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Archive for October, 2011

Flexible Communication

A PDF update on the DMDL/ECT website redesign project.

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Week #5 (Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology) – Robert A. Reiser, John Dempsey

Chapter 32 – Using Rich Media Wisely

What media is used for instruction is very important, but more importantly how it is delivered.

There are two types of learning approaches in instructional design:

  1. Technology centered approach – passive approach where the learner is not taken into account
  2. Learner centered approach – active approach where the learner is involved and encouraged to participate

The two memory styles in which we learn:

  • Working memory is conscious deliberate learning where information is processed
  • Long term memory is the prior knowledge, where our database of information lies

How media is selected, organized and integrated into learning determines how people will learn.

Chapter 36 – Diversity and Accessibility

A new trend we are witnessing today in design and instruction is (UD) Universal Design.

Universal Design emphasizes diversity and all the benefits of inclusion. A good example is how assisted technologies consider learners with disabilities. The key here is to find a balance between content and context.

With UD we can also provide broader accessibility to people in different markets and through the use of different languages. We have seen this very present in many ATM machines with multiple language selection options for the user.

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Week #5 (Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology) – Robert A. Reiser, John Dempsey

Chapter 16 – Knowledge Management and Learning: Perfect Together

Knowledge Management is the process of how we manage information, share and use it. How data is transformed into information.

The authors list 4 types of knowledge:

  1. Explicit – physical knowledge that exists out there, like in a website, magazine, book
  2. Tacit – knowledge of experience and insight. That knowledge we experience through action and reaction
  3. Common Knowledge – shared knowledge. This is knowledge that everyone needs to know. An example is the code of conduct of a school or company
  4. Undiscovered Knowledge – hidden knowledge that hasn’t been uncovered yet. This is seen in the hidden talents we all possess. A good example in our field is having a student come in with a new theory (way of thinking) about learning and possibly creating and adding a new theory to the field

A good design team shares valuable information and knowledge thus building a competitive advantage. This can be seen in the success of the Eames Office. One of the most creative design teams of our modern time.

Good knowledge management success is normally attributed to building in stages. Think big but start small. Pay attention to the details.

A successful team codifies (documents), collaborates (shares knowledge) and utilizes access (synchronization of common knowledge) to knowledge.

Because learning has become more social than ever, knowledge and learning work perfect together. This can be seen today in Web 2.0

Chapter 17 – Informal Learning

Informal learning is work based learning. Today we see more and more people collaborating in online content and information management. Web 2.0 allows users to build and maintain communities without the need of much programming.

The fact that you can create a cooking blog and share it with people all around the world supports this notion. It can also be seen in the comments section of many online publications where people are providing informal feedback that can translate to informal learning.

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Week #5 (Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology) – Robert A. Reiser, John Dempsey

Chapter 7 – Designing for Problem Solving

Instructional Design focuses on the importance of learning to solve problems, this helps enhance meaning making.

The authors make note of Cognitive Flexibility Theory and Cognitive Scaffolding. Cognitive Flexibility Theory recognizes the complexity of learning and importance of multiple approaches at learning. We see this in practice when people access a website. Hyperlinking and having the ability to jump around in a non-linear fashion allows for multiple approaches at getting to a desired subject.

In the Cognitive Scaffolding Theory the focus is on the tools and support provided when learning is first introduced to a student. In analogical encoding we use mapping to illustrate scenarios that allow the user to compare contrast through a series of scenarios/analogies. Prediction, questioning, arguing for or against proposed solutions and modeling fall under the scaffolding theory. Content measurement and Empirical validation help in providing solutions and solving problems.

Chapter 8 – Instructional Theory and Technology for a Postindustrial World

The authors talk about the problem with the current educational system. In principal it is designed for sorting out students (smart and dumb) not for learning.

A look at some universal methods of instruction:

  • Task Centered – instruction should use a progression of increasingly complex tasks.
  • Demonstration – a how to. demonstration of the skill.
  • Application – instruction should help learner apply the skill.
  • Activation – organizing new knowledge, recall information.
  • Integration – publicly demonstrate new knowledge or skill. share knowledge.

The core ideas for the Postindustrial Paradigm of Instruction:

  • Learning focused vs. Sorting focused
  • Learning centered vs. Teacher centered
  • Learning by doing vs. Teacher presenting
  • Attainment based vs. Time based (progress by achievement)
  • Customized vs. Standardized instruction
  • Collaborative vs. Individual
  • Enjoyable vs. Unpleasant

Learning in todays American Educational System carries the stigma of boredom. If we are to revolutionize the educational system we need to focus on the individual needs of each school. The cultural aspects. Engaging students to participate and provide feedback as to what learning is working for them.

