Instructional designers are faced with new opportunities and challenges as they adapt to the progress in the science of learning and the emergence of new technologies. As teachers and learners evolve in their learning practices and habits (e.g., mobile, online, blended, and OER), it is becoming more crucial to understand the impact of instructional design and design instruction regardless of the technology or practice. The blog on open pedagogy by Dr. Bates (2019), emphasized that education starts with the learners. He discussed the opportunities that the open education brings and its nuances; and the importance of anchoring it in robust instructional design that is learner-centred. This statement is further strengthened by Merrill (2002) in the first principles of instruction, which states that learning is promoted when learners are engaged in:
- solving real-world problems
- activating prior experience to assist in learning new skills
- demonstrating the new skills to be acquired
- applying the newly acquired skills
- integrating it into real-world situations
My key take-away from both authors is that learner’s engagement is crucial for learning to be effective. Regardless of the medium and technology learners should be at the heart of the design; hence, a learner-centred design should be the priority. Open pedagogy, as asserted by Dr. Bates, is a philosophy and a way of thinking that informs the practice and should not be confused with the practice itself.
As I am introduced to the concept of designing instruction, I ponder on the role of the instructional designer and the rapid shift and change required to be able to adapt to the demand of the 21st-century learners. Do instructional designers provided with the time and support to enhance their digital literacies and skills? Do instructional designers see themselves as change agent and leaders that can influence change in designing instructions? In this digital era, instructional designers need to focus not only on their technical skills but also on their interpersonal and leadership skills as leaders and proponents of change.
As I learn more about innovation, design, and learning environments, I am curious to understand what the future holds for instructional designers in this rapidly changing environment. How can they be supported to be more effective in their practice? As Kenny, Zhang, Schwier, & Campbell (2005) stated, to support instructional designers, it is essential to understand what they do and how to assist them to expand their practices and help them realize their roles as leaders and change agents in the enterprise of learning.
Bates, Tony. 2019, September 16. Chapter 11.4 Open Pedagogy [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.tonybates.ca/2019/09/26/chapter-11-4-open-pedagogy/
Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instruction. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50(3), 43-59. Retrieved from https://link-springer-com.ezproxy.royalroads.ca/article/10.1007/BF02505024
Kenny, R., Zhang, Z., Schwier, R., & Campbell, K. (2005). A review of what instructional designers do: Questions answered and questions not asked [HTML page]. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology 31(1). https://doi.org/10.21432/T2JW2P