Thursday, January 27, 2011

Section 1: Defining the Field

Evolving Definitions of Instructional Design and Technology
Over the years, the definitions for the field of instructional design and technology have grown and changed as technology was introduced and became more advanced. With each introduction of new technology, there was a shift in the emphasis of its use in education. According to Dempsey and Reiser (2007), the earlier definitions focused on instructional media. With the introduction of educational films, the “visual instruction” movement began. With advances in motion pictures with sound and radio broadcasting, the shift went to “audiovisual instruction”. Gradually a transfer occurred that moved the focus of instructional technology from media to being a systematic process. This shift in focus for the definition demonstrated that education now was moving attention to learning instead of just instruction. With the advancements in technology such as computers and the Internet, the definition seemed to again undergo a shift moving to an increased interest in new instructional strategies and practices. With this, the definition moved to include the terms “theory” and “practice".  This new perspective began to emphasize that the field intended to improve learning by acknowledging the vital role of the learner. As the definitions for this field evolved through time and technological advancements, I feel that it continually improved.

Just as the professional definitions of this field changed through time, my own definition of instructional design and technology has changed and evolved throughout my years in education. Earlier in my career as a teacher, the textbook was the essential tool that I felt was needed in the classroom for my students. I used technology in the classroom, but it was used more in creating instructional materials such as worksheets and presentations. Today, I cannot imagine entering my classroom and instructing students without my students also using technology in the learning process. I can see how my emphasis changed from instruction to learning. Through conferences, workshops, and by taking technology courses, I am increasing my knowledge of the many different ways that technology can be implemented into the classroom for the students to use to improve their learning.
My definition of instructional design and technology involves a complex process of creating a design for instruction that includes the implementation of procedures, technological devices, and resources with continual evaluation and revision to improve instruction and learning.

Redesigned Model of Instructional Design
After reviewing the Dick, Carey and Carey model of instructional design and other models, I created a model that combines elements from several models. To give the model a better visual representation of a systematic process, I reshaped the model to make it circular. I excluded and added components as I felt were needed. My redesigned model is shown below:

My Redesigned Instructional Design Model
Created Using Diagrams in PowerPoint

How the Model Adheres to the Characteristics of Instructional Design, My Work Environment, and My Definition of Instructional Design:

The instructional design is learner centered. In each phase of the design process the learner must be the focus. Analyzing the learner is crucial in the beginning phases because the information collected here will be the focus in completing all other phases of the instructional design process. When the learner is able to demonstrate evidence of learning successfully, the goal of the design has been met.
The instructional design is goal oriented. The first phase of the process is to identify the goals or expectations of instruction. All other phases are completed to ensure that the goals are attainable for the learner. Performance objectives allow the learner to know what the expected outcome of the learning goals. 

The instructional design focuses on meaningful performance.  Performance objectives are created to allow learners to understand how they will be expected to apply the knowledge. I believe that it is very important at this phase to show the learner the end result as well as explain the objectives. Assessment will be created that will allow the learners to demonstrate their mastery of content by actually applying and solving problems using their newly acquired knowledge.
The instructional design assumes outcomes can be measured in a reliable and valid way. In developing the assessment tools, the learner must be able to demonstrate evidence of learning through actual performance; not just by rote memorization. There should be continual and consistent assessment to ensure that the learner truly is able to use the knowledge and can build upon that knowledge to solve problems in the future.

The instructional design is empirical, iterative, and self-correcting. Information is continually collected and analyzed throughout each phase through observation and trial and error experiences. Trial and error is the best teacher. Revision is needed throughout each phase of the process to continually improve and guide the instructor in assuring the success of the learners. Without evaluation and revision, the lessons will never improve.
The instructional design typically is a team effort. It usually takes several individuals working together as a team to complete all phases of the instructional design process. Each member of the team may bring a certain area of expertise. In my case, teachers who teach in the same area of instruction, usually combine their knowledge and skills to create the instructional design for subject content for the course. This helps ensure that learners are acquiring the same knowledge for the same course even when each may have a different instructor.

Technology: Present Use in Education and Expected Future Use in K-12, Higher, and Adult Education

Micrsoft Office Clipart Image
Technology in the classroom has moved from film strips to instructional television to the Internet. With each new technological advance, predictions were made that hailed the technology as a turning point for education. Most predictions have still not been realized. However, education has nonetheless undergone radical changes due to technology. We see this most in the changes in instructional strategies and design. Technology was first used primarily by the teachers in aiding the instructional process and as a supplement to instruction. Technology has gradually moved out of the teacher’s hands and into the students’ hands; which is where it should be. Students need to not only see technology used, but be able to use technology in solving problems and applying knowledge that has been learned. Technology once was just a means of instructional aide for the teacher. Now it is the key to not only instructional delivery, but also to the assessment and evaluation of the learner.
I believe that the use of technology by students in the classroom will continually grow in the K12 educational arena. Teachers are swarming to workshops and conferences that focus on new strategies and methods for utilizing technology in the classroom. Teachers are eager to learn and most are excited by the changes in technology and their potential impact on improved student performance. I foresee more Web 2.0 technologies and mobile learning being utilized in the K12 educational classrooms. Many classrooms are already utilizing free applications, such as blogs, wikis, Google Docs, etc., to collaborate with their students and for students to collaborate with one another. These tools can also be used to assess the learner’s comprehension and grasp of the content. I also foresee online or hybrid courses being offered at most secondary schools. There are already several schools that are starting this trend. Our high school is considering adding two online courses for the next school year.
As for higher education and adult education, I believe that more and more classes will be offered as online courses; possibly even in virtual learning environments. Students want more freedom in choosing when they attend class and in creating their own learning environments, especially working students. New technology will continue to allow online learning to improve. Already I can see Web 2.0 technologies such as Skype or other teleconferencing technology being utilized for more face-to-face online interaction.
Education and the definition of instructional design will continually evolve and change as more technology is introduced, as the learning styles of our students change, and as educators grow in their use of technology in the classroom. I am excited and look forward to the future of education and of new technologies.


  1. Nice post! I created a flowchart using Word, but it didn't show up and I couldn't figure out how to post it. How did you save your diagram from power point? Maybe I'll try that next time.

  2. Just create in PowerPoint then use Save As to save JPEG file interchange format. It will save each slide as a JPEG image.

  3. I agree about on-line courses being added for students in upper grades. But, honestly can not see this as an effective learning tool in the earlier grades where students are less self-motivated.

  4. I liked how you included the Constructivist 5E model. I helped write the Science curriculum for my district this year, and we had to convert all of our existing lessons into the 5E format to match the new TEKS, it definitely makes you think about what we are doing to have the most impact on our students.