CECS 5210 Blog Reflection: Project B

Reflect on the outcome of Project B. What worked? What did not? Why? Did you use your peer for feedback? If so, discuss the feedback your peer provided; if not, explain why? Discuss your client’s feedback? What did you use? What did you reject? Why?

Finishing project B was an awesome feeling. I really enjoy creating webpages and adding “fun” elements such as sounds, video, animated words or pictures, and links.

The final webpages looked professional and the special features I picked out operated as expected. Originally there were some special features that didn’t work, but I have gone back and adjusted my programing so now all of the animations work. These are the word animations in the quiz. My plan is to go back one more time and adjust the order of the correct answers. Currently option B on each of the ten multiple choice questions is the correct answer.

My peers at work still need to give me some feedback, and I will make other adjustments as needed. It depends on what they discover. My client is pleased with the training and she is excited for the new Undergraduate Service Assistants to receive the training in January when the next semester starts.

I do feel that my Job Aid needed more material. It was fairly basic and after reading some of my classmates’ examples I see I could have gone into much more detail. Specifically, I could have included time slots so whoever is giving the instruction in a classroom setting knows how long it takes to cover each piece. Although the total time is between 15 and 20 minutes, the instructor (it is not me) would be more comfortable know what to expect.

The other issue I had was the ‘broken’ parts of the SmartBoard. The power button wasn’t working, the computer screen resolution automatically adjusted, and the communication between the SmartBoard and the computer wasn’t consistent. Now that the service call is completed, one aspect of the training I created will probably not be needed. That is the part about resetting the computer screen resolution settings. These setting shouldn’t automatically change anymore because the connection between the SmartBoard and the computer has been replaced with newer technology. But, it makes sense to leave this part in the training just in case the computer screen resolution settings change for some other reason.

I do see this project as ‘not finished’ but ‘ongoing.’ As a department, we are going to make modifications to the training as needed. Like almost everything we publish, this training will be reviewed at least once a year.

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CECS 5210 Blog Reflection: Instructional Design and Course Reflections

Think about instructional design in general. What have you learned this semester about instructional design and development? What about process? What else?

Also, what did you learn from the Evaluation of the product? What would you do differently next time? How much did you learn from the process and evaluation that will make you a better future instructional designer?

The other day the University of North Texas held the annual Staff Holiday Party. The President spoke, some door prizes were given away, we ate some good finger food, and we drank some very nice cranberry punch. We got to socialize with other staff members from other departments – some we knew for years and others were new. I ran into Amanda from HR Training and Development. I met Amanda only a few days before the party during a class about Successful Supervisors. She is a dynamic and engaging trainer. As we were talking at the party I shared with her that I was almost done with my master’s degree in Learning Technologies. She asked how it was going and what did I want to do as my next career. Surprisingly, I found myself answering that I don’t particularly like Instructional Design. I like creating websites and presenting training, but I become frustrated and procrastinate too much when it comes to writing Analysis, Design, Job Aid, and Evaluations. This realization actually saddens me, and makes me question my degree choice. Do I have what it takes to be an Instructional Designer? What if I’ve selected a career that I won’t enjoy?

 This semester I learned that instructional design is detailed. I understand why all the steps are there – to ensure quality training is created. This “systematic process by which instructional materials are designed, developed, and delivered” has steps help remind the designer of all the elements they need to consider when creating training. The process takes time. But taking the time will help to get it right. I know that taking the time and following the process will make the training good.

 The evaluation of the finished project taught me that although I second guess my skills, others like the final project. I should have known. I am my own worse critic when it comes to creating something. My client was very pleased with the training.

 Next time I will maintain a better time schedule so I don’t get behind. Being behind schedule and playing catch up has been the most stressful part of this course. It’s my own fault. But I do appreciate being able to submit assignments all the way to the end of the semester.

 When debating my career choice, I found the following advice in another blog. “Identify what gives you the most satisfaction. Do you love analyzing a performance problem, figuring out a solution to it, and outlining a training program that you know will be effective? Or do you love to create the media for content that already exists, making it more interesting and interactive?” (Source: http://blog.cathy-moore.com/how-to-become-an-instructional-designer/) Possibly I only want to be a developer. I enjoy creating the instructional media much more than designing training from scratch. But I do feel my education has not been in vain. Knowing both sides will help me communicate intelligently on the subject.

CECS 5210 Blog Reflection: Designing Instruction

What does it mean to design instruction? What skills do you think you need to have in order to do it professionally?

 

 “Instructional design is a systematic process by which instructional materials are designed, developed, and delivered.” (Source: http://www.instructionaldesigncentral.com/htm/IDC_instructionaldesigndefinitions.htm)

 Designing instruction means analyzing the instruction needs, designing the instruction pieces, developing the tools for instruction, implementing the instruction, and evaluating the instruction.

 Most instructional designers recognize good instructional design. I’m going to take a different approach here and talk about bad instructional design. Bad instructional design results in boring lectures that fail to convey needed information and waste time. In another blog, three areas of the instructional design process were identified as at risk for making bad instructional design: determining the current state and needs of the learner, defining the end goal of the instruction, and failing to create an ‘intervention’ to assist in the transition. (Source: http://www.theelearningexperts.com.au/the-breeding-ground-for-bad-instructional-design/) I enjoyed the blog and recommend it to anyone trying to be good at instructional design.

