CECS 5210


Prompt: Reflect on the outcome of Project B. What worked? What did not? Why? Did you use your peer for feedback? If so, discuss the feedback your peer provided; if not, explain why? Discuss your client’s feedback. What did you use? What did you reject? Why?

I made it through to the end! This was my first instructional design course and so my first true experiences with instructional design. For my Project B, my client needed me to create a new employee manual for the position of Reference & Instructional Services Librarian. As this position is new, no manual exists for it. To further add to the challenge, instead of using a paper-based manual, which is the same format as our old, existing manuals, he wanted me to create an electronic one.

I have to admit that this project was very challenging for me. Not only did I have to start from scratch but also I had to research possibilities for a secure electronic format. One of the options that we considered was LiveBinders but since the default for the free version is public, that would not work for us. In the end (and many thanks to my professor), we decided to create a Google Site. We chose this as you could make sites private as well as add and remove users from the site. Once this decision was approved, I moved onto the content. Once I actually started adding items, the creation process flowed well.

I used an existing template provided by Google Sites and just modified it to meet our needs. I used a left-hand menu to organize the overall content and added a table of contents box that appears on the right side of each page to further help with organization. I added some pictures to personalize the main page and used a ton of screenshots to help with explanations. I think the end result looks awesome! When I previewed it with my colleagues, they all loved it and thought it looked great. My hope is that my supervisor (who has been on vacation) will approve as well and we can transition the old manuals to this format.

A couple of snafus occurred during the creation process. One is that when I first set up the site, it took me awhile to figure out if Google Accounts could be created without a Gmail account. We wanted our staff to use their SMU emails to log into the site. After some intense searching, I found that yes it is possible. I was so relieved as I was afraid that the entire project would have to be scrapped. Next, I set about creating the instructions on how to do so using a non-Google email. Well, my original instructions were wrong. Instead of teaching them how to create a Google Account using their SMU email address, my instructions showed them how to create a Gmail account. That was a disaster. Luckily, this occurred during the beta test and not the implementation phase. As a further complication, I did not account for users who were already logged into their Gmail accounts when viewing documents within the site. This caused some issues with not being able to access the documents. After adjusting the instructions to account for all these technical issues, the issues were resolved successfully and repeats should not occur.

As the Google Site is private, my peer reviewers could not access it but they were able to review my design document, job aid, and implementation and evaluation report. My peer reviewers did not have many suggestions for me when it came to improving my documents but did like the flow and organization of them. It was gratifying after all the effort I had put into this project. One of my peer reviewers suggested that in my job aid, I explain who a person was so that the learner would understand why the name was being used in the document. I had not thought to do this, as I did not think the name mattered but from an outside perspective, I can see why it actually does.

My client also did not provide a lot of input into this project as well. I think this is because he is super busy with own job duties and has very little free time. He did review everything I gave him and one big change he had me make was that for the assessment he wanted a perfect score. I originally had made it so that the learner could achieve a four out of five possible points but he wanted it to be all or nothing. As he put it, this is a learning experience and they need to perform every task successfully.

I did ask two of my colleagues for their input on the job aid as well as the look and functionality of the Google Site and that really helped. They found some grammatical errors as well as the larger account creation mess. One of them suggested that I take the time to explain why the learner should log out of the personal Google Account before accessing the site. I had not thought of explaining why but doing so helped make the job aid more useful.

During the process, it was the little things, such as explaining names and providing justifications, that I tended to overlook. Having multiple eyes outside of my client and myself really helped to solidify the design and to make it shine. I am very proud of what I have accomplished during this semester with both of my projects. I look forward to getting more hands-on practice with instructional design.

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Instructional design & evaluation

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.

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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 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.

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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.”

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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 http://joshuafoer.com/moonwalking-with-einstein/

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Thoughts about instructional design

Prompt: What do you think about instructional design so far?

