Immerse yourself into the world of instructional design with The Instructional Design Lady. Explore learning theories, common instructional design models, and methods that decolonize learning. The mission of the Instructional Design Lady podcast is to facilitate and support inclusive instructional design models and theories with the infusion of an African world view. Join me to learn about the various roles of instructional designers, learn how to work effectively with subject matter experts, and understand quality control for instructional design, while improving your design skills.
The Five Instructional Stances
The instructional stance is always determined by the learner and the learning goal. Subsequently, the instructional stance will, in turn, determine which tools to use within the various instructional designs.
One instructional stance is pedagogy. Pedagogy has a strong connection to behaviorism. It is heavily instructor-centered and bases learning on environmental conditioning and stimuli. Another instructional stance is andragogy. Andragogy has a powerful connection to cognitive constructivism, as it is more learner-centered and accepted as an instructional approach for mature learners. However, cognitive constructivists believe that development precedes learning. Hence, “in andragogy, the learners themselves directly and significantly influence the curriculum, based on their interests and needs” (Bangura, 2005, p. 28), because of their development and maturation.
Ergonagy, like pedagogy, is an instructional stance with a strong connection to behaviorism, as with this instructional stance, learners are expected to learn for vocational purposes. Bangura (2005) submitted that “ergonagy supports a continual blending of academic and vocational education for improved work opportunities throughout individuals’ lives, whether in one or several careers” (p. 31). Hence, this instructional stance is centered on a technique. This instructional stance may or may not require specialized knowledge, depending upon the training objectives. Heutagogy, like andragogy, has a powerful connection to constructivism and the newly identified theory of connectivism. Heutagogy is fully learner-centered, as this instructional stance allows learners full autonomy over the curriculum. Lastly, ubuntugogy, which has its roots in Afrocentric philosophy, has a connection to social constructivism. Unlike cognitive constructivists, social constructivists believe that learning precedes development. Ubuntugogy is heavily group centered and founded on the principles of dialogue, consensus building, and religiosity. Bangura (2005) argued that ubuntugogy has the potential to surpass all of the aforementioned instructional stances.
Once the instructional stance is determined based on the learner’s needs, the instructional designer will then determine which tools, analog and/or digital, will work best for his or her designs. Tools for both the learner and course authoring should be carefully examined, as tools are a huge part of learning. Ira Socol (2008) submitted that instructors should consider that learners, like instructional designers, also need experience with deciding which tools will go into their toolbelts, as each toolbelt is unique to its user. For this post, I will consider course authoring tools.
Bangura, Abdul. (2005). Ubuntugogy: An African educational paradigm that transcends pedagogy, andragogy, ergonagy and heutagogy. 22. 13-53.
Khademi, M., Haghshenas, M. and Kabir, H. (2011). A Review On Authoring Tools. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/fac5/9b388f822adac8bf3338fbb98b4a0690629b.pdf November 6, 2019
Socol, I. D. (2008) Toolbelt Theory. Retrieved from https://sites.google.com/site/iradavidsocol/home/toolbelt-theory October 23, 2018.
Practice what you preach!
I recently got the opportunity to do some freelance work as a subject matter expert. It was exciting to be a freelance subject matter expert, even though it was a short-lived opportunity. Hence, this experience taught me a big lesson… Practice what you preach.
Hodell, C., & ProQuest. (2015). ISD from the Ground up, 4th Edition. Alexandria: American Society for Training & Development.
The Instructional Designer’s Hierarchy of Needs
According to Maslow, there is a hierarchy of needs that are necessary for learning to occur. Like Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, I believe that there is a hierarchy of needs for instructional designers. Maslow has five levels of hierarchical needs. They are as follows:
* Physiological needs
* Safety needs
* Belongingness and love
* Esteem and accomplishment
* Self-actualization/Achieving one’s potential
Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, I’ve decided to tweak his theory for instructional designers who design learning experiences. Assuming that Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs have already been met, the following are the instructional designer’s hierarchy of needs:
* Knowledge and understanding of learning theory
* Knowledge and understanding of individual learners
* Knowledge and understanding of David Rock’s SCARF Model
* Instructional toolbelt
For starts, instructional designers must have a solid knowledge base of learning theory. In other words, instructional designers have to be familiar with the learning process and effective conditions of learning from a pedagogical stance, andragogical stance, heutagogical stance, or an ergonagical stance. Learning theory has been described by behaviorists, cognitivist, constructivists, and of late, connectivists. Hence, instructional designers should be familiar with each school of thought on learning in order to have a full understanding of the various dimensions of learning.
Learners are who instructional designers work for, yet they rarely get access to them. Nonetheless, having data on learners is important because it will determine the instructional stance. For instance, if learners are inexperienced or beginning to learn new concepts and skills, then a pedagogical stance would be instrumental in this case. However, if the learners are mature and need less guidance, then an andragogical stance would work best. If the learner is a fully self-actualized mature learner, then a heutagogical stance would be appropriate. Finally, if the learner needs specific technical knowledge for technical problems, then an ergonagical stance would be perfect.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs includes safety. Therefore, learning can not occur in situations of perceived threat. Hence, instructional designers who create an opportunity for learners to experience Rock’s SCARF model are helping to reduce the learner’s perceived threat. Rock created a brain-based model that supports collaboration can can be affected by threats and rewards. SCARF stands for status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness. This model is used to help individuals enhance relationships and improve connectedness with others. When SCARF is applied within an instructional design, it boosts learner connectedness as it reduces perceived threats. Here is how I see SCARF enhancing instructional designs below:
* Status is about the relative importance of all connected individuals.
* Certainty allows all connected individuals the ability to predict the future.