I personally find that I do terrible at Standardized Tests but when I’m given a topic and asked to elaborate in an essay form then the experience becomes pleasant. There is something inherent in humans that enjoys teaching others what we know.

The authors go on to say, “the best way to learn something is to teach it”.

Record keeping is a good way to keep students engaged in learning. Keeping a personal blog, journal, vlog or website allows students to go back and reference and document their learning growth.

Chapter 9 – Motivation, Volition and Performance

The authors talk about the importance of motivation in learning. How does one achieve volition and improve on your performance?

In instructional design we talk about the motivation of the viewer/user/learner. The authors talk about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation as good learning tools.

Intrinsic motivation is when the learner engages in an activity for self pleasure. I remember a time when I spent a week learning about the different countries in Africa. I found this intrinsic motivation came to me after booking a flight to Egypt with some friends.

Extrinsic motivation is when a learner engages in activity for a reward. This is seen in classrooms around America. Keeping a blog to get a good grade. Its also seen in the work environment where working hard on a project might result in a promotion.

The authors note that motivation in general tends to happens when there is a gap in current knowledge. Also when we can identify it as problem solving and reaching a goal.

Performance is seen to improve in learners when they find the motivation to backup their actions and beliefs. This is typically seen when someone is talking about a topic they feel passionate about. If they go out and keep educating themselves on it, then their performance (knowledge base) continues to improve with time.

 

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Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology – Robert A. Reiser, John Dempsey

Chapter 6 – The Learning Sciences: Where they came from and what it means for instructional designers

Here the authors illustrate how Instructional Design has evolved.

First we have the departure from behaviorist models of learning and understanding followed by the emergence of cognitive science and finally the rise of computer technology.

The authors refer to Papert’s belief that learning can take place in interaction with tools of construction. Papert also believed that learners construct knowledge as they make sense of the world around them.

This I believe to be very true. I still remember being young and trying to make sense of the world around me. Every time something became clear and understood I was able to quickly learn and identify it for future reference. What I find strange is how my ability to learn has changed. What I thought I learned and knew when I was 5 is not the same when I go back to it 30 years later. This always leads me to believe that I’m constantly making new sense of the world around me. Constructing new meaning even from prior knowledge.

The authors talk about Vygotsky’s belief that culture deeply affects learning. Vygotsky’s (ZPD) Zone of proximal development explored the idea of how learning happens collectively and in turn advances individual learning. We see this in the animal kingdom. A lioness will teach her cubs survival methods. Its with these tools that an older cub can fend for themselves.

One learning science I am particularly drawn to is Situated Learning. Situated Learning believes that learning in a classroom transfers right back into the outside world and creates a new learning experience. For both environments to bridge conditions in the classroom have to reflect those in the outside world.

I had a teacher in high school ask us to bring lyrics to our favorite songs for analysis. We all brought in something from the “real world” and applied it to learning. This exercise helped us to understand each other’s taste in music as well as how particular words moved and inspired us as individuals. I found myself actively seeking out some of my classmates music at the record store later that week.

The authors reflect on the importance of learning sciences to instructional design. “For an instructional designer using learning science they can contribute to the knowledge base by documenting and reflecting on the design process, and using it as a means to collect information that can drive theory”

This approach at learning is critical at understanding how our field works. It also makes for good instructional design. Our field has changed drastically in the past 20 years. I can’t wait to be see where it will be in another 20 years time.

 

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Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology – Robert A. Reiser, John Dempsey

Chapter 5 – Constructivism in Practical and Historical Context

The authors reflect that in constructivism learning is a process of meaning making by interaction with the world. Problem-solving activities are regarded with high importance to help create new learning. Learning is seen as a social activity that happens in communities. A good example can be seen in the online game Quest Atlantis. Here children are exposed to a world of problem-solving that is virtual and also carries over into real world activities that are carried out in their local communities. The key element of QA is for children to work together through a series of activities that foster new learning.

In constructivism the learner also is encouraged to take responsibility of their learning. When you take responsibility for your learning you own your learning. Disney’s Club Penguin is a good example of this. Club Penguin’s purpose is to provide a place where children can play games and become global citizens. The games are learning devices that empower the children with knowledge and encourage community engagement.

Constructivism notes the importance of the learner taking center stage while the teacher steps of to the side and observes how the learner learns.

