Describe the field of instructional design

On the website “eLearnspace” http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/InstructionalDesign.htm Siemens provides a list of various instructional design definitions, but my favorites are:

• “Instructional Design is the systematic development of instructional specifications using learning and instructional theory to ensure the quality of instruction. It is the entire process of analysis of learning needs and goals and the development of a delivery system to meet those needs. It includes development of instructional materials and activities; and tryout and evaluation of all instruction and learner activities.

• Instructional design (“ID”, also known as instructional systems design or “ISD”) is a tested and proven methodology for developing instruction.

• Instructional design is a systematic approach to course development that ensures that specific learning goals are accomplished. It is an iterative process that requires ongoing evaluation and feedback.

• Instructional Design is the art and science of creating an instructional environment and materials that will bring the learner from the state of not being able to accomplish certain tasks to the state of being able to accomplish those tasks. Instructional Design is based on theoretical and practical research in the areas of cognition, educational psychology, and problem solving” (Siemens, 2002, p. 1).

Provide a brief synthesis of your thoughts regarding how you perceived the field before starting this course, and what new or surprising thing you learned about the field from your resources this week.

Truthfully, I have utilized the Principles of Connectivism (Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2008) for as long as I can remember, no pun intended. Siemens stated “connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired and the ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital. Also critical is the ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday” (as cited in Davis et al., 2008, p. 1). Operating under this idea, before I even knew it existed, basically means that I research and learn everything I can about whatever I am doing at the time. I know a LOT about certain things. I can learn anything I need to by looking it up and doing the research, something I truly enjoy doing. As a result, I did not have any idea there was even a field of instructional design until I began exploring Master’s Programs. At that point, I was pretty thorough in my investigation.

In fact, in my original Goal Statement to Walden I wrote: “It has become increasingly apparent that the Master’s in Instructional Design and Technology incorporates my interests and aptitudes to a striking “T.” Through exploration, knowledge and personal reflection, I will be able to further my education in the field of academics, learning theory, and the utilization of technology in aiding students towards their academic goals. I could not imagine a career more in line with my ambitions than one in which I utilize technology to design learning programs to further student achievement.”

It was through my research that I discovered my educational background (B.A. in Psychology, Teaching Credentials in Health, Science and Psychology) and personal technological aptitudes and interests, were the basic fundamental building blocks toward a career in instructional design.

I was very surprised to find a career/field dedicated to methodologies and principles I was already incorporating in the classroom, as well as to my personal academic and educational interests. For example, I was continuously searching for learning strategies and instructional techniques to aid my students in “learning” the material (including retention, not just regurgitation).

Additionally, I was surprised to discover the versatility and flexibility in career options for someone with an instructional design degree. For instance, according to the text “The Professional Designer” career options abound in academic, government and corporate sectors and include positions such as “Staff Instructional Designer,” “Project Coordinator,” and “Designer/Developer/Artist” (Cennamo & Kalk, 2005, p. 273). It was also comforting to realize that there is a future of growth ahead for the field of instructional design, perhaps especially in eLearning. At a time of economic crisis, it is unsettling to have to align our career goals and interests with financial prospects; however, it is also impractical to deny these realities exist. I consider myself fortunate to be engaging in a growing field for which I have already held proclivity.

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References

Cennamo, K., & Kalk, D. (2005). The professional designer. In Real world instructional design (pp. 272-285). Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/courses/56607/CRS-CW-4744646/CENNA_Ch12.pdf

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism

Siemens, G. (2002). Instructional design in Elearning. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/InstructionalDesign.htm

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