Design and Instructional Design

Design, Instructional Design, and Systematic Instructional Design

The word design implies the process of taking an idea and making it a reality.  Usually when design is involved the end goal has already been established and it is time to figure what steps will need to be taken to reach that goal.  Design could mean that one is creating something from just an idea or it could mean that one is taking materials and putting it together in a way that is appealing and understandable.  For example, a web designer might be assigned the job of creating a website for a company.  The designer could be supplied with virtually nothing and expected to pick the layout, images, colors etc.  or the company might provide them with logos and ideas that they would like the designer to arrange in a sensible way.

Instructional design means to create materials to use for instruction and determine how the information will be presented to students.  Instructional designers organize lessons and information in a way that facilitates learning and can create brand new material to use for lessons.  Systematic instructional deign indicates that the designer is following a methodical step-by-step process in the creation of the learning experience.

How does Instructional Design relate to Educational Technology?

Instructional design and educational technology relate to each other because in the 21st century, technology in education is a continually growing trend.  Instructional designers must be well versed in technology in order to create courses and content that are up-to-date and cutting edge.  Also when designing a learning experience instructional designers must determine what technology is available or needs to be created to reinforce or help teach concepts.  All the instructional job postings that I reviewed for our previous assignment required strong knowledge of educational technology.

Experience with instructional design

A recent experience I had with instructional deign was creating a unit for fourth grade students on Ludwig Van Beethoven.  There are thousands of ways to learn about this composer and I have many books with lessons written about him.   Rather than simply follow already made lessons I wanted to create my own unit by piecing together the best instructional material and leaving out what wasn’t needed.  I started by finding as many different lessons as I could in books, on blogs, websites, etc.  I took my favorite ideas and saved them.  Once the research was complete, I took the material and organized it in a way that made sense to the intended audience and would keep the students engaged.  I decided how long each lesson would be and an end goal (students would be able to create a presentation on Beethoven’s life and music). Once the lessons were taught I made note of what could be improved upon and what went well.  I am planning to change the presentation to utilize Educreations now that our school has iPads.

Another essential component of instructional design is creating materials to be used for instruction when there is the need.  For example, I teach piano lessons after school and I like to use iPad apps to reinforce note-naming skills.  There is a wide range of apps available but one thing I consistently find is that many apps don’t allow the teacher to customize which notes are being drilled, making them useless to me.  If I am focusing on only five notes with a young student, it doesn’t help me if the app asks them about fifteen notes that they haven’t learned. As an instructional designer I could create a new app or redesign old ones to allow the teacher to choose which notes are drilled so that it can be streamlined into their lessons.

Description of Project

The target audience will be upper elementary students.  After two hours of instruction, they will be able to create a one-minute musical composition using loops and smart instruments in GarageBand.


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