Monthly Archives: April 2015

Designing instruction

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 & Development42(3), 7-10.

Fink, L. D. (2015). Designing instruction for significant learning. National Education Association. Retrieved from

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.

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


What does it mean to manage/regulate yourself (self-regulate) and others? How does it bring you towards goals? How important is communication in this process and what helps/impedes it?

According to Tools of the Mind, self-regulation “refers to the capacity to control one’s impulses, both to stop doing something, if needed (even if one wants to continue doing it) and to start doing something, if needed (even if one doesn’t want to do it)” (2015, para. 1). The Teaching Excellence in Adult Literacy site discusses how self-regulated learning consists of three parts: cognition, metacognition, and motivation. Cognition involves the skills and habits that are needed for amassing knowledge and critical thinking. Metacognition involves the skills that allow people to monitor their own thinking and cognition. Motivation involves the beliefs and attitudes that affect and assist in developing both cognition and metacognition (Shuy, 2012).

What does all of that mean? In a nutshell, it means that each individual is responsible for taking charge and controlling her own learning. I have trouble with self-regulation. I tend to be a procrastinator and due dates/deadlines are what I use to manage myself. For Project B, since we no longer have weekly due dates, I have struggled to stay on task and work each week. I started out well with the analysis and design document and I was very proud of myself for taking charge and pushing through; however, this week I traveled out of town for a conference and did not work on anything. While I was at conference it was easy to say to myself that I can work on this later when I return. I still have time. In essence, I lost my momentum.

Now that I am back home and reality is setting in, I am working hard to get back on task. I have to keep reminding myself not to keep putting off working on my project. The end of the semester is nearing and I am running out of time. On Project B, I am working alone so I only need to regulate myself not anyone else; however, perhaps if I had a partner it would help to keep me in check. I do have to say though that writing this blog post is a step in the right direction and I will get my Project B done and submitted on time.

Throughout the instructional design process, I have learned that communication is key. Not only do I need to communicate with my client each week but also I need to communicate with myself. Taking time to process my thoughts and either speak or write them is an essential part of the instructional design process. It is especially important that I do this before I speak with my client. How can I expect to communicate effectively with my client if I am unsure of what I really want to say?

I have learned a lot this semester regarding instructional design and myself. I now know that when it comes to projects, whether school or work related, I need to make a schedule with hard deadlines and stick with it. If I do not set up my own deadlines, I will fall back in my old pattern of procrastination. With that in mind, it is time for me to end this post and work on my project.


Shuy, T. (2012). Fact sheet: Self-regulated learning. Teaching Excellence in Adult Literacy. Retrieved from

Tools of the Mind. (2015). What is self-regulation? Retrieved from

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