Reflecting on some of the readings, our class projects and some of the issues which have arisen in my work environment, I see a number of recurring themes which relate to instructional design.
The first is the idea that design and evaluation seem to function in tandem with one another. In our text, “Designing Instruction for Technology-Enhanced Learning” Muilenburg and Berge (2002) assert that, “Evaluation of the students, the instructor, and the course materials must be conducted.” They further add that, “Evaluating student satisfaction, the quality of the instructor, and course materials will probably require the development of some customized instruments.” This type of evaluation goes beyond the formative and summative evaluations of the learners which must be conducted over the course of a particular learning experience. This type of evaluation, rather, is intended to gauge whether or not the instructional design and teaching methods have been effectively integrated into the learning environment. This is of particular importance for online learning, as it allows instructional designers to adjust and revise their design and teaching strategies throughout the delivery of a course.
Another recurring theme that has emerged for me is that of “training the trainers”. At a recent conference sponsored by the American College of Surgeons on simulation in surgical training, emphasis was placed upon the need to train experts in the field of surgical practice to teach and evaluate their students. Being an expert in field of practice does not necessarily imply that one is skilled in the ability to effectively teach and evaluate learning in that same area. As with many online experiences, training trainers is key to implementing successful simulation experiences in surgical training.
A third theme which has been reinforced for me both in the classroom and in the workplace is that of collaboration. Pulling together the expertise of practitioners, educators, researchers and instructional designers will maximize the design and delivery of course materials. In surgical education, and particularly simulation, there is much to be gained from the combined efforts of the practicitioners’ knowledge and experience, the educators’ craft of teaching, researchers’ abilities to design valid and reliable instruments to measure learning and analyze the effectiveness of teaching strategies, and the expertise from IT individuals in building and designing learning environments. The same holds true in many other areas of education.
So, with this idea of collaboration in mind, a few questions come to mind. What are the barriers in our various educational environments which prevent true collaboration of professionals? What models are there which yield insight into how these barriers could be addressed? What initiatives can be or are being taken in our own academic settings to build community and collaboration for future educational collaboration? Finally, is there a role for instructional designers in helping to ensure educational collaboration? Some food for thought.
Muilenburg, L.Y., & Berge, Z.L. (2002). Designing discussion for the online classroom. In Rogers, P.L., Designing instruction for technology-enhanced learning. (pp. 100 – 113). Retrieved from https://blackboard.vcu.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-3966367-dt-content-rid-6714344_2/courses/ADLT-642-901-2013Spring/DESIGNING%20INSTRUCTION%20FOR%20TECHNOLOGY.pdf