Monthly Archives: March 2015

One ADDIE step at a time

Prompt: Reflect on your experiences creating Project A from start to finish. What worked and what did not? What do you think was the strongest aspect of the design process? The weakest? How do you think the experience will affect you on Project B?

I made it through my first instructional design (ID) project! I must admit that I started this project with much trepidation, worry, and doubts. I had to keep reminding myself to take it one ADDIE step at a time, to breathe (thank you, Professor Dolliver, for the built-in reminders) and to focus on the task at hand, not the entire process. Adjusting my thinking has worked well. Not only has it helped me in this class but also in my other one. I think I will continue this mantra for future classes and for my job.

Overall, I enjoyed my first ID experience. I think what made it most successful was that my client was/is really easy to get along with and has excellent suggestions and ideas. He is passionate about what he does and this translates to any type of project he commits himself to undertaking. I did not encounter any big hurdles. The bumps and bruises that did occur were easily changed or resolved, e.g., formatting issues and changing the order of the document to match how it was actually used. Mostly, it was a matter of finding the time to really sit down with my client and ask the right questions so I could design the project to best meet his expectations and needs. In addition, my review partner was also awesome (thanks, Crystal!). She had some very helpful suggestions for formatting my documents that I had overlooked, such as making it clearer that the empty boxes were meant for checkmarks. It really made the entire document more complete and usable.

In my opinion, the strongest part of the design process was the analysis. I think that since I devoted so much time and effort into questioning my client to determine his needs first it made the other steps flow more smoothly. Since I performed more analysis during the implementation and evaluation phases, i.e., after my beta testers actually used the document, it made it easier to refine it based on fact and not just my opinion. I saw first-hand what worked, what did not, and received input from actual users.

On the other hand, the weakest part of the design process was the implementation and evaluation phase. I know this made sound contradictive to what I just said but stay with me. The implementation and evaluation phase fell during our Spring Break. I had limited student assistants and staff that I could use to beta test the documents. My original thought was to use day staff and evening staff but since it fell during Spring Break, we did not have any evening staff. I had to compromise and use day staff. It still worked out as the people I used had great suggestions but I wanted more.

For Project B, I now have a better idea of what I am doing. By no means am I an expert at ID but at least I have a road map and a template of sorts that I can follow. It also helps that I will be using the same client from before so we already have the rapport established. I imagine I will still have bouts with trepidation and worry but I will continue to tell myself to breathe and in the words of Dory, “Just keep swimming.”

Categories: CECS 5210 | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Method of loci

Part 1: Reflect on the Method of Loci in your blog. What worked? What didn’t? How could you use such a cognitive activity, mental or visible to users, to improve the acquisition of knowledge in your designs? Write a blog entry on this.

This exercise reminded me of a book I read last summer, Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer. In the book the author, after interviewing U.S. memory championship contestants, decides to try to improve his own memory and ultimately ends up competing. To train his memory, he used the method of loci to help him remember chunks and chunks of information. He ended up winning the U.S. championship the year he competed.

Unfortunately, I was not so successful with my venture. Not only did I have trouble coming up with bizarre and outrageous visualizations that accurately represented the topics but also I encountered difficulties recalling the information with the visualization that I used. I could remember bits and pieces but not the entire thing. Sometimes I could only remember the image but not what it represented, such as cookie monster with a teacup wearing a bling necklace dribbling a basketball. Obviously, my visualization was effective but I did not encode the translation well enough. When it comes to remembering Wilson’s (1998) view of Situated Instructional Design, I wonder if rote memorization would not work better.

I do see the benefit of this activity though. When it comes to memorizing concepts, this could be a useful exercise to try out with students. I could see using the method of loci when it comes to learning body parts, state capitals, and vocabulary words. I also think students would enjoy creating elaborate visualizations. Method of loci is definitely more fun than rote drill-and-practice exercises and it is an innovative method to involve students in learning material. Who knows once introduced to this concept perhaps they will employ it in other classes or instances?

Part 2: Reflect on the implementation and evaluation: What changes will you make before implementation? Why? What did you ignore in the client’s feedback? Why? What did you ignore in your peer’s feedback? Why?

Before implementing the revised Buddy-Up checklist, I made multiple changes to the job aid but I did not really change much on the actual Buddy-Up checklist. I hope to see how the current version functions in a real-life scenario, as opposed to in my head, and then assess what worked, what did not, and progress from there. I am looking forward to seeing the revised checklist in action and hope that it makes the training more efficient which should decrease the amount of time it takes to conduct. In addition, I really want the student assistants and library staff that participate to enjoy the way it looks as the overall look to document is very different.

Regarding my client’s feedback, I think that I used all of his suggestions and ideas. He had some really good thoughts and feedback that made sense, such as organizing the individual Buddy-Up checklist questions inside of their grouping based on type of question. If we did not completely see eye-to-eye on certain things, we discussed it and came to a middle ground. One example would be the addition of the question pertaining to using the projector in our multimedia studio. I wanted the question added to the document. When I broached the topic with him and explained my rationale (that our student assistants do not know how to do this and always ask a staff member), he agreed that it is a skill that the student assistants should be able to handle on their own.

Regarding my peer’s feedback, she really helped me refine my job aid. She encouraged me to create a table of contents to help organize my document and assist users in finding sections. She looked at it with an expertise and view that I do not have. My first version compared to the final version is a world of difference! The only suggestion that I ignored in her feedback was to modify an email excerpt. She wanted to place some information in a table. Since it was taken directly from an email that our library manager sends out to staff, I felt it was better to leave the format as is so that it mimics what staff can expect to see in future versions.

This whole experience has definitely opened my eyes to all the work that goes into instructional design. It is a lot of planning and analysis with some design and development added in followed by more analysis and revision. Due to all of the great feedback I received, I truly believe that the job aid and the revised Buddy-Up checklist are both useable and helpful for library staff.


Foer, J. (n. d.) Moonwalking with Einstein. Joshua Foer [Website]. Retrieved from

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