Analysis & Design

How are analysis and design related for you? Think about it in the context of the articles and chapters we have read thus far. How closely should these two pieces of the model connect? How does the Information R/Evolution affect each of these?

Analysis is really the foundation of Instructional Design.  Without analysis, Instructional Design would be meaningless, and certainly ineffective.  In every model of Instructional Design that I’ve read about (in this class and in previous classes), analysis is always the first step.  Instructional Design without analyzing the problem and figuring out your goal is not design… it’s shooting in the dark.  So in that regard, analysis is imperative to Instructional Design.  Analysis could potentially stand on its own, but ID is nothing with analysis.

The video about the Information R/Evolution is a creative way to showcase how the entire discourse and definition of information has changed as the way we store, access, and share information has evolved, and that it will continue to do so (especially if we can think beyond our previous assumptions about information and the best way to store/access/share it).  With that in mind, this Information R/Evolution affects analysis in that our means of collecting data and information are rapidly changing and expanding, which can be both good and bad.  It’s good in that we are never lacking the information we seek – but it can be bad in that we now have information overload and must get better at sorting and distinguishing between good source and bad source.  Instructional Design is affected by this revolution in part because it relies on analysis, but also because ID serves as the vehicle for sharing information.  So as our means of storing/accessing/sharing information makes a huge paradigm shift, our vehicle for delivering that data in a meaningful way must shift as well, lest it be rendered obsolete.  If ID does not change with the times, it does a disservice to the learner.  As the video says towards the end, we must be ready to, “harness, create, critique, organize, and understand” information in new ways if we wish to remain relevant.

Instructional Design Analysis: QR codes in the classroom

I’m currently developing an instructional design for a professional development workshop that teaches k-12 teachers the many ways QR codes can be incorporated into the classroom.  In the analysis process (the first step in our design process), I learned that a lot of people do not know what QR codes are (at least not by name — though many recognize them when they see them).  Even those who know what a QR code is often didn’t know how many different uses they can have — that you can use them to open a link, save text information, even download contact information into your phone!  The analysis process helped me compile a list of needs, and has given me an overall, organized focus of the training goals and objectives, which will help me in the development of my instructional design.  For this instructional design, the goals and objectives are as follows:

  1. The learner will become familiar with QR codes.  They will be able to:
    1. Define what a QR code is.
    2. Give examples of how QR codes are used.
    3. Choose, download, and effectively use an appropriate QR reader app for their smartphone or iPad.
    4. Distinguish between different types of QR codes (URL, Text, Phone Number, SMS, Business Contact) and when each is best used.
    5. Create their own QR codes.
  2. The learner will understand new ways to incorporate QR codes into the classroom.  They will be able to:
    1. Modify example QR code lessons and uses in a classroom to fit their needs.
    2. Design their own QR code lesson for the following year.
    3. Assess the drawbacks and benefits of integrating this type of technology into a classroom setting.

With this set of goals and specific objectives in mind, I imagine the first part of the training will be simple explanation and demonstration of QR codes, followed by some hands-on use and then creation of QR codes by attendees.  After people get familiar with QR codes (Goal #1), we will apply that new knowledge of this technology to how we can incorporate that into a classroom.  Examples of how other people have integrated QR codes will be provided, and attendees will brainstorm and modify how they can use similar techniques in their own classroom.  Once they have brainstormed a bit, they will have time to fully develop a ready-to-go lesson that they will commit to using in the upcoming school year.  As a closure, they will reflect on the benefits and drawbacks to this new technology (ex., integrating technology is a district-wide goal and can help engage students more, but sometimes can be very frustrating from a teacher’s point of view because of how often things go wrong with technology).  I’m excited to develop the rest of this instruction!

The Louisiana Purchase and Supersonic Space Jumping (etc.)

When discussing communication of any type, time and distance are the two key players in relaying a message.  Think about the Louisiana Purchase, for example – my students (and younger people in general… probably to an extent even us!) are so far removed from the bygone days of waiting for messages to arrive, that it blows their minds when you explain that Jefferson sent negotiators with a general plan of action to purchase New Orleans for $10 million… but that he had to trust them to make decisions on behalf of him and the country, because there was no super quick, cross-country way to relay messages.  When the negotiators were offered the entire territory for only $5 million more, they didn’t have time to write the president and get his blessing, because that could have taken months!  It was more like, “Hey, so… we spent 50% more than you asked – but we doubled the size of our country!  I hope you’re cool with that.”  Further example:  they officially signed the treaty April 30 of 1804, and it didn’t arrive in D.C. until July 4!

 Time has certainly changed.  Now teenagers freak out if their significant other doesn’t text them back instantly.  “OMG, r we ok?”  Distance is no longer much of an issue, as you can (basically) instantaneously connect with people all over the world – even in space!! (Did anyone see that crazy supersonic space jump back in October?!  I watched it live and thought “This is so scary and so cool!”)  I feel the world of today relies much more on these synchronous communications – where what we’re doing and what the receiver is doing are constantly being relayed back and forth.  It’s much more efficient.    

That’s not to say that asynchronous communication does not have its place.  A lot of subtle, simple communication, like between a mouse click and what you see on your computer screen, does not require a continuous loop of information.  Your little laser mouse will go dark until it is disturbed again.  It would be inefficient (energy-wise) for the mouse to constantly be relaying to your computer, “Hey!  I’m inactive!  Yep… still not doing anything…” and it would be inefficient for the computer to have to constantly receive and decode that information.  On a broader level, in the classroom it is much more efficient to send out an asynchronous message – such as a mass emailed progress report (click, click, send) – than it would be to have synchronous phone calls with each student’s parent about grades (the horror!).  Telecommunications has probably made its most appreciated contributions in the realm of productivity, especially in a classroom.  I remember my teachers having to hand grade, average with calculators, the whole nine yards.  And what about attendance?  We used to have to manually write Absent/Present/Tardy for EVERY kid, EVERY period, EVERY day.  And that had to be manually entered into a computer by some poor soul in the front office.  Now it’s all online, takes all of 30 seconds and is recorded digitally.  Talk about time savers.

