Two Courses Down… What Have I Learned So Far?

As I just finished up my second course in my Masters Degree in Instructional Design and Technology, which I passed with an A (I have to brag a little!), I want to stop and reflect for a moment on what I have learned so far.

I was sitting around a fire pit with friends the other night and a 16-year-old sophomore started talking about under water dragons or dinosaurs. She was fascinated with the subject and started telling us all these different facts. When we inquired where she learned all of this she said that she initially saw it on TV, but she was so intrigued that she Googled it and read more about them. This was an “ah ha” moment for me, connecting what I have learned about how children, and adults really, are learning in such a different world than they ever have before. They have access to all of this information at their finger tips, and when the motivation is right, they can learn about any topic by simply using a search engine. What an amazing tool that could be used within the world of education. We need to take advantage of this new way of learning and not avoid it.

Change is happening! Change is ALWAYS happening. It is the one thing we can always rely on – Change! So, as we develop instruction for any field we must consider the learners and the channels which they typically use to gather information. If we are using out of date, dinosaur aged technology will we ever really be effective in helping these learners to grasp our curriculum? I don’t think so. If they are bored with how we present the information, then it may not matter what the information is. There must be a change in the mindset of instructional design to meet the needs of this new generation of learners! It’s an exciting time to enter this field!

So, change and technology… and the theory behind both, this is what we have gotten through so far. So much more to learn!

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Blogs I Follow

“Thousands of accomplished educators are now writing blogs about teaching and learning, bringing transparency to both the art and the science of their practice… And all of this collective knowledge is readily available for free” (Ferriter, 2009). What an incredible truth! I am so excited to begin participating in this knowledge field – both to contribute through my own blog, The Arch of Learning, and to start taking advantage of all of the resources available to me.

As I started doing some research for l blogs to follow in the field of Instructional Design, I found there are a lot to choose from. I have chosen to follow a number of blogs, but I wanted to share three of them here and give a brief description of each one and how I feel they can give me an advantage and help me to be the best in my place in the instructional design world.

The first blog site is The Learning Circuits Blog. This is a blog that is a community feature of Learning Circuits which is a newsletter from ASTD. The site allows anyone in the training and development field to share ideas and opinions about the state of learning and technology. Anyone can post on the blog and comment on the blogs posted. The latest blog post “Face Up To It: Are You the CBT Lady?” had me laughing as I have had similar experiences as the ones described in the blog. As I perused the other blog posts I knew I would have to follow this one. It has relevant information to the field and will give multiple viewpoints as it is an open forum as opposed to being just one author. I also like the idea of being able to post on the blog itself. Maybe one day I will get my confidence to the point of feeling I can do so!

The second blog I would like to share is online learning insights. This blog is authored by Debbie Morrison. I was drawn to this blog because of the content, focusing on online learning as well as the volume, as Debbie seems to post to her blog on a regular basis. The topics of her blogs drew me in and made me think more about online learning in my world. I like that Debbie is an instructional designer in a world much like mine. It makes me feel as though I could not only learn from what she has to say but that I can also contribute to the conversation.

The final blog I will list here is Allison Rossett. The name of the blog is the same as the author. She is a consultant in training and technology-based performance. I am immediately drawn to her because I would like to have this title myself one day. She also has an impressive list of credentials and experience. I feel as though I can learn a lot from Allison about the field of instructional design and this is why I am following her blog. Her most recent blog post “Consulting with executives to turn technology investments into results” drew me in right away! This is a topic, ROI, that is important in the field of Training and Development. The topics covered in the blog are varied throughout the T&D field and how it can be made more effective. This will definitely be one worth following!

There are a large number of other blog sites that I have bookmarked and started following. I feel as though I will find which ones will be most relevant to me in the coming weeks as I check in with my Google Reader. I will keep you posted. 🙂

References:

Ferriter, B. (2009). Learning with blogs and wikis. Educational Leadership, 66(5), 34–38.