 One example of bad instructional design recently happened to me at work. A new Chart of Accounts is coming in March and everyone that expenses funds is required to attend a two part training on the new system. The first session was scheduled for 3 hours beginning at 8 a.m. The trainers actually said something like “We expect you to be confused after this training session. We are only trying to help you get comfortable with the new terminology.” It was like they were applying that they were the only ones who understood accounting practices and we were just expected to not understand but follow along blindly. Very frustrating. One hour into the training my mind changed from trying to learn, to evaluating what they were doing wrong. I could sum up what should have been said during session one in four sentences. “In order to create more detailed spending reports, end users will begin using a new system. A tool will be provided that converts existing account numbers to the new chart of account numbers. Additional training on how to use the system will be presented soon. In the meantime, today we are here to introduce you to the terms used in the new system.”

 The Chart of Accounts training part one should have been in the form of an email! Unfortunately, the trainers were unable to convey this very simple explanation. They took two and a half hours to try and make accounting fun by showing that they created an acronym to help us remember what fields would be used to track charges. And at 8 a.m. in the morning they should have served coffee and pastries! (Alright, the coffee came at 8:45.) The other major source of frustration for me was when they received a question they couldn’t answer. They would respond with “we haven’t figured that out yet but we hope it will be a part of the next training.” I don’t think they should have said they don’t know, it made them look unprepared. I think they should acknowledge the question, give a high level answer, and mention more details would be in the next training. These trainers need to learn instructional design because they didn’t present well.

 “An instructional designer is someone who creates and delivers educational training materials for businesses, higher educational institutions, and other organizations. Instructional designers and are in high demand as organizations are turning towards instructional designers to solve business performance problems and to provide media-rich eLearning solutions. (Source: http://www.instructionaldesigncentral.com/htm/IDC_instructionaldesigndefinitions.htm)  

 Besides the basic skills of being able to use the tools and technology and understanding how people learn, a professional Instructional Designer needs to be a good listener. A good designer wants to continue to learn and is “motivated to read cognitive psychology, instructional design and eLearning textbooks, trade books, journals and blogs. He or she also needs to be able to learn something in a completely different field and transfer this knowledge to instructional design.” (Source: http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning_design/10-qualities-of-the-ideal-instructional-designer/)

CECS 5210 Blog Reflection: Project A

Reflect on your experiences creating Project A from start to finish. What worked and what did not? What do you think was the strongest aspect of the design process? The weakest? How do you think the experience will effect you on Project B?

I’m celebrating! I finished Project A. It went well, but I had some trouble along the way. Specifically, I had trouble with writing pre-training documents. It is hard for me to slow down and put into words the steps before creating the training. My mind jumps to the finished project.

One thing that didn’t work in the whole process was implementation. When I got to that part I discovered the SmartBoard needed a service call. The power button wasn’t working, the computer resolution kept automatically changing to the wrong setting, and I didn’t have access to save the training documents to the computer that communicates with the SmartBoard.

Fortunately, I had already created a temporary fix for two of these issues in the training. The other problem with implementation is the timing is not ideal. The next time we actually need the training is in January when the Spring semester begins.

I think the strongest aspect of this training was the pre-set guidelines for creating department procedures. This format was selected by my client to create the training and since creating department procedures is already an established procedure, it was very easy for me to plug in the necessary elements for the SmartBoard training. The weakest link was most likely me. My troubles with writer’s block and procrastination have added lots of stress as I hurry up to finish the last documents to be submitted.

The experience of Project A actually helped me with Project B. I began Project B before I finished Project A. Project B is web based and I really enjoy creating web pages.

CECS 5210 Blog Reflection: Implementation/Evaluation/Method Loci

Reflect on the Method of Loci in your blog. What worked? What didn’t? How could you use such a cognitive activity, mental or visible to users, to improve the acquisition of knowledge in your designs? Write a blog entry on this.

Reflect on the implementation and evaluation: What changes will you make before implementation? Why? What did you ignore in the client’s feedback? Why? What did you ignore in your peer’s feedback? Why?

None of the Method of Loci process worked for me. I tried it several times and at different times of the day. I thought it was odd that it didn’t work because I practice meditation and the process has some similarities. I also considered it was the material I was trying to memorize. The “four components of Wilson’s view of Situated Instructional Design” is not simple to me. Most of the technical stuff about Instructional Design isn’t simple either. I’ve found myself on more than one occasion having to research terms and concepts to better understand them. Unfortunately, only I understand just enough to complete an assignment, the next time the term or concept comes up, I have forgotten again. Apparently retention is my problem. Method of Loci may be a tool that helps some people with retention, but it’s not for me. I will do much better conducting a full scale research of the topic and writing a paper about it if I want to retain the information.

Although I understand the importance of all the elements in Instructional Design, I had writers block when it came to writing about Implementation and Evaluation. As of this writing I haven’t received a review from my client about my Implementation and Evaluation document. She did tell me that she will review the document on Monday. Any changes my client suggests will be a part of the final training. After all, she is my boss. But because she cannot review it until Monday, the changes may not be reflected in my project. The goal is to have all the bugs worked out before the holiday break so when we return for the Spring semester, the SmartBoard Training will be ready for the Undergraduate Service Assistance to use.

I almost forgot to get a review from my peers. Hopefully, that will occur soon. I think I can update this blog with new information if needed after I get the reviews, but I believe I will not be making any changes to the document. The reason for not taking any advice that might be given is because I’ve already performed testing and received feedback from another staff member about the training I developed.

Testing occurs with every new procedure (training) developed. It is natural to check if what has been created will actually work. It is the first opportunity to identify what is good and what is bad then make modifications before too many people learn first hand how competent you are.

Feedback also helps determine what is good and what is bad then identifies where changes MIGHT be needed. Sometimes feedback is just complaining. Just because someone reports something shouldn’t be ‘that’ way doesn’t mean there isn’t a valid reason to keep it ‘that’ way.