theoryDuring a session last week at AERA on theory and practice in instructional design and elearning, I piped in with a comment about folks who I thought were doing theory better than those of us in higher education.  In fact, I thought these folks were making theory not sound like theory at all.  They are providing to a large audience of practitioners through their blog posts a wealth of applicable knowledge and skills in very digestible ways.

My comment must have struck a nerve.  After the session, I had three or four folks come up to me wanting the names of the folks I mentioned.  This morning, I got email asking for the names, too.  So, I thought I would drop these names into a post about folks that I read for instructional design and development.  Folks who I think have a lot to teach my student and myself about instructional design.  In no particular order:

Tom Kuhlmann at Articulate
Tom works for Articulate in their user community division.  He spends a lot of time writing posts about graphic, visual, and message design, particularly using Powerpoint (because Articulate is a plug-in to Powerpoint).  But he also writes some ridiculously practical posts on instructional design.  Some of my favorite posts are:

Cammy Bean & Kineo
Cammy Bean works at Kineo, a firm focused on design and development.  Cammy is the VP of Learning Design and writes posts at her own blog. In fact, the last post on Cammy’s blog is an interview with Tom Kuhlmann.  Small world.  Kineo, however, writes short elearning tips.  These gems are gold.  I sometimes disagree with their interpretations of some theories, but the posts are valuable.  Ones from Kineo and Cammy that I particularely like are:

The Learning Circuits Blog
Every month The Learning Circuits Blog hosted by Tony Karrer, CEO/CTO of TechEmpower, presents a “BIG Question” to the elearning community.  Practitioners, academics, and consultants alike offer up their interpretations and responses to the “BIG Question.  I’ve used the “BIG Question” in my own classes for students to consider their responses in comparison to others in the field. Some of the most interesting and favorite questions of mine:

<Insert Shameless Plug>Viral-Notebook
I thought I might insert a few of my students and my own posts that really garnered some interest and interesting view points as well.

That’s enough for now.  I’ll create another post with a few more later, though.  What other blogs do you read that represent theory and practice in the field of instructional design?

Tonight is the project showcase for my IDT 7095/8095: Developing Interactive Learning Environments II course.  The overwhelming majority of this course is based in working with a “live” external client.  At the beginning of the semester, student teams select clients from proposals I have received.  Then students work all semester with the client to analyze, design, develop, implement and evaluate a solution to the proposed problem.  As part of the showcase, student teams will present an executive summary of their projects’ problems, solutions and evaluations. This semester there are four strong teams.

CBL Designs repurposed text-based instructional job aids for shortening maintenance currently in use at most Long John Silver’s restaurant locations. This redesign incorporated the use of multimedia to attract and motivate learners from 16-25 years old. Their client is Maredith Adsit, Training Developer for Long John Silver’s Restaurant, based in Louisville, Kentucky.  CBL Designs combines the expertises of Kristy Conger, Amanda Bevis, and Jeremy Larson.

Design Domicile created a Web-based course to teach written and audio medical terms in Spanish used in a clinical setting. Their client is Dr. William Brescia, the Director of Instructional Technology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center – College of Medicine.  Design Domicile’s primaries are Carmen Weaver, Stacy Clayton, and Joey Weaver.

Innovative Design Taskforce developed Web-based, self-paced, and on-demand training that equips subject matter experts at International Paper to write adequate and well-structured assessment items.  Deborah Adams, Manager for Enterprise Learning Services, is their client.  Innovative Design Taskforce employs Terica Butler, Federico Gomez, and Dot Hale.

Top Stone created a refresher course for Leadership Values for managers to review instructional material and modeling videos through AutoZone’s learning management system.  Their client is Kevin Thorn, the LMS administrator at AutoZone.  Top Stone’s team includes Linda Sadler, Luther Bradfute, and Suha Tamim.

In addition to the primary project, students are also learning project management.  We follow Lynch and Roecker’s (2007) Project Managing e-Learning: A Handbook for Successful Design, Delivery and Management, which is based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).  In addition, we supplement with the Fast Forward MBA in Project Management, which has a wealth of examples and templates built in.

