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Other Instructional Design Models February 15, 2015

Filed under: 5510 — S. Michele Holmes @ 5:31 am
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This week my Technology-Based Learning Environments course mates and I are now in the process of finishing our instructional design documents based upon the feedback we received from our professor and our peer reviewer. We have been asked to study an instructional design model we are not familiar with and report on what we find. I researched a model known as the Morrison, Ross, and Kemp Design Model (or MRK). What originally attracted me to this model was mention of how useful it is to classroom teachers because it involves them in the process (Gustafson and Branch, 2001). In our courses, my course mates and I typically utilize the ADDIE model: analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate. While movement occurs both backwards and forwards through the ADDIE steps, the process occurs in order and eventually ends. The MRK model expands the ADDIE model into nine interrelated steps and forms them into a more circular process which does not have to be completed in a specific order (Akbulut, 2007).

As a teacher, I constantly reassess what I teach including how and with what materials. I also must adjust to the needs of my students each year and with each class or section. The MRK model is different from other instructional design models yet supports what I do because “it considers instruction from the perspective of the learners” and “puts a greater emphasis on how to manage an instructional design process” (Akbulut, 2007, p. 64). Speaking of the learners, the ADDIE model analyzes the learners’ needs as it identifies a necessity for a new instructional design. The MRK model subscribes to the idea that the instructional design will be used again and again but may need adjustments with each implementation based upon the learners’ characteristics. Another marked difference is that the ADDIE process often requires new resources to be created specific to the instructional need while the MRK process allows for the review and selection of materials which have already been created by other sources. As a teacher, rarely would I have created my own worksheets, reading passages, videos, or other instructional resources. Instead, I would have reviewed the resources and chosen which best conveyed the information. Because of these reasons, I feel I may have to keep this model close at hand for future reference.

It is important to understand that theoretical learning theories such as cognitivism and constructivism are different from instructional design models. Learning theories attempt to explain how the learner interacts with and acquires the content while instructional design models attempt to create a formalized process with which to create the content. Instructional design will identify and employ an appropriate learning theory as part of the process because ID models do not explain how learners learn. Also, learning theories are broad enough that may different instructional design models could be used. When considering what a client needs, this distinction is necessary because the design will often depend upon what and how the learners will learn.


Akbulut, Y. (2007). Implications of two well-known models for instructional designer in distance education: Dick-Carey versus Morrison-Ross-Kemp. The Turkish online journal of distance education, 8, 62-68.

Gustafson, K. L., & Branch, R. M. (2001). Survey of instructional development models ( 4th ed.). Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology.


Final Reflections and Evaluations December 12, 2014

Filed under: 5210 — S. Michele Holmes @ 4:32 am
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The semester is almost over for my Instructional Design course, and it is time for my course mates and me to reflect upon what we have learned about instructional design. One of the reasons I began this graduate program is because I discovered that what I love most about teaching is designing lessons and activities. What this course did was define and formalize the processes I was already using resulting in a greater appreciation for the practice. When first introduced to ADDIE and the idea of designing for instruction, it seemed as though the steps needed to occur in separate, compartmentalized stages, but this is not the case. They actually overlap a great deal, and moving into subsequent steps may be necessary to finish the current, and likewise moving backwards to go forwards.

One major difference between what I do for my students and the projects I completed for my clients is meeting each population’s needs. For my students, I develop and implement the lessons, so I do not have to explain the implementation to an instructor or a client. Teachers often must adjust instruction on a whim due to unforeseen issues or immediate feedback from the students. When designing for a client, understanding exactly what they need then creating a product I will never actually teach feels much more accountability-driven. Something I did not expect was missing the closure I would normally experience from teaching a lesson after I created it. Also, understanding the content to be delivered in the instructional design, at least at a basic level, is essential. Even if a content specialist is involved, I still need to comprehend the gist of what will be taught. I would not feel at all comfortable working with some of the information my course mates designed.

