Edtech 503: What is Instructional Design?

What is Instructional Design?

“Design” has always implied both creativity and organization to me. It may seem as though, those are two completely different concepts, but in my experience in education, they go hand in hand. Throughout my short career, I have had to create lessons and units for my classes. In this process there is both creativity being used (coming up with activities for demonstrating how to write a 5 paragraph essay without boring my students) as well as organization (figuring out how to effectively stagger materials through the use of lecture, modeling, grouping, asessement etc). This has sometimes been challenging for me because I am not the most organized. When sitting down to design a lesson, very much like Smith and Ragan described, the process that I undertake is approaching planning with these three questions:

Where are we going?

How will we get there?

How will we know when we’ve arrived?

Instructional Design is a fairly new concept to me. I did realize that there was a plan in place for some subject areas and “road map” for most of the courses offered in my building, but never knew about the individual/s that designed those materials. The Instructional Designer is ,for me, the scriptwriter for a movie. They are the individuals that come up with “big picture” idea. I think that when you add the word “systematic” to Instructional Designer, it reminds you that even though there is creativity involved, it is still a process and that a great deal of planning is required in order to complete whatever task, training, lesson or course they are creating.

Instructional Design is extremely important when it comes to Educational Technology, mostly, I think because it is outside the realm of what regular education teachers in my building are familiar with.  The use of technology in order to facilitate learning needs to have a systematic and creative plan in order to be effective.

For our end of semester project, we have to come up with a lesson that we can write instructional design plan for. This is the beginning of my idea for a topic:

Topic: After 2 hours of instruction, 9th grade students will be able to use and create Prezi Presentations to showcase Research Paper Topics and Sources.


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