At this point in the semester, I have completed the Analysis, Design, and Development phases of the ADDIE framework for my project. So far, I am really enjoying my hands-on experience with instructional design. My client is awesome and extremely receptive. Not only is he patient with my mistakes and me because he understands that this is my first foray with instructional design but also he is willing to adapt. He considers my changes and ideas even if they are not what he first proposed. We listen and learn from each other. This really helps the instructional design process to progress smoothly and stay on track. I think that client/instructional designer relationship is the key to a good (or bad) design experience.

With this brief introduction into instructional design, I have learned so much! I have learned that analysis is without a doubt the most important step in instructional design. You must know your users and the tasks that they are expected to accomplish in order to move forward with the instructional design process (Leidner & Jarvenpaa, 1995). If a thorough understanding of users and the tasks is ignored or skipped over, the instructional design is pretty much guaranteed to fail. How is one expected to best meet a client’s needs without first learning about the client and the client’s constituents? The short answer is you cannot.

I have also learned that while media can and does influence learning (Kozma, 1994) the instructional designer  should first choose a learning theory that best matches the learning goals and objectives (Clark, 1994). In my opinion, it is backwards thinking to start with the educational technology first and design the lesson around that. Kozma’s (1994) examples clearly showed how the educational technology used furthered the learning. A great example from the reading were the videos and how they helped mitigate cognitive burden as users did not need to memorize everything and could refer back to the video when needed. In addition, they helped learners transfer knowledge. Students who watched the videos were able to apply those skills to similar learning situations (Kozma, 1994). It was also just as clear that those examples were based upon a sound learning theory. The instructors chose the learning theory first and then decided upon the technology to achieve the learning goals (Clark, 1994; Kozma, 1994).

I also am beginning to understand how instructional design functions. By this, I mean that I realize it is always an ongoing process. True instructional design never really ends. Yes, at some point, a product must be delivered to the client; however, the instructional designer still needs to monitor how the product functioned. Did it meet the client’s and the users’ needs? Did any trouble spots occur? What worked well and what did not? Then, the process begins anew. Changes are made and a new version is delivered.

I look forward to continuing my journey. I hope that the remainder of this project continues to be a joy and the second one follows the same path. I know that each project will bring its own challenges but I hope that my experiences stay positive. Learning is more productive when I am having fun.


Clark, R. E. (1994). Media and method. Educational Technology Research & Development42(3), 7-10.

Kozma, R. B. (1994). Will  media influence learning? Reframing the debate. Educational Technology Research & Development, 42(2), 7-19.

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.

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Don’t assume – Listen

A word of caution to my readers: I am fighting a sinus infection as I write this post so I apologize if my thoughts are jumbled.

Part 1: What have you learned from the analysis? What are you planning to do with it? Do a little brainstorming about what activities tied to your learning objectives that you might include in the design of your lesson.

The main thing I learned from my analysis is not to make assumptions. Do not make assumptions about what you think are you client’s needs are and what the users’ needs are. As an example, my client asked me to revise a training document that he uses with all of his student assistants. When he first approached me with this idea, I thought the reason he wanted the redesign was due to a deficit in training outcomes. I thought that some part of the student training was missing and wanted to revise the document due to that. After my client interview, I discovered that the reason he wants the redesign is that the training places an unneeded burden on staff concerning the amount of time the training takes to conduct. He is happy with the training outcomes but not how the training is conducted! That is very different than what I thought was the problem.

To resolve the issue, I plan to reorganize the document based upon type of question and where it occurs in relation to the library. With the content of the training, I plan to make very few revisions. Some of the questions are outdated and no longer necessary and there are a few items that need to be added but mostly it will be about the look and design of the document. If I had skipped the analysis phase of ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation), I would have wasted both my and my client’s time and effort. This example really brought home to me the importance of taking the time to interview and determine your client’s true needs before diving into the instructional design process (Romiszowski, 1981).

