Sunday, September 8, 2013

Resources for the Instructional Designer

I am back on my quest to obtain credentials certifying my skills as an instructional designer. I started this blog about two years ago as part of an assignment and now I will be ‘resurrecting’ my blog, for awhile, to continue my quest. The assignment for week one - identify blogs that will serve as a resource in the instructional design field.

IconLogic’s Blog, ‘I Came, I Saw, I Learned’ ( ) is a blog I receive weekly email updates offering tips regarding various Adobe applications. I recently attended an online training session for Adobe Captivate to refresh my skills on the application. I find that the weekly updates from the author of this blog offers information and tips to help reinforce what I learned about the improvements and upgrades in Captivate 6. The author also provides a wealth about other Adobe applications as well.

The Rapid E-Learning Blog is part of the Articulate Network. This blog offers a variety of resources, tips and tools for Articulate applications. As I began my work as a consultant on various assignments I found that Articulate is an authoring tool that some learning organizations are beginning to use more than Adobe Captivate. This blog provides users with quick access to application resources.

The Training Magazine blog is a collection of articles related to the various aspects in the training arena. The collection of articles offers insight into a variety of areas that can aid instructional designers in staying informed with how other learning organizations are approaching the design and delivery of training to their employees.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Distant Learning

My definition of distance learning is based on what I observed during my first year of college.  When I think back to my first experience with distance learning, I remember sitting in summer school taking an art course.  I remember seeing students in another city on a television screen in the classroom as they listened to the instructor's lecture.  At the time, distant learning was foreign to me; all I knew was in-person classroom style learning.

    'The growth of online distance learning (e-learning) is explosive in almost all sectors, and in many developed and developing countries' (Huett et al., 70).  Working in a corporate training environment the past five years has exposed me to the changing world of distant learning and how it is used to provide training to employees throughout an organization.  I remember attending orientation training with local human resource representatives present to welcome newly hired employees and guide us though the process of completing required paperwork when I began working for my current employer.  That was over 10 years ago and the process for orienting newly hired employees has changed.  Today, a blended approach using e-learning activities and in-person training has been established to bring new employees on board.

    It appears that corporations are being motivated to move to e-learning in order to limit the impact to their bottom line.  Corporate training environments are embracing the use of technology to deliver training to employees. The use of technology offsets the cost of a facilitator traveling to various training sites and reduces the loss of productivity that is often incurred when an employee is away from their work environment.  Delivering training through e-learning activities provides employees with immediate access; however questions often surface in regards to effectiveness of the information being delivered (Huett et al., 70). 

    Producing and implementing e-learning training for employees to access virtually is a benefit corporations are embracing. However, evaluation of the effectiveness of the training and if it is meeting the need of the learners often goes unaddressed.  Designing and implementing instruction is sometimes reactive to a request for training without an assessment of the audience's needs.  "Training often is judged solely by the number of learner hours logged or by pure appearance" (Huett et al, 71).  Being able to look beyond the training numbers and evaluate the effectiveness of the training can help ensure that learners are receiving the information needed to perform their job.
 As distant learning continues to evolve, I believe more corporations and educational institutions will look to deliver instruction using this delivery method.  Distant learning offers an option of self-pace learning and flexibility that may appeal to those in the corporate sector looking to provide training to employees without having to leave their desk.  As this approach for delivering instruction evolves, instructional designers (ID) will need to change and expand their skill sets in e-learning design in order to meet the growing field of distant learning.

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for  instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 1: Training and development).  TechTrends, 52(3), 70–75.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Value of Resources

This week’s required assignment for the instructional design course I am currently taking is to search for resources on discussion topics for the week and comment on the value of the resources found.
Resource 1:  Information-Processing Theory
 “A leading orientation in experimental psychology that focuses on how people select, process and internalize information and how they use it to make decisions and guide their behavior.”
For me, the quote summarizes the Information-Process theory.  In the article, the author breaks down the information-processing theory of human cognition in basic stages.  The article addresses how we as individuals, in stages, intake information, process the information and store it for later retrieval from either our short-term or long-term memory. An instructional designer's understanding of this theory can impact how they approach the design of training.
The author also recommends additional readings that pertain to information processing and problem solving, which relate to other topics that are addressed in my required text for the course.

Resource 2: Problem Solving
The Complete Method of Creative Problem Solving guide offers an array of problem solving steps and techniques using non-technical language that I believe can be easily used by anyone.  Content on this site ranges from ‘What is Problem Solving?’ to problem solving lesson plans for teachers. 
In the instructional designer role, understanding the science of problem solving is important.  When designing training, designers need to have some sense of how individuals learn and comprehend information. I appreciate the author's approach in organizing the information on the website and keeping it simple for individuals to grasp.  The bonus of this site - the offering of problem solving techniques I can refer to when developing and designing training.

Monday, November 8, 2010

How Do We Learn?

As I embark on this journey of learning all there is to know about Instructional Design, my first assignment is to understand learning theories and learning styles that play a part in how I learn.  In reading the article, Learning Theory, I am focused on how the author connects ‘learning as a product’ and ‘learning as a process’ (Smith, M.K. (1009). 

The author discusses how the product of learning is change.  If one sees change, then the desired outcome has been achieved.  I believe you can see the product of ‘learning’ only if the person changes due to understanding what it was to be learned. Here is where the learning as a process comes into play.  How the information is presented affects the outcome – will the learner grasp what is needed to perform?

The product of learning is often on the display in many of our school systems. Children are consistently tested to assess if they have been ‘changed’ by what has been presented.  Teachers are assessed on the processes applied in presenting what is needed to be learned and if their students have a true understanding of the content – did their students pass the test?

 In an adult learning environment, learners’ assessment of the training received is often evident if they are able to apply what they is learned once they return to the job.  Did what they learn in training produce a ‘change’ in how they perform a process, participate on a project or lead a team of their peers?  Was the presentation of the learning presented in an environment for the learner to comprehend?  

Smith references Professor Roger Saljo’s research around how adult learners understand through learning. Saljo took the responses from his research and put them into five categories: 1) learning as a quantitative increase of knowledge, 2) memorizing, 3) acquiring facts, skills, and methods to be retained and used, 4) making sense, and 5) interpreting and understanding in a different way (Ramsden 1992:26).  Saljo’s categorization of the responses he captured show just how many different ways individuals learn, process what they learn and understand what they learn.

Ramsden, P. (1992) Learning to Teach in Higher Education London: Routledge. 290 + xiv pages.

Smith, M. K. (1999) 'Learning theory', the encyclopedia of informal education,, Last update: September 03, 2009

Saljo, R. (1979) ‘Learning in the learner’s perspective. I. Some common-sense conceptions’, Reports from the Institute of Education, University of Gothenburg, 76.