On top of the instructional design models from previous courses, including Morrison, Ross and Kemp and Dick, Carey and Carey, we emphasize rapid prototyping as a development model. So, you can see that students are doing a tremendous amount of work and learning.

These are my Jumptags for March 17th through April 13th:

These are my Jumptags for February 9th through March 17th:

University of Memphis
Image via Wikipedia

IDT 7095/8095 Project Showcase
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM,  April 22, 2009
Location: 301 Ball Hall

Dear friends,
I would like for you to add April 22 at 6:00 pm in 301 Ball Hall on the University of Memphis campus to your calendars.  Within our Instructional Design & Technology 7095/8095, project teams will be presenting synopses of their projects for this semester in a Project Showcase of live clients.  Their work represents approximately $15,000 – 20,000 worth of instructional development.  In the showcase, each team of students will present a 15-minute overview of their project and product. This is a professional presentation, and the content of this presentation will represent an executive summary of their projects.  I particularly encourage current students in our programs to attend in order to have a stronger vision of the requirements of the course and how your coursework prepares you for this course.

This semester there are four strong teams.

Design Domicile created a Web-based course to teach written and audio medical terms in Spanish used in a clinical setting. Their client is Dr. William Brescia, the Director of Instructional Technology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center – College of Medicine.  Design Domicile’s primaries are Carmen Weaver, Stacy Clayton, and Joey Weaver.

CBL Designs repurposed text-based instructional job aids for shortening maintenance currently in use at most Long John Silver’s restaurant locations. This redesign incorporated the use of multimedia to attract and motivate learners from 16-25 years old. Their client is Maredith Adsit, Training Developer for Long John Silver’s Restaurant, based in Louisville, Kentucky.  CBL Designs combines the expertises of Kristy Conger, Amanda Bevis, and Jeremy Larson.

Innovative Design Taskforce developed Web-based, self-paced, and on-demand training that equips subject matter experts at International Paper to write adequate and well-structured assessment items.  Deborah Adams, Manager for Enterprise Learning Services, is their client.  Innovative Design Taskforce employs Terica Butler, Federico Gomez, and Dot Hale.

Top Stone created a refresher course for Leadership Values for managers to review instructional material and modeling videos through AutoZone‘s learning management system.  Their client is Kevin Thorn, the LMS administrator at AutoZone.  Top Stone’s team includes Linda Sadler, Luther Bradfute, and Suha Tamim.

Along with the IDT faculty and the project clients, I hope you can make it.
~michael

Guest Blogger PostAs I reminisce on my undergraduate Education Psychology course and graduate courses that promoted the need for incorporating constructivist practices in the classroom to “prove” you are a student-centered educator, I often contemplated the effectiveness of the constructivist teacher in the classroom. Before revealing my perspective, let’s identify some key points related to constructivism.

5 keys of Constructivism

  • Constructivism is not a theory of learning instead it is philosophy that underlines various theories and combines them to form an epistemology
  • Constructivists promote the need for the learner to discover their own knowledge to enrich their experiences
  • Other names for constructivism are discovery learning and inquiry-based learning
  • According to constructivist, new knowledge acquired by the students must be re-constructed in the learners’ mind which involves eliminating any discrepancies to develop a knowledge structure that is meaningful to the student
  • Constructivist practices are usually prominent in science classrooms

Additionally, Tuncer Can stated on a blog post that students in a constructivist environment demonstrate the following qualities: self-controlling, realistic, scientific, and value generator just to name a few.

Before progressing let’s consider the following scenario: An algebra teacher is ready to introduce her students to the concept of pi (3.14) in the geometry portion of the lesson sequence. The students are enrolled in regular education classes and some have a solid understanding of basic algebra, while other students are lacking the necessary foundational skills to be successful with this concept. A constructivist would see this as a valuable opportunity to allow the students to discover the meaning of pi (3.14) through manipulating shapes, measuring shapes, comparing objects, etc.

However, if the students possess limited to no background knowledge of pi (3.14) are they truly able to construct their own knowledge? Will their knowledge of pi (3.14) be totally misconstrued or partially inaccurate? Are these inaccuracies acceptable because the student may have an epiphany and pi (3.14) will transform to knowledge in their minds? Do constructivists take cognitive overload into consideration when learning? How soon does the teacher intervene, since in the constructivist classroom the teacher is the “coach”?

