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.