Prompt 1: Think about instructional design in general. What have you learned this semester about instructional design and development? What about process? What else?
I think that the biggest takeaway that I have learned about instructional design and development is that it takes a lot of work. At the beginning of his book, Piskurich (2006, p. 1) states, “There is an old saying that if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Well, thanks to Projects A & B in this course, I have learned that when it comes to instructional design and development it is much, much better to have a destination in mind. Even when employing some of the shortcuts that Piskurich (2006) helpfully supplies as templates in our textbook, it still takes planning and forethought before undertaking any development. By the way, I found this textbook so helpful I plan to buy the updated version so I can continue to reference it over the years. That says a lot about how helpful the book really is.
Regarding the process, I discovered that instructional design requires not only the willingness to plan but also the dedication to see your plan through to the end, and along the way, the ability to accept constructive criticism. During the process of designing and developing both my projects, I had to keep reminding myself that the product is not static and it is not personal. As I put a lot of work into all of the ADDIE phases – analysis, design, development, implementation & evaluation – I grew attached to my products. When something did not work right, or either the client or the learner wanted something changed, it was difficult for me not to take it personally. My first thought/instinct was “No, I like it the way it is.” However, I quickly came to the realization that my thinking was ineffective for an instructional designer. That is something that I will need to continue working on, as I know that nothing is perfect, change is inevitable, and outside feedback makes for a better result.
Surprisingly, although I imagine I should take this an indication that this is the right degree/program for me, I really enjoyed doing all the work. I will admit that I found it extremely daunting and overwhelming at the beginning of each project, but once I started asking the right questions to determine my client’s true needs, it made the development process much smoother. With Project B, the development process was much more forbidding as I started with nothing. At the end now, looking back on it, I am very proud of what I accomplished. Yes, I do realize that it is not set in stone and will change.
Prompt 2: Also, what did you learn from the Evaluation of the product? What would you do differently next time? How much did you learn from the process and evaluation that will make you a better future instructional designer?
From the evaluation phase, I learned that it is easy to skip over steps that seem intuitive to the designer. When it comes to designing job aids, it is safer to err on the side of too much information than not enough. With Project B, I assumed that my learner either would use a browser other than Chrome to view the manual or would not sign into their personal account. I was wrong. When she tried to create a new account and to view documents in the online manual using Chrome, which she was already signed into, it caused major issues. Google kept defaulting to her personal Gmail account. Because there were no employee manual documents saved on her personal Google Drive, it kept giving her an error message saying nothing was available to view. I am sure this caused her unneeded frustration. To stop this from reoccurring, I added instructions about using a different browser or not signing into a personal account. From this experience, I learned why it is important not to assume as well as why I should spell out the details.
For future designs, I would like to always schedule smaller beta tests and then the larger full-scale implementations. With Project A, it fell during our spring break, so I only had limited staff available to implement. I think I would have received additional, helpful feedback using a larger audience. With Project B, while I only used one person for the full-scale implementation, I did use additional staff, three people, for a smaller beta test. The beta testers discovered a big bug. The instructions I had originally written for the Google account creation process were wrong. Had I not tested them before full-scale implementation, the design would have failed!
Overall, I learned that setbacks are inevitable but nothing is as surmountable as it may seem at the time. In most cases, all it takes is some additional thought and effort along with some time away from the project. When you come back and look at it with fresh eyes and a clear head, often times the answers are waiting for you.
Piskurich, G. M. (2006). Rapid instructional design: Learning ID fast and right (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.