Constructivism is a learning philosophy that has the potential to expand on a concept once it has been grasped by the learner, but if learners have limited knowledge are they able to construct (build) their own learning without the appropriate tool-background knowledge?

Being student centered means you take the needs of your learners first before delivering the instruction. A student centered educator is cognizant about the abilities of their learners and utilizes the instruction to bolster student achievement. When an educator has the students’ instructional levels, behavior characteristics, and effective strategies in their repertoire they are ensuring students are the primary focus from the development of the objectives to administering the evaluation. When learning is not achieved, the student-centered instructor determines the weaknesses and strengths of the learners and devises a plan on “how” to re-teach the concept/skill to achieve learner mastery.

Developing an in-depth knowledge regarding teaching and learning in order to diagnose and remediate instruction instantaneously to prevent frustration during instruction, and avoiding the possibility of a students’ motivation levels plummeting is student-centered instruction. Continuously providing students with motivational techniques to increase their confidence and performance level in the classroom promotes a student-centered environment. According to Dr. Kate Kinsella (2010), the research on motivation and learning states the most critical success factor for students is the ability for them to perceive themselves being successful. It would be quite difficult for a learner to perceive success while struggling to “discover” a new concept!  Delivering instruction customized to your learners needs and sustaining motivation in the classroom are the main ingredients of a students centered learning environment.  All of this can be accomplished in a classroom where the educator skipped the final exam essay question requiring him/her to support the constructivist viewpoint in an undergraduate Educational Psychology class!

References

Cruickshank, D., Bainer , D., & Metcalf, K. (1999). The act of teaching (4th ed) . Boston, MA : McGraw-Hill.

Can , T. (2007). Constructivist learner. Retrieved March 13, 2010 from Constructivist Education: http://constructivist-education.blogspot.com/.

Kinsella, K. (2010 March). Accountable student engagement in the READ 180 classroom. Webinar presentation presented on WebEX.

Reiser, R., Dempsey, J. (2007). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology(2nd ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ. Pearson

Guest blogger: Terica Butler is a former middle school reading/language arts teacher. She taught in an urban school setting for six years. After teaching, she transitioned into the role of an Implementation Consultant for Scholastic. She now has the opportunity to serve teachers and students in Memphis, Tennessee and other large urban districts.  Terica is presently pursing a doctoral degree from the University of Memphis. Her interest in education include: urban education, professional development for teachers, instructional design embedded in technology.  After completing her degree, Terica plans to continue improving the lives of teachers and students in school districts across the country!

I’m excited to say that it’s finally happened to me.  Today, one of my presentations, “Comparing Instructional Design Models,” made it to the home page of Slideshare — even it was only for a little while.  Earlier today, I received the following email:

Unfortunately, I missed capturing the link on Slideshare’s homepage.  But I have to say that I am “Wowed!”  I heard all this today from a colleague and friend Kevin Thorn, who said he saw one of my presentations get tweeted.  So that’s pretty cool.  Somebody I don’t know (that’s Mike Taylor) found one of my presentations and decided to share it.  That’s awesome!  Glad I could help.  Since this was new to me, I decided to search twitter to see if I could find out who all were interested in my presentation today.  And I found this:

Now, I am pleased to say that my friend Kevin (that’s him above as LearnNuggets) retweeted the original tweet, and then it got retweeted multiple times.  The folks who retweeted the presentation include folks that I admire and follow myself, such as Cammy Bean at Kineo and Dr. Allison Rossett at San Diego State.
So, what’s the stuff that caused this reaction?  It’s this presentation:
[slideshare id=3127392&doc=idmodels-100210151043-phpapp02]
I decided this semester that I would publish all my slides for my “Developing Interactive Learning Environments” course into Slideshare just to see what happens.  I guess I got my answer.

534 views.
5 favs.
2 embeds other than me.

So, why has this presentation resonated with others?  What did you like, dislike, or abhor about it? Thanks everybody for making me feel appreciated today.