Some instructional models linked to constructivism:

  • PBL (Problem Based Learning) – here instruction is based around a problem. (IDEO is a company that utilizes this model in their approach at design)
  • Anchored Instruction – learning is based around a story or anchor. (a good example is using everyday problems to illustrate a math problem. this helps create a relationship between the real world and learning at hand. I personally like the counting pennies example. This kind of activity anchors learning with experience.
  • Cognitive Apprenticeship – learning through a master. We see this happen in most job places. You spend some time receiving training from someone in a company who is a (master) and you are the apprenticeship.
  • Intentional Learning Environments – learning through environment. This model refers to collaborate problem solving. A good example is learning a foreign language by immersing yourself in that culture. Someone living in France for 2 months will learn and understand French better than learning it through a book.

The authors also mention Higher Order Learning, how learning can be implemented in the real world, Affect and Emotion, connecting learning through the emotions, and Out of class Performance, internships.

The authors reflect that good Instructional Design depends on good theories of knowledge, learning and instruction.

What you ultimately want is to build a direct relationship with the world of learning. To really focus on the details of the doing.

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Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology – Robert A. Reiser, John Dempsey

Chapters 1-3

Chapter 1 – Defining our Field (Educational Technology, Instructional Technology)

IDT – Instructional Design and Technology. It is difficult to describe our field since it’s constantly evolving. The pervasive themes in IDT are:

  • technology
  • research
  • development

The authors describe Instructional Media as the physical way instruction is presented to learners. This could be through a website, kiosk, cd-rom, game, phone application, even instructional books.

In 1963 Educational Technology was defined as the design and use of messages which control the learning process (planning, production, selection, utilization and management)

Our field is very process oriented and relies heavily on the theory and practice of design. This explains why the field is constantly evolving, adapting new ways of thinking and understanding how we think.

In 2008 the definition of Educational Technology changed to the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, managing appropriate technological processess and resources. Now we are looking at the ethical dilemma of how technology is affecting how we learn.

The authors define Instructional Technology as the analysis of learning, performance problems, design development, implementation and evaluation of instruction to improve learning.

Chapter 2 – Characteristics of Instructional Design Models

The authors talk about the system of instructional design as an integrated set of elements that interact with each other. They look at it systematically (moving through a process).

We see that Instructional Design is student centered. The focal point shifts from the teacher to the learner as a teacher. There is a meaningful performance, looking to solve authentic problems. It is important to measure the outcome of learning, observe all the data. Instructional Design is empirical, iterative and self corrective. We see a focus on group effort, building teams to solve problems.

The authors mention the importance of the Pebble in the Pond and Whole Task Approach. The task has to be approached with the complexity needed to master the problem. If all complex formulas aren’t included the knowledge can not be mastered.

I think that Whole task approach is an improvement to traditional instructional design. Good example being, Rosetta Stone. They get progressively hard, advance levels, as you learn vocabulary. I believe if new words aren’t introduced and new concepts presented that knowledge will not advance and the learner will be stuck in the learning process.

Another example is learning the control panel of a nuclear plant.

Demonstration – The task is to train a learner to properly use a control panel at a nuclear plant. User must read the manual. Take Tests. Ask questions about control panel. Observe the use of a control panel in a team and independent environment.

Application – In order to properly reduce risk of accident, test with a dummy control panel, be evaluated on performance. Do a virtual control panel simulation. Based on test results decide whether user is ready to use control panel independently.

Chapter 3 – History of Instructional Design

The authors define instructional media as the physical means by which instruction is presented to the learners.

Some media examples supplementary to the means of instruction

  1. Visual Movement/Instructional Films
  2. Audio/Visual Movement/Instructional Radio
  3. World War II – Film Education (Propaganda)
  4. Instructional Television. PBS – Public Broadcasting Service
  5. Computers as Instructional Purposes (CAI – Computer Assisted Instruction)
  6. Recent developments in social media: blogs, forums, social networks

The authors mention American educational psychologist Robert Gagne and his book Conditions of Learning. In this book Gagne talked about the different types and levels of learning. The main types of learning identified were:

  • verbal information
  • intellectual skills
  • psychomotor skills
  • attitudes
  • cognitive strategies

Gagne believed that learning should be organized hierarchically according to complexity. Different types of instruction can be developed from this hierarchical model. You wouldn’t teach a 4th grader about Nuclear Engineering and in turn you wouldn’t teach a Physicist with 4th grade terminology.

 

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