Reflection

Instructional Design Process and Adjustments from Weekly Assignments

Having an opportunity to redesign the Moodle LMS Workshops for Colgate Faculty has been challenging, yet exciting! After 3 years of holding these training sessions, I believe that next year’s will be more effective than all the previous sessions. I think the deliberate focus on Terminal Objectives and alignment of activities, as well as the connection between the Assessment (both formative and summative) and activities (Absorb – Do – Connect) will have a very positive effect on the new faculty members as well as old-timers to decide to use Moodle. (Horton, 2012)

Horton’s textbook, E-Learning by Design, and the weekly assignments challenged me to separate learning into 3 categories. I now appreciate how content presentation, practice activities, and reflection can work together in harmony to help learners meet the objectives from a variety of perspectives and levels of understanding to deepen their learning.

This careful analysis has shown me that in the past I had activities that weren’t crucial to the learning and sometimes even distracted from the most important topics. By focusing on aligning each activity to a specific enabling or terminal objective, by making a deliberate effort to provide varied and interesting activities, by providing different ways of receiving and demonstrating the material learned — I think I’ve given the faculty a much better foundation for what they will need to know to be successful at creating their Moodle sites and using it effectively for teaching and learning.

Best Practices and Universal Design for Learning

Alignment of objectives, Assessment, and Strategies 

I now understand the importance of alignment and how to achieve this. I know that the participants in my workshops will be able to clearly identify progress made in relation to course objectives. I am confident that I’m presenting what I said I would and my learners can clearly see how the activities help them progress toward goals.

Universal Design for Learning

In the past, I think I understood Universal Design for Learning as more for students with disabilities. I now understand that “Universal design for learning is a set of principles or guidelines that help designers create educational experiences that level the playing field.” (Manning, 2017) I am a visual learner — if I am trying to learn something without visual input, I know I will struggle. Knowing this, I always try to provide written documentation to my learners, and sometimes video tutorials. I’m even more aware that in all ways I present instruction I need to give my learners options to ensure they have the best chance to be successful. (UDL Guidelines, 2017)

With previous workshops, the assessment has been in person with the faculty member showing me their Moodle site in it’s very basic form. I never really knew if the information I taught “stuck” with them. In this course, I have intentionally addressed Absorb activities, Do activities and most importantly Connect activities to give the faculty time and opportunity to really understand the connections between the activities and what they are learning. They are being asked to apply what they’ve learned to create a real Moodle course they will teach during the upcoming semester, hopefully getting them to go beyond the remember and understand levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy and approach the higher order thinking of analyzing and even creating.

Growth as an Instructional Designer

As a converted instructional technologist new to the instructional design field, I am still growing in my understanding of it all.  I have found the  discussions to be very helpful in getting feedback from my classmates. I was challenged by the definitions of assessment versus evaluation, but the readings lent clarity as I learned the important distinctions between formative, summative, and confirmative assessment and evaluation. I also learned how to align objectives, assessment, and instructional strategies while incorporating new information about UDL and best practices in instructional design. It is a lot to balance but my portfolio project helped me present new ideas using content I am familiar with. Putting this project together, with the help of classmates, has definitely helped me grow and feel more confident as an instructional designer.

Horton, W. (2012). E-Learning by Design (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer. (p.52)

Manning, S. (2017, June 13). Module 7: Introduction to Universal Design for Learning. Retrieved August 14, 2017, from https://uwstout.courses.wisconsin.edu/d2l/le/content/3796501/viewContent/23261985/View

UDL Guidelines: Theory & Practice Version. (2017, April 17). Retrieved August 14, 2017, from http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines_theorypractice

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