Since my client’s need centers around a redesign of the original document, the learning activities will test the effectiveness of the redesign and are aligned directly with the training questions on the document. I plan to do a beta test of the new training document with a small number of staff and student assistants to 1) find out if the training outcomes are still effective and 2) observe how long the new document takes to complete. I will be watching to see if the training is conducted more efficiently without losing training outcomes. If the training takes less time and the organization makes sense to student assistants and staff and results in effectively trained student assistants, I will consider the redesign a success. 

Part 2: How are analysis and design related for you? Think about it in the context the articles and chapters we have read thus far. How closely should these two pieces of the model connect? How does the Information R/Evolution video affect each of these?

To my mind, analysis and design intertwine. Design is the overall destination and analysis is the road map that helps you get there. I really like the quote that Romiszowski (1981) used to begin his article:

‘Training’ is akin to following a tightly fenced path, in order to reach a predetermined
goal at the end of it. ‘Education’ is to wander freely in the fields to left and right of this
path – preferably with a map. (p. 3)

While I think that the words education and training are reversible in that quote depending on the goals and objective at hand, the idea stands. If the instructional designer does not know where she is going, the design will fail. Analysis is necessary in order to create a design aligned with learning goals and objectives. It does not matter whether you start with the instructional process, the content (the inputs) and or the performance (the outputs), analysis will directly affect the design in all parts of the cycle (Romiszowski, 1981).

I think that since information comes in so many forms today users, clients and instructional designers can be inundated with it. We can read, watch, talk, chat, message, draw, and more. As Wesch (2007) says in his video, we do not just find information anymore; it finds us. On the one hand, there are many tools to choose from to help instructional designers perform the analysis. On the other hand, how do we decide which tool(s) to include in the design? We do not want to overwhelm users but we also want to strike the right balance, which intrigues yet challenges them. I do not know if it will ever be possible to solve this issue but the journey is half the fun in instructional design.



Romiszowski, A. J. (1981). Designing instructional systems. New York, NY: Nichols.

Wesch, M. (2007, October 12). Information R/Evolution. YouTube. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4CV05HyAbM


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My personal theory of learning

Prompt: How do you think learning takes place? What is the best way for someone to teach? Who makes the best teacher? Which learning theory that you read about would you say best fits your current world view? Why?

As I cannot locate a previous personal theory of learning from my CECS 5030 class, I am constructing one now for my CECS 5210 class. It will also use bits and pieces of my thoughts from my CECS 5110 class that I took in fall 2014. I took CECS 5030 when I first began the learning technologies program in spring of 2014. If I had constructed a personal theory of learning in that course, I like to think that my original thoughts would maintain the same overall foundation but that my ideas would have expanded as I have expanded my knowledge after being exposed to additional classes in this program.

I think that learning takes place anywhere and everywhere. I really like John Dewey’s quote, “education is not preparation for life; it is life itself” (Dewey as cited in Duffy & Cunningham, 1996, p. 4). To me, it, in a nutshell, explains how I think about learning. Learning occurs in both formal and informal situations and can be a combination of both (Hill, Wiley, Nelson, & Han, 2004). Learning also takes place among individuals, within groups, or some combination of the two.

As an example, I am taking structured classes in the learning technologies program, i.e., formal learning. Within my classes, I am responsible for reading the required texts and submitting the assignments, i.e., individual learning; however, each week part of my assignments consist of posted discussions. When I interact with my fellow students, I participate in group learning. Our group discussions are not only formal learning as we all have the same prompt to consider but also include informal learning as many of the discussion posts provide related links to external content or reference additional materials that I can use to further my learning outside of the “classroom” setting.

I do not believe there is a “best” way to teach. In fact, according to Leidner and Jarvenpaa (1995), “No particular model is the best approach;  indeed, different learning approaches will be appropriate depending on the circumstances – course content, student experience, maturity, intelligence, and instructor goals, skills, and preferences, among others” (p. 271). A great teacher is one that takes the time to learn about their learners. Someone who instead of assuming they already know everything there is to know about the subject(s) at hand is open to the possibility of learning from their students. Great teachers let students discover knowledge on their own, which also includes the possibility of mistakes being made. Many great discoveries have occurred due to mistakes (Leidner & Jarvenpaa, 1995), e.g., penicillin.

