Friday, November 6, 2009

Intro to Instructional Design - what should it be? (part 2)

OK, so in the last post I covered the model to be used in an introduction to instructional design class. Now the model should not be the focus of the course. The model should be an overarching theme that can be used to tie other elements together, and to be used in producing a final project in the course.

In an intro class I could expect the following:

Introduction to some learning theories: Theories like behaviorism, constructivism and so on. Just give people a 30,000 foot view of the theoretical knowledge in the field.

Semester Project: This would be a project that would make students think about all the steps required to design instruction. The topic could be something as mundane as making a spanish omelet or a monte-cristo sandwich. The point here is that students will need to think about everything that needs to go into instruction and create the instruction. This would be a group project (no more than 3 members)

Mini Research Papers: Nothing crazy, just 2 papers in a semester, 3-4 pages long (double spaced) where students need to go to the library, research two articles per paper and give their opinion in how it all fits in with the theories that we are doing in class.

Major Research Paper: Based on a topic for the whole class, write a 10 page research paper that uses the theory taught in class, along with other research that you've done on your own, to illustrate a given point (or to dispute it).

Some people may cry foul, saying that the course is too research oriented. At that I say "phooey!" Several studies, however incomplete, seem to indicate that instructional designers don't consult theory in their day to day work. They don't even do it as a hobby or for professional development.

It's important for students and professionals to have the ability to conduct research to problem solve situations that they have not been in and to try to understand different SME contexts. Doing is over-rated in an introduction context, it's the mind that needs sharpening, especially if you haven't been to grad school, or if you haven't been in school for a while.

Just my two cents on the subject...
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