The message is clear, there should be fuzzy, permeable, and changeable borders between isolated organizational spaces, where innovation can emerge and seep through the organization, without the bottlenecks and filtering of artificially imposed hierarchical layers. Dron, J.(2014)
At the beginning of my teaching career, I found myself teaching 8 to 10 classes a day in a country I knew very little about, and with very little experience. Out of fear and having only one other teacher at my school who was also in their early 20’s and was also very inexperienced, we relied on the teachers’ guides and lesson plans. After sometimes teaching the exact same lesson in the exact same way, it became clear that every class was different and that no matter how much you prepared or lesson planned, there was no guarantee that the lesson would yield the results our class had hoped for. I realized that it was better to have a rough plan and be open to all the things that you cannot plan for. Those unexpected roadblocks are the moments when real learning begins.
After many years of planning lessons for other courses and teachers, creating curriculum for proposals for government funding and designing instruction to present to accreditation organizations like PCTIA (Private Career Training Institutions Agency), I can understand how lesson planning and instructional design are different yet they both need to allow for that fuzzy grey area where teachers or trainers can work between the lines and be granted the freedom and creativity to do what they do best.
Right or wrong, I generally make decisions that resonate with my experiences as a teacher. I am not always sure that this is the best way but until LRNT 524, I haven’t had the opportunity to explore different models. Working for a nonprofit, although a large one, time and money always seem to be the most important factor for our organization when making decisions. If too much money is spent on the design process, there will be less money for things such as settlement and lodging. This can be frustrating for those of us on the education side of things.
Now, when I am given the opportunity to make decisions in the design process, I generally use a model I have developed over the years. If I compare it to the models I have learned in the last two weeks, it is a hybrid of microlearning and Gagnes’ 9 Events of Instruction. The process is highly segmented and quick paced. It uses everything from sensory memory, to working memory and long-term memory. At the beginning, it is important to get the learners attention. There is also a short presentation section that can take many forms followed by practice and then production. There is also time for recall of prior learning that can be at the end or the beginning to encourage retention. The lesson can also be broken down into smaller units that can be moved or elaborated on. Although far from perfect, it has served me well. I try to, as Van Aken says, make small evolutionary adjustments over time and design a small hatch in the roof that lets in light and air like a “sun roof” (2005). With students who are from all over the world and many who have literacy issues in their own languages, there must be great flexibility. There is also a high possibility of culture clash. For instance, sometimes there is pairwork or teamwork with students who come from countries that have been historically at odds. All of these factors combined with continual enrollment and daily intake creates a dynamic and unpredictable learning environment.
This week learning so many new models has been invaluable for me to understand how I make decisions and reflect on the many parts and pieces that can be refined and improved upon. Could this be a new beginning? Will I have a new awareness of what I do and have done over the last 20 years? How can I apply it to my practice? Can instructional design help my colleagues and I navigate this new hybrid learning shift at ISS of BC? What have been your experiences? Please let me know in the comments section below.
Brown, A. H., & Green, T. D. (2018). Beyond teaching instructional design models: exploring the design process to advance professional development and expertise. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 30(1), 176-186.
Dron, J. (2014). Chapter 9: Innovation and Change: Changing how we Change. In Zawacki-Richter, O. & T. Anderson (Eds.), Online distance education: Towards a research agenda. Athabasca, AB: AU Press.