As a teacher, I want to encourage my learners to use educational technologies; however, it must always have a purpose. Technology needs to be directly aligned with the chosen learning goals and objectives. Those learning goals and objectives must have as their foundation a learning theory. “We too often act as if we believe that each new delivery technology requires a new theory of learning and performance. Thus we ‘reinvent the wheel’ constantly but inadequately” (Clark, 1994, p. 8). We should not pick the media first and make the learning theory fit our choice of media. We must first choose a sound learning theory based upon existing research (Clark, 1994) that exemplifies the preferred learning approach. Only then, can we decide upon the educational technologies to assist in the learning process. Learning should always be the focus and educational technology a tool that enhances and influences both the learner and the learning process (Kozma, 1991).

Although, I disagree with one “best” method, I do believe that learning should be an active process in which learners take responsibility for their own learning and use technology to create content that enhances the learning process (Duffy & Cunningham, 1996; Ertmer & Newby, 1993; Hill, Wiley, Nelson, & Han, 2004; Leidner & Jarvenpaa, 1995). I want to provide my learners with choices. Choices in what they learn; choices in how they learn; and choices in how they accomplish that learning, including which educational technologies they choose to assist them on their journey.

In that sense, constructivism is the learning theory that most aligns with my preferences as it is based upon a learner-centered approach that employs active learning situations where the instructor becomes more of a facilitator than the disseminator of knowledge (Leidner & Jarvenpaa, 1995). That being said, I think that each of the learning theories has a place in the classroom or whatever type of learning situation. Learning should not be restricted to one method alone as that indicates the instructor/facilitator is not taking into account the learner’s needs, preferences or styles, which is the antithesis of a learning theory.


Clark, R. E. (1994). Media and method. Educational Technology Research & Development42(3), 7-10.

Duffy, T., & Cunningham D. (1996). Constructivism: Implications for the design and delivery of
instruction. In D. H. Jonassen, (Ed.), Handbook of research for educational communications and technology (pp. 170-198). New York: Simon and Schuster.

Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50-71. doi:10.1111/j.19378327.1993.tb00605.x

Hill, J. R., Wiley, D., Nelson, L. M., & Han, S. (2004). Exploring research on internet-based learning: From infrastructure to interactions. In. D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (2nd ed.) (pp. 949-978). Mahwah, N. J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Kozma, R. B. (1991). Learning with media. Review of Educational Research, 61, 179-211.

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.

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It’s Time to Walk the Talk

Prompt: Go out into the world (e.g. grocery store, mall, etc.) and locate two examples of instructional design in which you, the viewer/reader, are expected to learn something. What were the goals of the instruction? How effective was it? What are three things you learned that you are not likely to forget? Based on what you have read about instructional design, how important is it to your future work goals?

Before this assignment, I did not realize how prevalent instructional design (ID) is in the “real world.” I am used to and expect to see it in academia but had not stopped to consider that ID exists everywhere. It is in road signs that tell us what we should or should not do; in the simple instructions that show us how to use a diaper changing station in bathrooms; and in instructions that teach us how to put together equipment or how to use equipment safely. I have seen all these things before but it did not register in my mind that those are all examples of ID. They all have learning objectives that they wish the user to undertake, the steps to achieve them, and the practical applications of them (Merrill, 2008). The two examples that I encountered over the weekend are instructions on putting together a bookcase and instructions on how to use an exercise machine.

