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.

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.

CECS 5210 Blog Reflection: ID from a cognitive perspective

What do you think about instructional design so far?

It is far easier for me to write a report on the cognitive approach to instruction design than it is for me to come up with an opinion about instructional design. Before I try to write what I think, I will start with an introduction. Cognitive theory is borne from the relatively new interdisciplinary field of cognitive science. Cognitive science studies the nature of the mind by drawing from research in a number of areas including psychology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, computer science, linguistics, philosophy, and biology. The term cognitive refers to perceiving and knowing, and cognitive scientists seek to understand mental processes such as perceiving, thinking, remembering, understanding language, and learning (Sorden, 2005).

Popular forms of multimedia instruction, such as online learning and the more inclusive computer-based training (CBT), have created many new possibilities for education. They provide new ways of delivering content, and they often promote learner-centered environments that can motivate students and add variety to learning. In this environment, instructional units are often accompanied by a liberal use of multimedia that is intended to add excitement to the lesson and hold the learner’s attention. However, visual and auditory components that are intended to stimulate rather than educate do not always make for sound instructional design in multimedia delivery and can quickly become counter-productive to learning (Sorden, 2005).

Meaningful learning is described as a deep understanding of the material, which includes attending to salient aspects of the presented material, retaining relevant information in both visual working memory and auditory working memory, organizing it into a coherent mental structure, and integrating it with relevant prior knowledge. Multimedia learning combining animation with narration generally improves performance on retention tests better than when information is presented as either text or narration alone. More importantly, meaningful learning is demonstrated when the learner can apply what is presented in new situations, and students perform better on problem-solving transfer tests when they learn with words and pictures (Sorden, 2005).

How can instructors help learning become meaningful? Here is a list of training design cognitive principles taken from ASTD Handbook of Instructional Technology (Wilson, 1993).

Foster a learning culture.

  1. Offer training, within an overall culture that encourages cooperation, risk-taking, and growth.
  2. Get learners’ buy-in and commitment in achieving training goals.

Motivate learners.

  1. Demonstrate the value of the training to the learners and cultivate their sense of confidence in their ability to master the objectives.

Make training problem-centered.

  1. Draw on authentic needs and contexts; make requirements of learning tasks similar to important requirements of job tasks.
  2. Encourage learners’ active construction of meaning, drawing on their existing knowledge.
  3. Teach multiple learning outcomes together.
  4. Sequence instruction so that learners can immediately benefit from what they learn by applying it to real-world tasks.

Help learners assume control of their learning.

  1. Provide coaching.
  2. Provide scaffolding and support in performing complex tasks.
  3. Adjust tools (equipment), task, and environment.
  4. Provide timely access to information and expertise.
  5. Provide timely access to performance feedback.
  6. Utilize group problem-solving methods.
  7. Provide help only when the learner is at an impasse and only enough help for the learner to complete the task.
  8. Fade support.
  9. Minimize mean time to help (i.e., provide “just-in-time” training).
  10. Encourage learners to reflect on their actions.
  11. Encourage exploration.
  12. Encourage learners to detect and learn from their errors.

Provide meaningful “practice.”

  1. Provide opportunities for learners to apply what they’ve learned in authentic contexts. If it is not feasible to practice on real tasks, provide cases or simulations.
  2. Personalize practice.


Instructional design with a cognitive approach is a good idea for teachers and trainers alike. I agree with the concepts and I recognize my college professors implemented several of these strategies. If I am tasked with creating meaningful learning I hope I will be able to apply these concepts to design instruction. Currently I am only creating “informational instruction” because I am following a preset teaching format used by the department called procedures. These procedures are simply a list of steps designed to achieve a desired result. Although learning does occur, it lacks meaning. After learners follow the prescribe steps, they have completed a task, but they may not remember the steps in the future and may have to access the procedure again to perform the same task. Repetition of the steps will eventually result in learning, but not necessarily a deep understanding of the task. I think providing the reasons why the particular steps in the task are performed would improve my instructional design.



Sorden, S. D. (2005). A cognitive approach to instructional design for multimedia learning. Informing Science Journal. 8. 1-17. Retrieved from http://inform.nu/Articles/Vol8/v8p263-279Sorden34.pdf

Wilson, B. G., Jonassen, D. H., & Cole, P. (1993). Cognitive approaches to instructional design. In G. M. Piskurich (Ed.), The ASTD handbook of instructional technology (pp. 21.1-21.22). New York: McGraw-Hill. Retrieved from http://carbon.ucdenver.edu/~bwilson/training.html

CECS 5210 Blog Reflection: Self-Regulation

What does it mean to manage/regulate yourself (self-regulate) and others? How does it bring you towards goals? How important is communication in this process and what helps/impedes it?