Guest Blogger PostAs the opportunity arose to teach, I was hesitant because of the enormous responsibility I felt to ensure that the content presented would be understood and applied by the students in my class. As I began to teach, I had no idea the impact this might make on their lives. These individuals were characterized as the nontraditional student (NCES, 2002).  My concerns were whether I was going about the right way to teach such a group of adult learners.

I was eager to know if there were strategies for teaching adult learners. I had heard the term pedagogy, but through various workshops and conferences I was introduced to the term andragogy. What was the difference and did it matter? Malcolm Knowles (1977) laid the foundation that differentiates adult learners. This began my pursuit to further my own education to meet my needs, which has brought me through the Instructional Design and Technology program. In these courses I have learned theories, strategies and design principles to support learning.

The first lesson learned was from the ARCS model by John Keller. One particular element that stands out is relevance. Adult learners have an immediate need to make application of their learning. These learners bring life experiences that assist in integrated new knowledge into prior knowledge. Durff’s Blog, Making Connections illustrates the schema we have and for adults it is about making the connection quickly.

A second lesson I learned was internal motivation and self-direction. There comes a time where most of us consider learning as a life-long process and embrace the challenge. Our desire to learn improves understanding of concepts as it relates to our work, interests, and daily living. In Melanie Booth’s installments on adult learning, she sheds a different perspective from her toddler’s actions. Her first three installments illustrate perspective, growth, and experience which adults bring with them to the classroom.

As I teach adults, I am also an adult learner. The lessons learned from teaching adults along with my desire to further my education have connected more pieces to the puzzle. What pieces can you add about adult learning?

References

Knowles, M. S. (1977). The modern practice of adult education: Andragogy versus pedagogy (8th ed.). New York: Association Press.

National Center for Educational Statistics (2002). Findings from the condition of education 2002; Nontraditional undergraduates (NCES 2002-012). U.S. Department of Education, NCES. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Thompson, M. A., Deis, M.H. (n.d.). Andragogy for adult learners in higher education. Retrieved February 23, 2010 from http://business.clayton.edu/mthompso/02%20Allied%20Academy%20Paper%20Final.doc

Guest blogger: Amanda Bevis manages the Madison County Adult Education program in Jackson, TN.  Her prior work has gained her experience in healthcare, computer programming, and in the university setting all utilizing her computer experience. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Instructional Design and Technology.

Guest Blogger PostSCORM is a standard. That is the bottom line. It is a way to move content across Course Management Systems (CMS) and Learning Management Systems (LMS). It is a way to package information and move it between various conformant platforms. Standards make our lives easier. Imagine going shopping for a queen size mattress and none are the same size. Standards are important, but if SCORM is just a standard, then is it important to learning?

Some elearning professionals believe that SCORM is mandatory for anyone who is developing elearning. On his blog, Tony Karrer espouses the importance of SCORM as a standard for elearning when creating any content for an LMS. Other elearning professionals vigorously defend the standard because of improved interoperability of content across learning systems. Despite the heavy protection from some SCORM camps, others in the blogosphere admit to a variety of SCORM issues such as the difficulties non-technical users, such as teachers and instructors encounter, when trying to implement this standard.

Despite the many opinions elearning professionals have, the question still remains: Is SCORM important to learning? In my opinion, SCORM has nothing to do with learning.  First, learning is personal, and individuals learn in a variety of ways. Just because your elearning content is SCORM compliant doesn’t change how the learner will understand it. All it does is guarantee your learner can view the same content on more than one SCORM compliant system. SCORM standards do not affect other traditional methods of learning. Second, SCORM is only important to elearning distribution, not learning.  Having standards in elearning can be good, but standards do not change how people learn. Third, SCORM has nothing to do with the quality of the instruction. If the instructional design is poor, all of the SCORM in the world won’t help one bit.

Do you believe SCORM has an impact on learning in general? Do you think all elearning should be SCORM compliant? I look forward to your comments.

Guest blogger: Stacy Clayton is an IT Specialist with over 8 years of experience in Higher Education. She is employed at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. She manages websites, web conferencing, interactive development, and video services. Her interests are in creating elearning content and improving the way technology is used in the classroom at the university level.