As for what I have learned from the evaluation phases of my projects is that having clear goals for the final outcome is crucial. This is not always possible depending upon the project, but it was true for both of mine because of clear-cut beginnings and endings of the courses. Sure, they can both be adapted for future use, but these will never be ongoing projects. I imagine an ongoing implementation such as online educational software would have a much different process and experience. The evaluation of Project B revealed that the rubric was the most valuable tool to the audience, but the job aid and the development of a timeline were the most beneficial to the instructor. One idea I would like to ponder more is accessibility of the software used to make the final product from multiple devices and locations. The audience was asked to create PowerPoints, but Prezi is another possibility which can be accessed from the Internet.

Setting deadlines, communicating with clients, observing some of the implementation were all important lessons learned on my journey to become a better instructional designer. Being flexible and having a wide skill-set are also critical. The ability to receive constructive criticism and feedback and utilize it to improve the future iterations of the product is also helpful. Teachers often comment that once teachers become administrators, they forget what being in the classroom is all about. I wonder how having experience teaching will influence designing instruction at a professional level in the future.


Professional Instructional Design December 10, 2014

We are wrapping up the semester and finalizing our 2nd projects in my Instructional Design class.  We have been asked to explain what it means to design instruction and identify what skills are required to do it professionally.  Designing instruction involves creating some form of media for the purpose of providing information someone is expected to learn.  How this is done may appear different depending upon the job, but the basic process will be similar.  One possible design process referred to as ADDIE involves analysis, development, design, implementation, and evaluation.  While this may work for most initial projects, designs are often revised and updated as the need arises.  So a shortened version of ADDIE may occur repeatedly.  Consider the implementation period.  Much of today’s digital designs are continuously implemented but still need revising on a regular basis.  Therefore, most educational software developers update their programs according to the school year and upload those edits during the summer.

Thinking of designing professionally, three key skills are necessary.  Being knowledgeable of design software and techniques is essential to creating successful design.  Designers must keep themselves updated with latest technology, trends, and software updates.  Consider how software also gets updated on a regular basis.  Sometimes the updates are simple changes, but sometimes the entire software product is revamped.  Even the experienced user and designer must spend time learning where the tools have been moved to.  Expanding one’s skill set will certainly increase how valuable one can be to future clients.  I ponder how clients often do not know what software would be best for their need or situation; perhaps they are not aware of all the possibilities.  It will be the instructional designer’s job to hear what the client needs and help their client choose the best vehicle to articulate their ideas.

Having a background in teaching, knowledge of national and state standards, and experience with a variety of educational materials is also a key skill to being an effective instructional designer.  Even with efforts to nationalize curriculum, state standards vary across the country.  I have myself experienced issues with materials created for national standards having to be modified to Texas state standards.  No matter how the company attempted to “fit” their materials into the standards, they did not fully address the expectations or all the specificities.  Also, the TEKS are revised and updated regularly, and although designers are not involved with this process, they will experience the brunt of revising and updating websites, textbooks, consumable workbooks, etc. once the updated TEKS are adopted.  Having actual classroom experience assures the designer will consider the logistics behind implementing their products.  Teachers rarely use materials at face value, so designers must consider how teachers will modify their products, pairing them down or expanding upon them.  Designers must consider the ages of the intended audience.  If the designer has no experience with the busy brains of a first grader, they may have difficulty creating materials the child can handle.

Perhaps the most important skill to an instructional designer is a combination of time management, communication, and organization skills.  Keeping up with benchmark and final deadlines keeps clients happy, but there is more to time management than deadlines.  Understanding the time involved with creating materials in various applications is essential.  The client may simply need paper-based materials to be converted to a digital form; this may not take very long unless the client has grand ideas about the interactivity of the digital form.  However, creating materials from scratch or into a form which requires a great deal of planning or involvement of many people takes more time.  Taking a project and breaking it down into smaller mini-tasks is something every designer must understand.  Speaking of involving many people, strong communication skills will keep all parties “on the same page” while addressing everybody’s ideas and needs.  Sometimes clients have difficulty articulating exactly what they want; they may not be able to put their needs into words.  Instructional designers well versed in different forms of communication can assist the client “flush out” their ideas.  Rarely would a professional handle one project at a time, so managing multiple projects at once requires the designer to keep all aspects of every project organized.  Using calendars, reminder applications, project management programs, folders, and other organizational tools will facilitate the designer’s effectiveness.


