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Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Importance of Being Actionable

As I thought back on our class session this week and our discussion about the first analysis project, I remembered a comment I wrote in my summary blog post for ADLT 606.  The analysis phase for my instructional design project that semester was fairly easy because I was so familiar with the program, but I’d wondered how easy it would be when I didn’t have that familiarity.  If this first project is any indication, it’s much harder!

I started by reviewing the Blackboard site for the course that is the subject of our first project.  I found myself feeling overwhelmed by the layers of information that accompany the assignments and getting lost as I tried to remember which folder had the document that contained the information I was trying to find.  I finally started my own document into which I pasted the course objectives from the syllabus and began matching up the assignments with the objectives.  This is still a work in progress, but from my review so far, it appears that the readings cover the main topics, and the current online projects correlate to the topics listed on the syllabus for the corresponding weeks as well as tie in to the stated course objectives.

So while it does seem that the current assignments deal with the content listed in the course objectives, it’s harder to know if the objectives are really being met because they are not written with strong action verbs.  “Understand” and “appreciate” are rather nebulous terms, and “identify” doesn’t go far enough to show that the students can move from theory to action.  While the professor indicated that she didn’t give the stated objectives much of a spotlight, I learned from my work in ADLT 606 that:

Struggling with writing those goals was well worth the effort.  I can honestly say that the program goals I wrote guided me throughout the rest of my planning for the … workshop.  When writing the instructional design, I referred back to the program goals to make sure I had included relevant content for each one.  Then again, when I was writing the evaluation plan, I went back to read the rationale and goals to make sure I was measuring what was important, which was not always an easy thing to try to measure, but if I didn’t have an instrument to do so, how would I know if my program was successful?

What’s not represented in the Blackboard site are any current in-class activities, so it’s hard to know how the students are sharing their ideas with their classmates, except through the Group Discussion Board, which I’m not convinced is the best way to foster that kind of discussion, but more to come on that as we present our design strategies next week.  If, as the professor stated she believes, courses are conversations, where is that conversation happening and what should the students expect to gain from those conversations?

I saw this tweet over the weekend and shuddered at the thought that reading a bunch of quotes could make someone a better marketer, but curiosity got the better of me, and I clicked through to the article.  While I don’t think reading that collection of quotes will make me better at my job come Monday morning, I did see one that seemed a good idea to keep in mind as we address the challenges for this service marketing course.

“A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.” – Richard Branson

So it is with learning.  As we move into the next phase of this project determining what students should be doing on their own, in groups, and online, the focus should be on developing actionable (involving) ways for them to bring the theories of service marketing to life that draw on their creative instincts.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2013 in ADLT 642

 

Whoa, Nelly!

My goal for this course is to take what I have learned in the two previous Teaching and Learning with Technology courses, as well as in the Design and Delivery course (ADLT 606), and gain a hands-on, practical understanding of how instructional design differs for eLearning versus face-to-face or classroom based learning.  The coursework as it was outlined in our first class appears to address a multitude of topics that affect instructional design, and the four outside project presentations offer a variety of subject matter.  However, the presentations seem to favor learning in academic settings versus corporate settings.  While we did have a brief discussion of training versus education (which I took as corporate versus academic), I realize that I am the only one in the class who works in a corporate environment as well as the only one whose current role is not related to teaching, and so my needs and interests are different.  To the extent that there is any material difference in how the ideas we will discuss are implemented in the different settings, I hope we are able to address it.

The ADDIE model was mentioned a fair amount during class, and I wonder if there will be any discussion of other models, such as SAM (Successive Approximation Model) that seems to have gained a fair amount of traction, at least in the corporate learning environment.  While I recognize that ADDIE does not have to be as linear at it might first appear, SAM seems to offer a more inclusive and collaborative approach and builds in iterative processes which makes it feel more nimble for the mad pace we all seem to keep these days.

As for the question of what I hope to be able to do with instructional design skills once the course is completed, I come back to a recurring theme in my blog — the similarities between adult eduction and marketing.  As stated in the syllabus for this course:

Creation of successful e-learning requires skills in designing interactive environments that engage and stimulate as well as provide a sense of community among learners and between learners and the teacher or facilitator. This is much more than the electronic linking of documents and resources.

In much the same way, marketers are seeking to create interactive environments that create a sense of community to enhance brand loyalty, but it involves much more than simply creating a website, getting people to “like” you on Facebook, or having a large following on Twitter.  We, as marketers, need to understand what people really want from a product or service and how they intend to use it (much the same way we’ve been asked to write about what we expect from this course and how we intend to use it).  Whether it’s the ADDIE model, SAM, or the Interactive Model of Program Planning, there are many similarities between the stages of instructional design and marketing planning.  So whether I continue to work in a marketing capacity or finally make the leap to adult education, what I learn in this course about when and how to use digital tools effectively to accomplish my goals will be useful.

The first night of class fell in the middle of a very hectic work week.  I had been looking forward to the break from too many late nights at the office and the chance to get back into a positive learning environment.  I was already having angst about how I would make the time for school given that work has been all-consuming since the first of the year, but about an hour into class I think I just went numb.  Four design solutions, two research projects, weekly blogs, and the “40% project.”  Don’t get me wrong — I LOVE my school work, and I am looking forward to each assignment.  My fear is that I won’t have the time that I want to put into the projects to get as much as I can out of them.  I hope once we get into the flow of things, it won’t seem so overwhelming, but I have to admit… I’m a little nervous!

“…hold on tight, cuz it’s gonna be wilder than any 8 second ride!”

ImagePhoto sourced from pbr.com

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in ADLT 642

 

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