Instructional Design Blog Review

I had the pleasure of reviewing a number of blogs that pertain to Instructional Design. The three that captured my attention were Design Your Digital Classroom by Susan Oxnevad, The virtual Internship by Dr. David Merrill and Is the “School in the Cloud” the Future of Learning by Tina Barseghian.

Design Your Digital Classroom is a useful site because it engages the user in an online interactive classroom, which is boundless for Instructional Design. This site teaches you to design a digital classroom so that teacher and students can have an online interactive experience. The digital classroom is a place where technology is used as a tool for learning. This digital classroom teaches students critical thinking skills. The Digital Classroom is broken down into a variety of classrooms or subjects including, the writing, research, collaboration, multimedia, and odds and ends classrooms. The teacher role is to guide the students through the learning process. The teacher design flexible projects and provide students with access to resources and tools to get the assignments completed. The teacher also serves as a guide for students challenging them and re-teaching if necessary.

The Virtual Internship Dr. David Merrill offers his thoughts about Instructional Design. He discussed technology in regards to Instructional Design. Over the years he discussed the success and failures of delivery systems. With the advent of the Internet Dr. Merrill feels that since it’s easier to created online instruction he feels that we have become less effective in teaching because it is to easy to dumb information onto the web, also known as shovel ware. Online courses can be ineffective if they violate teaching principles that are known to be effective. For online instruction to be effective students have to be able to demonstrate what they’ve learn. It is not enough to tell students what they need to know, we as instructors have to be able to show or demonstrate what we need students to know. Secondly, students have to be able to apply what they’ve learned more than just regurgitating information back onto a multiple-choice test. Students have to be able to do, make predictions and even trouble shoot, which are all critical thinking skills. Thirdly students have to be able to apply what they learn and relate them to real-world situations. Dr. Merrill warns that as Instructional Designers we have to do more to motivate students. He feels motivation comes from the learning and not from the attention grabbing like edutainment, animation, and games. These methods only scratch the surface by gaining attention but it does not do enough to motivate. Motivation comes from the student actually learning.

School in the Cloud is self-organized learning. The school systems that exist today are not needed anymore says Sugatra Mitra. The future of learning is not in a classroom but is self-organized learning centers. According to Sugatra Mitra with the advent of computers the way students learn is obsolete. He feels that knowing is obsolete for instance, students 50-100 years ago had to sit in a classroom to learn arithmetic because they the jobs that were available required them to do arithmetic. Today its is virtually pointless to learn arithmetic because we know have computers that can complete that simple task for us. Sugatra Mitra philosophy is why waste the time learning when we can better spends our time knowing simply by using the computer. Jobs of tomorrow will require employees to be able to acquire information as oppose to knowing information. This relates to Instructional Design because designers do not make the learning happen, they set the process and let learning happen. According to Sugatra Mitra the school in the cloud will only require Broadband + Collaboration + Encouragement. Education of tomorrow is trending towards virtual classroom and Instructional Designers as facilitators.


Patrick Hopkins


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