Blogging the 2014 AECT International Convention.
Facilitator: Anne Mendenhall, University of Nevada Las Vegas
Presenters: M.David Merrill, Retired Utah State University; Vanessa Dennen, Florida State University; Joel Gardner, Franklin University; Charles Morgan Reigeluth, Indiana University; Wilhelmina Savenye, Arizona State University
David Merrill: Instructional design needs to move to undergraduate. If you have a Masters, you’ll be a manager and you’ll manage people who aren’t trained in instrucitonal design – you need to create templates and tools to support the people under you.
Vanessa Dennen: Everything new is old; and everything old can be new again; a new label is added to something – we panic; but actually we have foundational knowledge that still applies to the new tools. We have a challenge with accreditors looking for those classes on social media on your transcript, and of course they aren’t there; need to show how we apply foundational knowledge. I resonate with this; where my social media and videoconferencing expertise is not represented on my academic transcript, but instead via my digital footprint.
Charles Reigeluth: Transfer from teacher-center to learner-centered systems. The implications for instructional theory; implications for what graduates will do when they finish.
Joel Gardner: What are instructional designers actually going to be doing when they are working; what is the context in which they will be working; working with people, managing projects, using interdisciplinary knowledge; direct people to do instructional design; being a leader or manager – those with Masters or PhDs will be leaders or managers and may need skills in that area.
Wilhelmina Savenye: Where are these degrees within our colleges; are we ed tech? we aren’t just that? how do our institutions see what we do?; tension on proving our value; graduates are going into corporate, non-profit, government; there’s a lot of opportunity to prove our worth.
Online Boom = Boom for Instructional Design?
Audience question: Will the online boom transfer into a continued boom for instructional design and instructional technology? (Noticing – it seems some in the audience are using instructional technology and instructional design interchangeably)
Merrill: Putting things online is getting easier and easier and the quality of the instruction is getting worse and worse; MOOCs the ultimate level of “shovelware” – put stuff online; study of 175 MOOCs to see if any of them have the First Five Principles of Instruction; a lot of stuff out there without quality; our contribution is not just HTML but that we have something to add in terms of instruction. We definitely need to continue to sell ourselves. Instructional design is an underappreciated academic discipline, and so is education in general. The way to sell, is to work with a few, the ones who are willing, and use those as examples to show what instructional design can bring to the quality of online courses.
Gardner: In higher ed, a greater push to show accreditation that we have outcomes connected to what we are doing, instructional designers are especially able to do this.
Reigeluth: We need more tools created that help SMEs create high quality instruction – when we have those tools, we won’t need as many instructional designers; the tools can support the design in the future
Dennen: The issue of how many instructional design programs that we need; at the moment we probably need more instructional designers than we have; to put more students through our programs – what will they do? maybe we will have more faculty development jobs – doing workshops for faculty, for example; how do we evangelize for ourselves
Instructional Design or Learning Design?
Question: What about names – change from Instructional Design to Learning, Design, and Technology; or Learning Design and Technology; the word instruction or instructional is seen as pejorative. Should we be changing names?
Dennen: If names are changed, does anything else change?
Reiguluth: Learning is what happens inside your head; instruction happens outside your head. Instruction facilitates learning.
Thinking. How does this conversation connect with the strands of behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism in AECT thinking? Pegi Flynt’s dissertation.
Advice for Young Instructional Designers
Question: What ideas or rules do you have for young instructional designers?
Dennen: Know your learners, your context, your objectives. Don’t let the technology drive the instructional design process. Instead of following a shiny object; start with what I know about supporting the learning process. Media selection is an important part of instructional design models and it always has been. What is happening now is that tools come out so quickly and are so accessible to everyone so quickly.
Merrill: First Principles of Instruction – those principles are critical for whatever delivery mode you have – online, MOOC, face to face, blended, with ipads, etc. etc. Story: How to select the media. Put on a blindfold and go to your media closet and pick something. It’s not the media that matters. It’s the principles of instruction that matter.
Question: Connections with brain-based learning?
Reigeluth: It’s important to understand learning theory and instructional theory. Brain-based learning theory isn’t as practical of what specifically to do in the instruction. Learning and instructional theory can help bridge to when to use different methods of instruction.
Leadership and Management in Instructional Design Programs
Question: Let’s connect back to leadership and management. My instructional design taught me about courses and modules; but I didn’t learn about selecting an LMS for my institution, for making decisions on personnel and resources, how to meet the requirements for programmatic and institutional accreditation. The accrediting bodies are now focusing on measurable student outcomes for the programs. The accreditors are parroting what we’ve said on instructional design, but they don’t know it as well as we do. Studies of ID programs found only 11% had leadership or management training. Are our programs able to provide this, or are we stuck too much at the course and learning outcomes level? Are we capable within our structure with meeting the higher leadership needs? or do we have to teach others what we know?
Gardner: Our program is Instructional Design and Performance Systems – this helps students to see the big picture and the bigger system. We teach them how to see the process; but not how to lead people. What are the skills for leading in a knowledge society? Critical thinking skills, leading others, etc.
Reigeluth: Our graduates go into so many different lines of work: museums, corporate, many different types of jobs. This makes it a challenge to provide what they need to be successful in their work.
Audience Comment/Question: This is an instructional design problem we are looking at. We could use an instructional design approach to offer the right level of training – and to realize that a successful graduate will not be able to rely on just what they learned. It seems we should work on minors, even ID as a minor. Another possibility would be to consider how to work across the university to have various specialties – instead of competing with one other. It’s the beauty of our field that it is applicable to so many areas. Instructional design could be a stealth component of any kind of design out there. We need to train our people with an eye towards
what market they want to go into – and what do they need to work in that area?
Dennen: There is also a right moment for training; and some of our young students aren’t ready for leadership because they haven’t yet had very many years of experience. As junior instructional designers they may not be ready to take advantage of leadership training. It may be the job of employers or organizations to provide leadership training.
Merrill: Moving ID to undergraduate level will allow for more credits and more opportunity. If we did that, then we could add some of these other skills to the masters level. A class example of having students work in groups to create a proposal for a real client addressing a real instruction problem. Then he’d mix up the groups and choose the team leaders by, for example, having a woman or international student be the team leader with a couple of
chauvanistic men. Lots of leadership learning happened as they tried to sell their proposal to the client while working within a group. In this class they learned to meet deadlines and work with others.
Gardner: So far our comments are around we use instruction to help people learn. Embedded in this discussion is the idea that we need to help people learn. We need to help our students learn how to be independent learners. I’ve learned by continuing to read after my PhD. We have to help people become independent problem solvers.
Question: I vote against teaching instructional design at the undergraduate level because they aren’t interested in learning. At the undergraduate level, you have to have classes at 40-50 students. How can you teach higher order thinking skills with such large class sizes? You need to have a certain amount of life experience in order to learn how to be an instructional designer. … We are starting to run into people in the field who are using SAM or AGILE and moving away from ADDIE. How do we address that?
Gardner: At our institution, the dean said we are going to be agile now and we’re going to do SAM instead; but our IDs don’t like it. It does seem the same as ADDIE, but there are more iterations.
Merrill: He’ll be debating SAM in an upcoming TechTrends. After 50 years in the field, it is fun to see the same ideas keep coming around and around. It’s possible to teach undergraduates and international students First Principles of Instruction at the undergrad level. There are ways to use technology to deal with 40-50 students.
Merrill: Don’t just design a bit; design a shell so that you give designers assignments to fill in the shell. Create an interaction template in PowerPoint; and then you can plug in other content. Teach masters students how to design a shell. You don’t need expensive authoring tools.