As with all the Walden courses taken over the past 4 years, I have discovered some wonderful new tools, reinforced the need for many of the techniques I currently use, and gained a great deal of confidence.
Interestingly, I have the advantage of already being deeply involved in the instructional design process. This focus has been more specifically from the technological side and how best to implement current technology into existing traditional courses and to also enhance online curriculum. Therefore, my knowledge that an effective instructional design model is both flexible and adaptable was strengthened by the course materials presented. The discussion with my classmates confirmed my belief that there is never one perfect approach to solving an instructional design challenge or problem.
One major lesson I reaffirmed from the readings and discussion of the past 8-weeks is that the goal of instructional design is to make learning more efficient and effective and to make learning less difficult. Although I am also considered a subject-matter expert, the course helped to distinguish between the instructor side of my life and instructional design. An instructional designer approaches the task from a content perspective but by first defining the problem and then determining what knowledge and skills are needed to solve the instructional problem. My main reason for pursuing this Master’s certificate is that I will work in both worlds, and assist student success from each venue. My major focus will, of course, be distance education.
While the course did not specifically deepen my understanding of how I personally learn, it did assist in enhancing my awareness of how my students learn. The information presented will certainly enable me to be more tolerant of their unique abilities and how to handle those individuals that sometimes seem to struggle. The discussions also provided me with some excellent examples of real-world issues and I will most definitely incorporate them into my current and future courses.
While I have never been very fond of studying theory, the focus on learning theories did supply me with a link to how students learn and process information. These concepts also gave me a better foundation for working with various learning styles. I found the review of multiple intelligences most helpful. By combining all 3 of these areas, I am now equipped to more fully adapt technology into my existing courses; thus applying both theory and real-world models.
Few things are more important in education than motivation. Teachers must be motivated to teach well. Students must be motivated to learn. This topic will continue to be one, if not, the most critical issue facing both instructors and instructional designers. I believe the future lies in technology to challenge students and keep their interest and desire to learn. However, many faculty and trainers must first overcome their own insecurities about incorporating all the wonderful tools we have at our disposal. Yet, designers must also remember that nothing take the place of direct contact in some manner. This feature must also be a key part of our repertoire.
In closing, I am truly looking forward to implementing many of the topics discussed in this course and also the next three courses that will give me the total set of tools for excellent instruction design. Hopefully, this exposure to all the facets of this terrific profession will also make me a better teacher in the process.