Image courtesy of throwthedamnthing at http://www.flickr.com/photos/9473541@N02/2074888762/

Guest Blogger PostAs the world has moved from the industrial to the digital era, concepts as training, instruction, and even education have been reconsidered under the needs and challenges that the new era has brought. In some centuries, industrialized countries have moved from learning a craft by apprenticeship to more and more specialized training. Nowadays, the number of tasks and skills that a person needs to have in order to succeed, changes within and between jobs. Under these conditions, a linear vision of training and education to support job performance seems not to be the most efficient approach, either economically or from an instructional point of view.

In this order of things, a change was introduced with the use of Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSSs), an integrated electronic environments, computer-based systems, or just software components that help improve the performance of any given user within the system in which they must perform a task (Rupel, 2003). Although there seems to be a certain semantic struggle about agreeing in a name for EPSS solutions (check Toni Karrer’s blog for a discussion of terms like “ecoaching”, “eperformance”, “esupport”, and “einteraction”, among others), it is clear that the use of EPSSs requires rethinking  the relationship between learning and performance, and not just adjustments in more traditional perspectives on education, instruction, and training (Rosenberg, 1995). By properly designing, developing, and implementing an EPSS, users can begin tasks sooner when provided with appropriate forms of support that are integrated within the real-work performing context (Malcolm, 1998). This way, users are provided the knowledge they require in order to perform a task while they are actually performing it (Cole, 1997). In order to accomplish this, EPSSs need to simplify the steps required to perform a task, present “just-in-time” pertinent information, and help each user’s decision process about the actions that need to be taken (Rupel, 2003).

At a first glance, the idea looks absolutely fantastic to me. So, is this the future? Should EPSS replace training? After doing some reading, I need to side with the “yes” in this question, but, it would be more accurate to answer “yes, when EPSS is the right solution”. Not all performance issues are suitable to be addressed by taking an EPSS approach (Rosenberg, 1995). In his blog, Craig Borysowich provides some specific criteria to identify the conditions under which an EPSS may be needed, listing complexity, frequent changes, high cost of errors, and extensive required job knowledge as some of the criteria. He also recognizes the importance of external factors such as the availability of funds and equipment, the acceptance of computers as a support source by employees, and the need to keep the EPSS current for the viability of an EPSS approach.

In summary, EPSSs represent the application of a performance-centered (vs. knowledge-centered) perspective to solve performance problems that traditionally have been tackled by training and instruction. By using an EPSS approach, costs are lowered, performance is specifically addressed, and many support elements (job aids, assistants, training, etc) can be integrated to provide “just-in-time”, pertinent information to users for the task they are trying to complete. It is not just money what is considered, but also efficiency. Again, we need to add, if done well.

References

Cole, K., Fischer, O., & Saltzman, P. (1997) Just-in-time knowledge delivery. Communications of the ACM, 40 (7), 49-53. Retrieved on Feb 22, 2010, from: http://www.cparity.com/projects/AcmClassification/samples/256184.pdf

Rosenberg, M. (1995). Performance Technology, performance support, and the future of training: A commentary. Performance Improvement Quaterly, 8(1), 94-99. Retrieved on Feb 22, 2010, from: http://marcrosenberg.com/images/PIQ.pdf

Rupel, R. (2003). Learning from EPSS. In STC’s 50th Annual Conference Proceedings. Retrieved on Feb 22, 2010, from: http://www.stc.org/ConfProceed/2003/PDFs/STC50-078.pdf

Malcolm, S. (1998). EPSS tomorrow. Training, 64-69. Retrieved on Feb 22, 2010, from: http://www.performance-vision.com/articles/art-epss2mrw.htm

Guest blogger: Federico Gomez works as an associate professor for Christian Brothers University in Memphis, where he teaches Spanish language and literature courses. He has a background in Psychology and Methodology for the Behavioral Sciences, and he is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Instructional Design and Technology at the University of Memphis. His research interests include web-based instruction, non-profit training, open-source technology for education, and constructivist approaches to instruction. He would like to work in non-profit related instruction and community building through instructional design in the future.

Image from Karin Dalziel at http://www.flickr.com/photos/nirak/842744816/