Google Analytics

Friday, July 24, 2009

What are the Results of Following an Instructional Design Process?

What are the Results of Good ID

While informal learning is all the rage and provides a number of benefits like speed and peer-to-peer interaction and exchanges of information, good, sound instructional systems design is still necessary. A systematic approach provides good sound instruction and promotes learning and knowledge acquisition. As designers of instruction via mobile, virtual worlds or social networking, we cannot ignore good instructional design. Many benefits can be obtain by following an instructional design model.

Designing good instruction does not happen by accident, it takes following a systematic process but the results of that process can be far more effective and productive than using a trial and error approach or "see what sticks" approach.

Some of the benefits of following a systematic process include:
  • Instructional quality is higher than trail and error approaches because the selection of content, use of specific instructional strategies, and engagement of the learner are approached systematically.
  • Motivation of the learner is higher because the instruction is designed to be appealing, motivating and targeted toward the learners needs.
  • Learner success increases with instruction that is systematically designed to teach and achieve clearly stated goals and outcomes.
  • Learner assessments are tightly integrated with the objectives of the instruction.
  • Higher quality instruction results from following a clearly defined process.
  • Research-based principles guide the selection of media and instructional strategies and approaches.
  • Consistency of delivery of instruction. Following a specific process for the development of all learning modules provides consistency between various courses developed by various instructors/designers. The general look and process of content exploration is standardized.
  • Courses are developed from the learner’s perspective and not from the viewpoint of the instructor’s knowledge or opinions on a topic.
  • Increased retention and recall among learners because of the rigorous process used to design the instruction.

Of course there are more benefits, what did I miss can you add any other?

Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide


Janet Clarey said...

I'm not sure the ID process as it exists today can be applied to the social web. What does that look like and how does that fit in to today's instructional design process?

I've identified several differentiators of "microlearning" typical of the social web:

*content has no formal teaching structure
*is situated
*is not dependent on time or place
*no grades / ratings / certifications
*relies on interaction with Internet media
*is not stored in a central repository
*takes a folksonomy approach to tagging vs. standardization
*is not standardized
*relies on peer-to-peer interaction
*is unorganized and unmanaged

I struggle with this issue. Thoughts?

Karl Kapp said...


Thanks for the comment! I think elements of the ID process (especially design) can and should be used with the social web to make it better for learning. As designers, we can provide guidelines to make the informal contributions more effective for a contributor’s co-workers.

We've both waded through a lot of social networking comments and not gotten any learning that we needed because of many of the issues you identify. Since time is money in a corporate setting--an instructional designer is needed to help streamline the learning that can take place in informal social networks.

As designers, we need to provide templates for meaningful contributions of one peer to another, perhaps a sample blog entry to use as a model, or a method of standardizing contributions, a list of key words so the folksonomy is limited, something that ties strategies to contributions to encourage learning and retention of the content contributed. These elements add structure to the contributions but still allow creativity.

Sometimes informal learning is overrated. It can take lots of time to find the right information and sometimes, it becomes noise and not learning. So designers are challenged with structuring the noise (like Google did to the web.)

As I have written before..."While learning can and does happen in non-designed situations, it may not be as efficient as it could be, it may not be deliberate and retention may not occur." You can see my posting Kapp Notes: Yes, We Should Keep ADDIE, HPT and ISD Models that explains why models for designing learning are important to keep even with today's social learning.

You have done a good job in identifying elements in microlearning that make learning in a social web structure...not stored centrally, not standardized...those can all be addressed with some ID process elements.

Specifically design. ie. teach concepts with examples and non-examples, use mnemonics for facts. So while social learning can be powerful, I think it needs elements of design to truly reach its full potential.

As always, the answer is a combination, not an absolute...instructional design and social web make for the best learning not exclusively one or the other. If we designers help contributors create instructionally sound informal microlearning then we are valuable as designers of an instructional system and not just designers of instructional content.

Just some thoughts.

Janet Clarey said...

And I continue to struggle...

I'm reminded of something I just re-read - Andrew McAfee's "Enterprise 2.0" article in MIT SLOAN Management Review published three years ago.


"...the technologists of Enterprise 2.0 are trying hard not to impose on users any preconceived notions about how work should proceed or how output should be categorized or structured. Instead they're building tools that let these aspects of knowledge work emerge."

If learners can't influence structure because they are forced to use templates then we don't have a social web at all.

The social web can (and should) co-exist with pre-existing structured learning (e-learning, classroom learning, knowledge bases, etc.) but replacing a growing folksonomy with a taxonomy turns the communication on the social web to something that looks a lot like learning objects doesn't it?

Karl Kapp said...


Interesting, but Web 2.0 does have structure. For example, Google has certain algorithms that make some web pages rise to the top and some fall to the bottom, in fact, much of the value of Google was it added order and structure to an unstructured environment. There was little value in all that massive information on the web until it was organized.

In the same way, Twitter asks users one questions, "What are you doing?"

Does it not make sense in a work environment to add some work related structure or in a learning environment add some learning related structure. So, for something like Twitter for example, let's have a question like;

"What problem are you solving?" or "What are you trying to learn?" or "How are you solving a customer's problem today?" The structure of the question will lead to different answers than Twitter's question which can lead to trivial like...going to the gym or eating ham and eggs which is not useful from a learning or work perspective.

Also, I've dealt with many subject matter experts who do not know where to begin writing a blog. They don't know what they would say or how they would structure it or even if it would be of value. When you consider that only a small group of people in any social system actually contribute to social networks and the rest lurk or are only casually interest, I don't think we can assume that everyone will just "get it" and choose the right folkonomy term or correctly format a blog entry so everyone can understand it.

Instead, I think some type of assistance must be given to those struggling with how to contribute to--not social networks--but work and learning networks which, I think, need some more structure and parameters than a social network.

In a work or learning network, the goal is to further knowledge, ideas and innovation and that is where the focus needs to be and can be when the conduits used for communication are properly structured.

So, given my experience with organizations implementing these networks, for social networking to function in an organization thought must be given to structure and parameters otherwise, the desired outcome--fast learning, quick innovation and beating a competitor to market get lost.