* Autonomy provides connected learners a sense of control over events.
* Relatedness provides a sense of safety amongst connected learners.
* Fairness is the belief that fair exchanges will occur between all connected individuals.
In one of my earlier posts entitled Collaborative Production of Digital Media and the Tool Belt Theory, I mentioned Socol’s Toolbelt Theory. Socol argued that learners need to have access to a variety of digital and analog tools and understanding of the task at hand. He called this paradigm TEST. TEST stands for Task, Environment, Skills,
The Instructional Designer in a VUCA World
Today’s world has “turbo-speed changes created by technology” (Marquardt, Banks, Cauweiler, and Ng, 2018, p. 18). And with these turbo-speed changes come the constant need for learning and creativity. As conditions change, instructional designs that can be adapted to various learners and conditions become more prevalent than ever before. Hence, instructional designers have to “learn their way into the creation of something that does not yet exist” (p. 40).
Complex problems require complex solutions and complex solutions come with creative thinking. Michalko (2011) submitted that one cannot will himself or herself to change his or her thinking patterns no matter how inspired he or she is to do so. Hence, “creative thinkers get variation by conceptually combining dissimilar subjects, which changes their thinking patterns and provides them with a variety of alternatives and conjectures” (Michalko, 2011, p. 14).
Michalko’s (2014) Thinker Toys is an excellent resource that helps foster creativity. Actually, I was impressed with this resource and I decided to do a series of animations on Thinker Toys. Below is one of the animations that was created based on Michalko’s Thinker Toys Handbook.
In sum, it’s not enough for instructional designers to know learning theory. Instructional designers have to be creative thinkers and problem solvers because instruction is more than a product to be delivered and a set of instructional strategies to be used in a training exercise.
Gläser, W. (2018). VUCA World. Leadership Skills and Strategies VUCA World. Retrieved August 24, 2019, from https://www.vuca-world.org/
Marquardt, M. J., Banks, S., Cauweiler, P., & Ng, C. S. (2018). Optimizing the power of action learning: Real-time strategies for developing leaders, building teams and transforming organizations.
Michalko, M. (2011). Creative thinkering: Putting your imagination to work. Novato, Calif: New World Library.
Michalko, M. (2014). Thinkertoys: A handbook of creative-thinking techniques.
The Tyranny of the Urgent
Functioning in volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) conditions creates a sense of infinite urgency. Furthermore, ubiquitous exigencies make learning more difficult as the pressure to work seems to never cease. In such conditions, what is the learner to do? “Although we need more and more learning and training, the irony is that we have less time to acquire it” (Marquardt, Banks, Cauweiler, and Ng, 2018, p. 19).
Gagne (1985) proposed nine instructional events that provide a framework for creating optimal learning conditions. However, each instructional event requires time, something that learners lack. How then will the instructional designer construct optimal learning conditions for learners while maintaining fidelity to Gagne’s nine instructional events? The answer is with a heutagogical stance rather than a pedagogical stance. Blaschke (2012) defined heutagogy as “a form of self-determined learning with practices and principles rooted in andragogy” (para. 1).
Gagne’s nine instructional events include the following:
* Gaining attention
* Informing learners of the objective
* Stimulating recall of prior learning
* Presenting the stimulus
* Providing learning guidance
* Eliciting performance
* Providing feedback
* Assessing performance
* Enhancing retention and transfer
Gagne proposed these nine instructional events during the industrial age, when training was very much trainer-centered and less learner-centered. Hence, Gagne’s nine instructional events are pedagogical in nature, which helped to set a pattern for traditional education. When a pedagogical stance is utilized in training, the trainer makes the assumption that learners need external factors such as Gagne’s nine instructional events to occur in order for learning to happen.
On the contrary, when a heutagogical stance is utilized in training, the learner takes ownership of his or her learning, thus Gagne’s nine instructional events become nine heutagogical learning events. Heutagogy encourages learners to challenge their theories in use, their values and assumptions rather than providing a basic response to tasks. Gagne’s nine instructional events through the lens of heutagogy shifts learners into action by having them “study the process of how they came to their conclusions, how this process can lead to other solutions, and how their own assumptions changed through the process” (Eberle, 2009, para. 7). In my view, heutagogy converts Gagne’s nine instructional events into nine learning events. They are as follows:
* Learners awareness is raised towards observing a task or problem
* Learners choose or construct their learning objective(s)
* New learning is created with different solutions or strategies
* Meaningful, purposeful learning experiences are provided which are relevant to the learners’ needs
* Independent and collaborative learning with peers and colleagues is encouraged and supported
* The instructor facilitates exploration, collaboration, and self-actualization
* Critical reflection, universal feedback from peers, colleagues, and instructor are provided
* Learners are encouraged to self-diagnose his or her learning via knowledge application
* Facilitator promotes action learning for solving complex problems of the 21st century
As stated earlier, more and more learning is necessary because of the “turbo-speed changes created by technology” (Marquardt, Banks, Cauweiler, and Ng, 2018, p. 18). As such, the instructional designer should consider designing optimal learning environments using a heutagogical stance. The tyranny of the urgent will probably never end, so, the response to this phenomena should be with more open-ended learning and less...
Content Creation Calibration Presentation
I had the pleasure of presenting at the Virginia Society for Technology in Education 2018 Conference. I shared my ideas on Content Creation and Calibration with learners and I took feedback from the audience regarding the topic.
Some of the key questions were:
* How do I engage dormant learners in the design process?
* How do I provide support to dependent learners?
* How do I educate parents on student content creation and calibration?
I don’t claim to have the answers to these questions. Nonetheless, take a look at the presentation and provide your feedback. Is it really possible to have students create instructional content?