On Saturday, my husband and I went to our chiropractor. In the rehabilitation area of his office, he has a machine called a Power Plate. You stand on it in specific positions and it vibrates at different speeds. The vibrations are supposed to help align your body. On the wall, next to this machine is a large poster with the various positions and the titles of each. I had seen this poster before but only on Saturday did it occur to me that it was a great example of ID. The poster itself is very simple. It uses a dark background with each image set in a white, rounded square for the background. Within the squares, it shows a person in the correct position and the name of that position. The images are six across and five down and are organized by type of exercise, such as strength, stretching, massage, or relaxation and these designations appear on the far right of the first line of each category.

Power Plate poster

Power Plate poster

The goal of this poster is clear, which is to demonstrate the correct body positions so that users can safely and effectively use the Power Plate. I found this poster to be effective as the graphical representations are organized, easy to follow, and stand out on the white background. A user could easily try to imitate the positions based upon the pictures shown. I do think that having an experienced instructor present when first using this machine is wise as the images alone are not enough to ensure complete safety (Dolan, 2012).  At least in my personal experience, I did much better when my doctor was there to help guide me into the positions.

Three things that I will remember from this poster are:

  • Graphics can be an excellent method when it comes to quickly and easily conveying hard to discuss concepts, such as body positions.
  • Even with excellent graphics, many times it is necessary to have an expert present for guidance and structure.
  • A clear organizational structure must be present so that viewers can quickly scan content and still be able to take away general concepts and ideas.

My husband and I took a trip to IKEA to purchase some bookcases for our office/study. Before attempting any assembly, we both read the directions. With this assignment in my mind, I looked at the directions critically from an ID perspective. I found that IKEA directions are excellent forms of ID. The instructions, which consist mostly of graphics, are so completely and thoroughly depicted that words are not necessary to understand them. Even though the directions booklets come with multiple languages, the pictures are you really need to assemble the furniture. The technical writers at IKEA have truly mastered how effective instruction using images only (Yee, 2011).

The instructions begin with Do’s and Don’ts that somehow manage to be clever, cute and effective all at the same time.

IKEA bookcase instructions

IKEA bookcase instructions

Then, they progress to the meat of the instructions and clearly take you step-by-step through the assembly process. The entire instruction set, minus the additional languages, is about seven pages and most of that length is due to the size of the images. At no point are the instructions confusing, garbled or hard to decipher. It was a snap for us to put the bookcases together and in fact, we managed three in a matter of a few hours!

The goals of the instructions are to teach someone how to assemble safely assemble a bookcase and how to anchor it to a wall. As mentioned above, I found the IKEA instructions to be a true example of efficient and effective ID. Considering that the original instructions are in Swedish, I imagine I could have followed them without an English translation, if pressed, just by using the pictures. If only other instructions were so easy to understand and follow, by this, I am thinking of putting together my entertainment system.

Three things I will remember from this experience:

  • Words are not always necessary when it comes to explaining how to do something.
  • Less can be more when it comes to effective instruction.
  • Language does not have to be a barrier if clear images can be used along with text.

Based on what I have read so far, instructional design is an integral part of my current and future work goals. Instructing students, staff and faculty is a large part of my job as a librarian. If I want students to not only comprehend but also remember what I am teaching them, I need to be able to employ effective instructional design. As Merrill (2008) states in his video, demonstration, application, and authentic situations are necessary when it comes to instructional design. It is simply not enough to share what I know. I also need to allow students a chance to use that information in a context that resonates with them. ID requires more than talk it also needs action. I need to give my learners chances to “walk the talk.”


Dolan, S. (2012, January 20). Benefits of group exercise. American College of Sports Medicine. Retrieved from http://www.acsm.org/access-public-information/articles/2012/01/20/benefits-of-group-exercise

Merrill, D. M. (2008, August 11). Merrill on instructional design [Video file]. YouTube. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_TKaO2-jXA

Yee, P. (2011). Minimalist theory. In B. Hoffman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. San Diego, CA: SDSU Department of Educational Technology. Retrieved from http://eet.sdsu.edu/eetwiki/index.php/Minimalist_theory

Categories: CECS 5210 | Tags: | Leave a comment

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