The Importance of Being Actionable

27 Jan

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.


Posted by on January 27, 2013 in ADLT 642


3 responses to “The Importance of Being Actionable

  1. Katherine

    January 27, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    I completely agree with the idea of fun in the workplace; I mean how many jobs have u stayed at that made you miserable, right? And that also relates back to my goal with this course in a significant way, namely a focus on the engaged learner. I’m not sure how much I agree with the idea that these students, even though they are close to graduation, are self-motivated, purely acholastic learners, but I do believe that an enriched and fun educational environment fosters self-motivation more than a dry regurgitation of the material. , but I do believe that an enriched and fun educational environment fosters self-motivation more than a dry regurgitation of the material.

    • Joanne Even

      January 28, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      When you say how many jobs… you mean not including my current one? 😦

      I agree with you about the nature of the learners, and I’m struggling with that in terms of thinking about strategies because I know I am a much different student now than I was at 22. And while my current job isn’t fun, marketing in general is, so I think there are a lot of ways to bring the dry theories to life.

  2. rhettwilcox

    January 29, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Love that you looked back and pulled up a reflection from your 606 course – an example of an amazing use of your reflective work-space. I’m in agreement with you that the design process is much easier when you are familiar with the subject, but as you posted on my blog there seems to be the question of “where is the conversation happening?”


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