Tag Archives: Professional Development

Review: The Essentials of Instructional Design

I was recently asked to make textbook recommendations for an Instructional Design course. One member of the team recommended I review The Essentials of Instructional Design: Connecting Fundamental Principles with Process and Practice by Abbie Brown and Timothy Green.  I had never heard of this one among the standard instructional design texts of Dick & Carey, Smith & Ragan, Morrison, Ross & Kemp*… but wanted to take a look.

This book is a concise guide to the process of instructional design. The authors mention in the preface that “this is a book for beginners”.  It’s not highly detailed, but is a solid overview. The most impressive aspect of this book is the direct link to practice. The authors add several components to each chapter to drive home the need to be able to apply the concepts in a workplace environment.

Connecting Process to Practice – This section presents five or six mini scenarios related to the chapter topic, often placing the student in the position of the Instructional Designer who is faced with a decision or challenge of some kind. These are not clear cut, right/wrong situations, but ones in which a variety of approaches might be selected. What approach would you take and what is your rationale? K-12, higher ed, and business examples are provided throughout. A couple of examples:

You are the instructional designer for a nonprofit organization with a number of volunteer workers. The volunteers are often familiar with the telephone system of the organization, which makes transferring calls difficult for them. What might you do to address the problem?

Describe an instructional design scenario in which you believe a formal needs analysis would not need to be conducted.

Professionals in Practice – These brief entries provide perspective on the chapter topic from working instructional designers. These professionals represent a range of work settings and international locations and present some sort of lesson learned or example from their own experiences. Job titles and organizations are also listed providing a link to career exploration for students.

Each chapter also includes a Recommended Reading section that provides a short list of items to explore for more information. These include books, articles, and websites.

Recommended for:

  • Students studying for comprehensive/qualifying exams in instructional design programs.
  • Undergraduate courses in instructional design.
  • Instructional design/curriculum design related courses in non-ID programs.
  • ID professionals currently working in the field who haven’t gone through the formal coursework, but want to learn more about the theories, etc.

*For more information about the selection of instructional design textbooks, check out this study published in 2009, Essential Books in the Field of Instructional Design and Technology. The authors surveyed instructional design and technology professionals asking them to rate the importance of various books to the field. The result is a list of 10 books that “should be included in every instructional designer’s or technologist’s personal library.”

Photo credit: qualtiero, Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

What I Learned at WordCamp

Yesterday I attended Wordcamp Miami 2010 – one of the best conference-type experiences I’ve had in a while. In summary: very well organized, motivating speakers, friendly people, comfortable venue, and a nice lunch.  There were three program tracks: 1) developer, 2) social media, and 3) beginner.  I moved around a bit across the tracks and found all of the speakers and presentations to be helpful and encouraging. Other participants were also willing to share their insights.

I’ll be working on ideas I got at this event for some time, but here are a couple of items to share right now:

  • Jess Jurick’s Findng Your Blogging Voice was well attended and well received. Jess was also one of the organizers. Check out her presentation slides and her blog. Her presentation includes some other blog examples worth exploring.
  • WordPress SEO with John Carcutt helped even a non-programmer type like myself understand the importance of search engine optimization and how I can get started. He also previewed some changes on the way from Google.
  • Jim Turner’s From Daddy Blogger to Business Blogger explored the entrepreneurial side of blogging. Just Google ‘Genuine’ or ‘Hire a Blogger’ to find out more.
  • Tammy Hart is a self-taught developer. Her presentation, WordPress & Working with Clients, was full of tips and lessons learned. She introduced a number of resources, such as page.ly, and had down-to-earth suggestions for getting the work done.

There were many other speakers and more about each of them can be found on the WordCamp Miami website speakers page. By the way, there are WordCamps across the U.S. and the globe. Check out this calendar to find one near you. I think you’ll find a lot to learn and be motivated by, even if you don’t blog with WordPress.

Thanks to all organizers, speakers and participants for a great event. See you in 2011, WordCamp Miami!

image credit: WordCamp Miami

Professional Conferences – ID, IT, Distance Ed…

Sometimes my employer funds these trips, but I have funded myself just as often. I like conferences, but I don’t love conferences and two-a-year is usually my goal, especially if I can present. I realize it’s usually a bonus to be able to attend these and I try to select them pretty carefully. Recently I was asked to recommend events related to Instructional Design/Instructional Technology/Multimedia Development. The list below was the result and I thought I would pass it along here. The events marked with an asterisk (*) are ones I have actually attended and recommend. Others I have heard about and would like to get to at some point.

  • EDUCAUSE – a number of regional events also available. I am planning to attend the one in the Southeast next year.
  • USDLA
  • E-Learning Guild – check out DevLearn. A colleague of mine (Hi Nathan!) went last year and it sounds terrific, although he was very ‘Adobe’ when he got back ;)
  • AACE * – check out E-LEARN and ED-MEDIA…and SITE if you are in teacher education.
  • AECT
  • ASTD
  • SLOAN-C *- a big fan of SLOAN-C, especially the emerging technologies symposium, small and focused.
  • ITC
  • Distance Teaching and Learning Annual Conference * – University of Wisconsin – Madison, a great mix of people and topics, and a well-run event.
  • SALT * – I’ve been to the one in Orlando, small (in a good way) and a nice mix of education and industry.
  • ITTSEC
  • AERA * – Big, really big.  Focused on the “R” (research). Lots of interesting Special Interest Groups.

There are so many more conferences out there. Some with really specific niches…. what’s your interest? Second Life? Faculty Development? Open Education?…. Here are several links set up for searching for more…

Trends —- I’ve answered survey requests from a few of these organizations recently. There are changes coming I think. More virtual events (more on these in another post). More regional events. Less “glamorous” locations. More registration options (i.e. by-the-day). Will be interesting and very possibly improved in a lot of ways.

Your Favorites???

Update! (2/16/10) – @etcjournal has posted a very nice list of conferences on their Educational Technology & Change site. Take a look at this for upcoming events in 2010 complete with links. Online conferences are noted as well.

Update! (2/24/10) – ThinkingCap is also tracking eLearning conferences you can search by month. Check out the “Call for Proposals Deadline” tab. Very helpful!

Update! (5/21/10) – Just discovered this list via Twitter. 750 Educational Technology and Related Conferences. You can download the list as a Word.doc.