Prompt: What does it mean to design instruction? What skills do you think you need to have in order to do it professionally?
According to Fink, when designing instruction an instructor should do the following:
1. Identify important situational factors and then use this information to make three sets of decisions;
- What do I want students to learn? (Learning Goals)
- How will students and the teacher know if we are accomplishing these goals? (Feedback and Assessment)
- What will the teacher and students do to achieve the learning goals? (Teaching/Learning Activities)
2. Make sure that the key components are integrated. (2015, “A Model,” para. 1)
According to Piskurich (2006), designing instruction involves “a system . . . that helps you ask the right questions, make the right decisions, and produce a product that is as useful and useable as your situation requires and allows” (p. 1). My takeaway from those two quotes is that designing instruction should always include analysis. In fact, before any type of instruction (and by this I mean a deliverable tool) is designed/developed, analysis should be the very first step that is taken.
What exactly do I mean when I say analysis? Well, I am talking about all types of analysis – learner, task, delivery, and assessment (Piskurich, 2006). The instructor needs to determine who the learners are, what their learning needs are, how they like to learn, in what type of situation/environment will the learning happen, what form will the lesson/training take, and how will the learning, or lack thereof, be determined. The answers to those types of questions and more will determine the instruction. If the instructional designer does not know her audience, her client, or the actual learning needs, the instruction is doomed to fail before anything is actually designed/developed (Piskurich, 2006).
In order to design instruction effectively, I think that a sound understanding of learning theories (Clark, 1994; Leidner & Jarvenpaa,1995) as well as knowledge of the ADDIE framework are necessary (Piskurich, 2006). I also think that knowledge of existing technologies as well as a willingness to investigate new technologies is helpful. I am not saying that technology should be used just to say it was; however, if a thorough investigation and analysis of learner needs shows that using technology would benefit the situation, then the ID should be familiar with the tools.
From a personal perspective, I think that patience is definitely a necessary skill. Designing instruction requires patience to deal with the various difficulties that arise during all phases of the design process. It also requires patience to manage and work with other people. Finally, time management is a needed skill. Although designing instruction is not done in isolation, there are times that the ID is the sole person in charge of the project. When that happens, it requires the ability not only to manage your time but also to manage yourself.
I hope that as I continue learning about instructional design that both my knowledge and my skills will keep expanding. I want to learn as much as I can and look forward to being able to continue my journey. If there is one thing that I have learned up to this point in my life, it is that learning never ends.
Clark, R. E. (1994). Media and method. Educational Technology Research & Development, 42(3), 7-10.
Fink, L. D. (2015). Designing instruction for significant learning. National Education Association. Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/home/34960.htm
Leidner, D. E., & Jarvenpaa, S. L. (1995). The use of information technology to enhance management school education: A theoretical view. MIS Quarterly, 19, 265-291.
Piskurich, G. M. (2006). Rapid instructional design: Learning ID fast and right (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.