posted October 14th, 2016 by Brian Neese
Technology is now a focal point for how students learn. This is especially true with online learning, one of the fastest growing segments in higher education. Eduventures reports that 3.5 million students enrolled in online degree programs in 2016 and projects an increase to 5 million by 2020.
These changes point to the need for a learning experience that reaches students in all environments. The instructional design field could be the solution.
Instructional design refers to the systematic process for designing, developing and delivering instructional materials. It centers on improving learning through technology, and can involve related terms such as learning experience design, instructional systems design and educational technology.
According to design studio and strategy consulting firm Intentional Futures, most instructional designers have the following categories of responsibilities:
The following models are used by some instructional designers.
The ADDIE model is a flexible and common instructional design model. “Most of the current instructional design models are spin-offs or variations of the ADDIE model,” according to educational technology experts Greg Kearsley and Richard Culatta at InstructionalDesign.org. There are five phases in the ADDIE model.
An important part to the ADDIE model is continual or formative feedback. Throughout each phase, the model stresses the role of feedback in catching problems while they are still easy to fix, which can save time and money.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles that gives all individuals an equal opportunity to learn. “UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone—not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs,” says the National Center on Universal Design for Learning.
UDL is based on the following guidelines.
A Master Course Philosophy is an online curriculum management approach for institutions, which centers on maintaining one master copy of each online course. Each time a course is taught, the master course is duplicated and used as a template.
Using a master course maintains course integrity, regardless of who teaches it. It helps ensure that courses reflect the most recent updates to an institution’s curriculum. “The Master Course Philosophy results in a customizable, consistent and accessible course each time,” says Tyler Hart, Senior Instructional Designer for Southeastern University.
Another benefit of the Master Course Philosophy is that it aids in curricular improvement. This strategy allows institutions to successfully report on student achievement, and produce valid and reliable data. The Master Course Philosophy eliminates variations in course outcomes and assessments from teacher to teacher and from term to term.
Understanding by Design (UbD) is a framework for improving student achievement. It was created by educators Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, and published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. The framework utilizes backward design, in which outcomes are analyzed to design curriculum units, performance assessments and classroom instruction. UbD is based on seven key tenets.
As a result of the expansion of educational technology and online learning, instructional designers are needed to fulfill the demand for a more rigorous learning experience. There are at least 13,000 instructional designers in the United States alone, according to Intentional Futures, and 87 percent have a master’s degree. Seventy-two percent have a master’s title related to education.
Southeastern University’s online graduate programs in education prepare students for advancement and new career opportunities inside and outside the classroom. Master’s degree programs and a Doctor of Education degree are available fully online, allowing educators to study while maintaining their current work and personal schedule.