N. (1999). Information interaction design: A unified field theory of design. In R. Jacobson (Ed.), Information design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; Shuell, T.J. (1986). Cognitive conceptions of learning. Review of Educational Research, 36(4): 411-436; Visscher-Voerman, I, & Gustafson, K.L. (2004). Paradigms in the theory and practice of education and training design. Educational Technology Research and Development, 52(2), 69-89; Wiley, D.A. (2002). Connecting learning objects to instructional design theory: A definition, a metaphor, and a taxonomy. In D. A. Wiley (Ed.), The instructional use of learning objects (pp. 3-23). Bloomington, IN: Agency for Instructional Technology & Association for Educational Communications & Technology.

\n

\nAs for the basic ADDIE model, perhaps a half-century old, which is OK as a nice starting place for beginners in the field, but you\’d better have more than that in your “bag of tricks” or up your sleeve…reading, understanding, and reflecting on the literature above will provide you with a more mature and enriched repertoire of strategies, techniques, and approaches to use. The practical problem with ADDIE and similar quasi-linear design architectures is that real instructional systems design is an iterative and concurrent process with training/learning and human performance requirements. Sure up-front planning has much to offer (although some in the field now argue we should make design/build and build/test/(re)design our more forward-positioned “pre-emptive production” model. The “egg” did come first by the way!

If anyone would like me to rank order and/or provide a simple annotated version of this biblio above so you might start with the high-value sources first, I\’d be happy to help! I can add some of the other great sources on human factors engineering, user-experience design, usability testing, etc. if that would be useful. Or not…

No, the absence or unavailability of a graduate degree in ID or instructional technology shouldn\’t limit you or scare you off if this exciting, dynamic, creative, changing and protean field “turns your crank” as Jack Welch likes to say.”,1] ); //–> Bloomington, IN: Agency for Instructional Technology & Association for Educational Communications & Technology.

As for the basic ADDIE model, perhaps a half-century old, which is OK as a nice starting place for beginners in the field, but you’d better have more than that in your “bag of tricks” or up your sleeve…reading, understanding, and reflecting on the literature above will provide you with a more mature and enriched repertoire of strategies, techniques, and approaches to use. The practical problem with ADDIE and similar quasi-linear design architectures is that real instructional systems design is an iterative and concurrent process with training/learning and human performance requirements. Sure up-front planning has much to offer (although some in the field now argue we should make design/build and build/test/(re)design our more forward-positioned “pre-emptive production” model.

The “egg” did come first by the way!

If anyone would like me to rank order and/or provide a simple annotated version of this biblio above so you might start with the high-value sources first, I’d be happy to help! I can add some of the other great sources on human factors engineering, user-experience design, usability testing, etc. if that would be useful. Or not…

No, the absence or unavailability of a graduate degree in ID or instructional technology shouldn’t limit you or scare you off if this exciting, dynamic, creative, changing and protean field “turns your crank” as Jack Welch likes to say. Just know (and you will after you immerse yourself into some of the ID literature)…yes indeed “Go For It!”, only keep in mind that just like “doctors, lawyers, psychologists, and teachers” that your formal and informal education and training (and learning on the job too) is a lifelong project, the professional literature of theory and best practices is ever-growing and changing, and that is the “iterative”, “non-linear” and “concurrent” nature of both the process and the product of all learning, isn\’t it?

\n

\nI\’ll stop for now and not burden your email box any more at this time, but thought it might be nice to re-route the discussion. I am very interested in hearing from you, my fellow IDL Sigsters…get the juices flowing and the dialogue threading…

Cheers!

Vince L.

Just know (and you will after you immerse yourself into some of the ID literature)…yes indeed “Go For It!”, only keep in mind that just like “doctors, lawyers, psychologists, and teachers” that your formal and informal education and training (and learning on the job too) is a lifelong project, the professional literature of theory and best practices is ever-growing and changing, and that is the “iterative”, “non-linear” and “concurrent” nature of both the process and the product of all learning, isn’t it?

I’ll stop for now and not burden your email box any more at this time, but thought it might be nice to re-route the discussion. I am very interested in hearing from you, my fellow IDL Sigsters…get the juices flowing and the dialogue threading….

Cheers!

————————————————————————————————-

Thoughts and ideas here are in response to the feature article by Steven Baratz (“What IS Instructional Design?”) in the October issue of our IDeaL newsletter, by

Vince L. vlasnik@hotmail.com

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