Regulation and Communication November 16, 2014

Filed under: 5210 — S. Michele Holmes @ 5:12 am
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My Instructional Design course mates and I are well into our second design projects.  Because the second project will require no benchmark assignments as we work through the entire ADDIE process again, we will be required to regulate ourselves and our clients on our own.  I see both advantages and disadvantages to this.  As a professional instructional designer, our clients and supervisors will not want to see all the ADDIE steps in separate documents at specified periods.  We may have to update them on a regular basis, but what it will look like could be different from project to project.  So the advantage of Project #2 is a more authentic version of what we could experience in the future.  However, having little experience with the process AND the freedom to work on our own schedule is . . . well, to be honest, somewhat scary.  At least we still have our safety net in place, meaning that we can contact our professor at any time for feedback and guidance.

So in this case, we must regulate ourselves and others to a greater extent to achieve the final goal.  As for self-regulation, we will have to set our own deadlines, be accountable to ourselves, and evaluate our own work.  Regulating our clients will involve guiding them through the process, helping them set timelines, and communicating with them more regularly.  Project #2 will be more challenging than the last because my client and I are creating the project almost from scratch.  We will not be held to the standards and guidelines of an outside organization unlike the last project.  Plus, my client is not experienced with either the needs of the population the project is being designed for or the technical skills required to create the project.  I have already been experiencing a greater degree of regulating my client because of all these factors.  On the other hand, I am finding the freedom to develop the design more liberating than I felt with the first project.

Communication will be even more necessary for this project because of what it entails.  The last project was much more structured and well laid out prior to me turning it into an online course.  The only real communication between my last client and I was to check-in with her about my own progress and obtain feedback as needed for my professor.  This time, my new client and I are starting with a loose idea I developed a few years ago.  We will basically be creating all aspects of the final product with no expectations other than our own.  Our communications already feel much different.  I see myself taking on a much larger role in the development and design stages because of the client’s limited experience.  She requires more guidance and support.  I anticipate future communication will occur more frequently and appear less formal.


Thoughts on the First Instructional Design November 2, 2014

Filed under: 5210 — S. Michele Holmes @ 2:09 am
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My Instructional Design course mates and I have finished our first projects and are in the beginning stages of our second projects.  We have been asked to stop and reflect upon our experiences with the first project and consider how these experiences have prepared us and will affect our work on the next project.  Perhaps the most important part of the first project was to walk through the entire ADDIE process step by step. Although each of us had completely different projects and outcomes, the ADDIE process could be applied to all of them.  Plus, the ADDIE process is not at all what I have experienced in public education (see Analysis & Design Working Together), so it has been interesting to experience the full process and compare it to what I do at work on a regular basis.  While my course mates and I will still work our way through the ADDIE process for the second project, we will have fewer benchmark activities to turn in.  I view this as an opportunity to go through the steps more quickly perhaps even allowing more freedom to move in and out each step with less structure.  I should feel more intuitive and less organized but more authentic to what a professional instructional designer would do.  After all, they are likely to be accountable only to their clients and themselves.

As for what worked, my clients were highly knowledgeable of how their content should be structured and organized.  Their insight was valuable to the analysis and design phases of the project.  I felt these were the strongest aspects of this particular project.  However, the development of the actual materials was to me the most exciting and creatively rewarding phase despite the parameters I was bound to.  Because the analysis and design were well laid out, both these steps took very little time.  I ponder how working with a client who does not have clear objectives or vision and how much longer these phases could take.