What I think is especially interesting is that as we feel more entitled to faster telecommunications that transcend time and space in crazy-cool ways, I feel like it also affects our cultural perception of time and patience to a degree.  I remember playing with the internet on a phone for the first time thinking this is SO COOL.  I don’t remember how long it took to load, though I’m sure by today’s standards it was super slow.  Now if a page takes more than 15 seconds to appear like it’s doing something, we get annoyed at how “slow” it’s going.  Slow!  15 seconds!  Information signals traveling through space to satellites and back to our phones… in 15 seconds.  It’s mind blowing, but doesn’t impress us anymore.  And that bothers me.  But that’s another topic for another day!

Personal Learning Theory

If I had to choose one learning theory, I feel that constructivism probably best matches my personal beliefs about learning.  Constructivism suggest that everyone learns in their own way at their own pace, and that their personal experiences can affect their worldview (and thus learning process).  Also, there is an emphasis on ‘learning by doing’ — and I’ve always found that new information sticks and has more meaning with my students when I make them go through the process of discovery rather than talk at them with a power point. 

Now, does this always work, every time, for every student?  Definitely no.  Also, I think it’s interesting what Leidner and Jardenpaa say about constructivism in theory vs. in practice —  how in today’s classroom of You-Must-Learn-This-Or-Else Standards teachers try to create discovery lessons that guide students to a specific point they ought to learn… when really the theory promotes open-ended learning, with enriching experiences that encourage abstract thought but don’t define where the learning should be taken.  I really wish that society would learn to trust our kids’ natural curiosity and let it bloom once again, because I feel (especially with more frequent, critical standardized testing, starting earlier and earlier, with more strings [$$$/job security/graduation/etc.] attached to results) we have all but completely crushed that innate capacity and want of discovery-lead learning, and without curiosity we’ve become a society of apathy and/or dependency vs. wonder and innovation (at least within the high school classroom, which is all I consider myself much of an expert in :). 

Instructional Design through homemade video…

The video above is a sort of homemade attempt at informing people of the devastating effects that the coal industry had on Centralia, Pennsylvania.  It can be considered instructional design because it is instructing the viewer about what happened to Centralia, and how the effects of the underground coal fire still continue and will continue for as many as a thousand years.  The intro with the kind of emotional music helps to catch the viewer’s attention and pique their interest.  The video quality is not great, but it does the job and allows people to see what Centralia looks like today while a narrator discusses how the city devolved to its current population of 15 people.

It gets especially interesting when they get to the warning signs and go beyond them, showing how smoke rises from the ground and from pipes in the ground, explaining that this is from the underground coal fire.  They demonstrate how hot the ground is by showing that a match will light on touching the hot ground.  At one point rain begins to fall, and the video’s sound begins to crackle, which the narrators describe as the immediate evaporation of the rain upon impact.

While certainly novice, this video goes to show it doesn’t take a hi-tech, super professional organization to make an effective demonstration of instructional design.

Real World ID

Some Real World Instructional Design — specifically, the Slap Chop infomercial and IKEA instruction manuals…

What were the goals of the instruction?
The main goal of the instruction is to show how easy it is to chop up stuff in the kitchen using their fancy Slap Chop.  They also imply that the reason we don’t eat healthier is that it takes more time to prepare healthy stuff — but not with the Slap Chop!
How effective was it?
That Vince the infomercial guy is funny and pretty convincing.  It had me thinking I want a slap chop.  And the Gratey or whatever that thing was called.
What are three things you learned that you are not likely to forget?
1) The name of the product (Slap Chop). 2) That cleaning the thing is as easy because it comes apart. 3) That I have to “beware of imitators” because other similar devices are “useless.” 🙂

Oh, IKEA instructions… (<– pdf)
What were the goals of the instruction?
The goal of this instruction is to get you to put together the (in?)famous IKEA Poang Rocking chair.
How effective was it?
Well, the chair got put together…. but not without some headache and confusion.
What are three things you learned that you are not likely to forget?
1) Double check the number of the screw you are supposed to use. 2) The face of that little IKEA guy who directs you to call IKEA if you have questions. 3) I really, really, really appreciate words in instruction manuals.  I like pictures, too, but ideally instruction manuals should have both!

Instructional Design

Instructional design is hugely important to my future work goals.  As a teacher and instructional specialist, it’s my job to be really effective at instructional design.  I’m interested in discovering how a variety of new technologies can be incorporated into effective instructional design as tools for teachers and students alike, both for productivity tasks and active learning activities.  Understanding the foundations of instructional design allows innovators a good base to work from when working in new technologies.  I’m hoping to be part of that innovative sphere, so the more I can learn about instructional design now, the better able I will be to successfully meld the old with the new.

(Me and the my sister’s fancy new original iPhone, circa July 2007)

I took this quiz which determines your overall life philosophy, and the results didn’t surprise me much — I fit most with Existentialism (followed closely by Utilitarianism).  Basically this suggests that I believe I am in control of my destiny and that I determine the purpose of my life — and I’d totally agree with it.  Jean-Paul Sartre was given as a model existential philosopher, quoted as saying, “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”  And one of my favorite quotes — “The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do” — falls in line with this philosophy.  My philosophy could very well affect my perceptions and theories concerning instructional design — I’m very much an “own up and take care of business” type gal — but I will need to be aware of this as not all people have the same life philosophy, and if I design instruction without this cognizance, it might rely on assumptions that are not valid, and thus be unsuccessful.