Strategies for Developing Instructional Design Practice Online

Article excerpt

More opportunities are needed for learning service professionals and students to practice authentic instructional design as a part of their respective training and academic preparation, prior to assuming employment as a learning designer. Creating an online case event provides an opportunity for participants to use instructional systems design in an authentic, team-oriented, online learning environment. The process is a rewarding, challenging, and complex endeavor. The strategies outlined in this paper for creating an online case event include providing a case, implementing a project management plan, selecting media, and acquiring the appropriate permissions and endorsements.

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of an online instructional design case event is to provide an opportunity for learning service professionals to practice instructional design in a realistic and situated Web-based learning environment. There are a myriad of decisions to be made when developing instructional design practice online. This is a presentation of important strategies for developing instructional design practice online. The strategies discussed are selecting a case, incorporating project management, media selection, and acquiring permissions and endorsements.

SELECTING A CASE

A case needs to be created that illustrates a genuine and authentic problem that requires an instructional design solution. When developing a case for an event, consideration should be given to the fact that novice instructional designers require a genuine problem to reflect the situations that they would encounter in the workplace, or approximate this environment as closely as possible. The intended audience for the event needs to be determined. The rationale for authentic learning is that learners can realize the utility of the concept that is being taught. More specifically, problem-based learning is an instructional strategy in which students actively resolve problems in realistic situations. The creation of a case rests on the characteristics of problem generation and problem presentation. The case event should be designed to challenge participants to demonstrate knowledge of instructional design principles and this exercise should incorporate the problem that was presented.

Following the endorsement of the scope, create an inventory of all available and useful resources. This inventory should include available materials and tools required to develop such an online environment, as well as human resources and skills available within the design team, as well as those that may be called upon from outside persons (Greer, 2002). Each person's availability and stake in the project should be confirmed and any discrepancies between the scope of the project and available resources should be addressed. Having resources readily available in one place simplifies communication efforts when design team members need to call on individuals or locate materials. At this point, the project can now begin to take shape including the planning and outlining of all activities that will create this complex interactive environment.

By preparing the scope, resources, and outline of activities, project managers will find it much easier to generate a plan for communication between all stakeholders; a more detailed work breakdown structure, and cost estimations within a given budgetary framework. Careful preparation also allows design teams to anticipate obstacles and potential barriers to accomplishing the end goal.

MEDIA

When choosing media for online instructional design practice, helpful strategies include media selection, creation, and formative evaluation. The chosen media will contribute to the practice environment's authenticity. Presenting a project online would provide an opportunity for a large pool of participants and is only limited by the availability of Internet access. The particulars that go into the success of the end product must be carefully considered in addition to outlining the necessary computer programming involved in such a project. …