As for what did not go so well, the limitations created by the learning management system were difficult to work around.  For example, if I created an activity or quiz and found there to be a mistake (which often happens) it was not possible to correct the mistakes without great difficulty, especially if course participants had already worked within the assignment.  The lack of computer experience among the young users was also a logistical issue my clients and I had not anticipated.  These both made the implementation of the project the weakest aspect, but perhaps the most valuable in learning the craft.  As I transform into an instructional designer, I must consider the weaknesses inherent in the implementation process.  Some can be anticipated and managed prior to roll-out, but others cannot.  It is our job as designers to minimize these weaknesses to the best of our ability and quickly address glitches.

That being said, I would like to go in a completely different direction with the next project and not use a learning management system.  Sure, tracking student progress will be a major consideration, but the freedom of using a website format to relay information will be a wonderful learning experience.  But perhaps the information could be structured in such a way that the users only access what they need to move them along with their projects.


Thoughts on Instructional Design October 7, 2014

Filed under: 5210 — S. Michele Holmes @ 3:50 am
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For the past two weeks, my Instructional Design course mates and I have been refining our instructional designs and working towards creating the actual instructional materials. As we review each others’ materials for feedback, our instructor has asked us to stop and reflect upon what we think about instructional design so far. In my last blog I discussed how I am struggling with the differences between the ADDIE model and the current back-planning model used in public education these days. But what I am discovering is that I REALLY like designing instructional materials. Actually, as I reflect back over my academic and professional careers, the designing of lessons and materials is what I enjoy most. This revelation is something to consider as I look to what the future holds for me. Allow me to elaborate.

As my husband is also a teacher, we often find ourselves “talking shop” about better teaching methods and materials. We reflect on our own educational experiences, and he often comments about how little he remembers from his K-12 days and how much I remember. While we both agree the more authentic and hands-on the activities and experiences, the more memorable they are to students, textbooks were the principal source of instruction when we were students, so understanding how to approach them was imperative. In our relationship’s early days, he and I found a commonality when it comes to instructional materials. When asked to recall information we had previously seen in a textbook, we both had a knack for remembering where in the book the answers were located, what else appeared on the page such as diagrams or pictures, and what titles and subtitles appeared on the page. Of course, these were the days of fact-based teaching with basic recall as the primary form of assessment. I had never even heard of a project rubric until I began working towards my teacher certification.

As an undergrad student, I devised study strategies involving interacting with the text because college requires students to be more independent about their study habits and strategies. I developed color-coding highlighting systems, wrote in margins of rented textbooks, reworked and organized notes, etc. in hopes of digesting the content more quickly. I became so obsessed with the idea of making the learning process faster and more efficient, I conducted two major cognitive psychology experiments and wrote research papers on the use of pictorial stimuli and the use of color in instructional materials for some of my senior-level projects.

When I entered the working world at the same time personal computers were becoming capable of more than basic word processing and mathematical computation, I explored the wonders of creating newsletters and flyers for my various businesses, developed staff meeting agendas and training sessions, and basically attempted to improve the appearance of any paper-based product I could get my hands on. I also spent endless hours developing PowerPoints, worksheets, and graphic organizers for my students in my early years as a teacher. As instructional technology advanced, I began to develop more interactive materials through digital formats such as smart board software and web-based content. This evolution and my awareness of it are just one of the reasons I chose to pursue an Instructional Technology degree.

I suppose in some form or fashion, I have been using the basics of the ADDIE model all this time without even knowing what it was. Rarely did I create something without having a purpose or a need, knowing my intended audience, or considering how the materials would be used. Usually the need was MY need, whether directly as a teacher making something for my students, or indirectly such as templates for my staff to create more uniform lesson plans. How involved the design phase needed to be really depended upon how complicated the materials needed to be. A simple flyer or newsletter rarely needed more than layout adjustments, while a staff training required more thought about logical sequencing and prior knowledge. But both of these stages felt very intuitive and informal. I feel I now have a much better grasp of just how thorough and formal these steps need to be, but by far, my favorite stage is still the development of the materials.



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