I came across an interesting article about developing self-regulation in kindergarten children. The article written by E. Bodrova and D. J. Leong was titled Can we keep all the crickets in the basket? In the article a kindergarten teacher says that teaching 5-year olds is like trying to keep crickets in a basket: when you open the lid to put in a few more crickets, the others jump out.

“In today’s kindergarten classrooms, where demands for academic learning are on the rise, teachers can no longer wait until their “little crickets” simply outgrow their hard-to-manage behaviors. In fact, many teachers rate “difficulty following directions” as their number one concern about children, indicating that more than half of their students experience this difficulty” (Bodrova, 2008).

Self-regulation is a deep, internal mechanism that enables children as well as adults to engage in mindful, intentional, and thoughtful behaviors. Self-regulation has two sides, first, it involves the ability to control one’s impulses and to stop doing something when needed, and second, it involves the ability to do something even if one doesn’t want to do it. Social interactions require emotional self-regulation. Thinking requires cognitive self-regulation. Fortunately, there is growing evidence that self-regulation can be taught in the classroom. As children grow older and their brains develop, they can increasingly take control of both their feelings and their thinking. If a neural system is repeatedly exercised, it will continue to develop, just like exercising a muscle. On the other hand, if children do not systematically engage in self-regulatory behaviors at a young age, the corresponding brain areas may not develop to their full potential. Examples of self-regulation children can learn in kindergarten are to resist the immediate feeling to blurt out the answer when the teacher poses a question to another child or to delay playing outside until an assignment is completed. Suggestions for teachers to help develop these skills are also presented in the article.

Addressing gaps in knowledge alone cannot guarantee success in learning for all children. Addressing the development of self-regulation as an underlying skill is what makes learning possible. Instruction in self-regulation in the early years deserves just as much attention as the instruction in academic subjects.

Another article by Alice Boyes states that adults that have successfully learned emotional self-regulation experience personal happiness, success, and healthy relationships. The article asks ten question about behaviors that indicate emotional self-regulation:

  • Can you identify which specific emotions you’re feeling?
  • Can you identify which specific emotions someone else is feeling?
  • Do you have the ability to start and persist with pursuing goals even when you feel anxious?
  • Do you have the ability to tolerate awkwardness?
  • Can you have intimate conversation rather than stonewall, avoid or flee?
  • Do you crumble when someone is pressuring you?
  • Can you sooth your own emotions?
  • Can you sooth others?
  • Can you wait?
  • Do you know how to manage your positive emotions? (Boyes, 2013)

The article advises that anyone having difficulty in any of these areas shouldn’t criticize themselves, but rather use the revelation to work on improving these target areas.

Immediate gratification often impedes self-regulation. Some people rarely hesitate when offered a piece of their favorite candy, even if they are trying to lose weight. Marketing companies exploit this human weakness further by promoting impulse buying. Even the digital age has made most people feel impatient by delivering information on every topic on every device at any moment. Researchers warn that giving tablets and smartphones to children to divert their attention could be detrimental to developing internal mechanisms of self-regulation (Walters, 2015). The adverse effects of television and video on very small children is well understood, but society’s understanding of the impact of mobile devices on the preschool brain has been outpaced by how many children are already using them. “Additionally, these devices may replace the hands-on activities important for the development of sensorimotor and visual-motor skills, which are equally important for the learning and application of mathematics and science” (Walters, 2015). Although there is evidence that well-researched early-learning television programs, electronic books, and learn-to-read applications on mobile devices can help vocabulary and reading comprehension, but only when children are much closer to school age. It is not difficult to see how a child that receives immediate visual stimulus grows into an impatient adult that lacks the ability to self-regulate.



Bodrova, E. (2008). Developing self-regulation in kindergarten: can we keep all the crickets in the basket? Beyond the Journal – Young Children on the Web. https://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/200803/BTJ_Primary_Interest.pdf

Boyes, A. (2013). 10 essential emotional regulation skills for adults. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-practice/201304/10-essential-emotion-regulation-skills-adults

Walters, J. (2015). Tablets and smartphones may affect social and emotional development, scientists speculate. The Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/01/toddler-brains-research-smartphones-damage-social-development

CECS 5210 Blog Reflection: Analysis and Design


Part 1: What have you learned from the analysis? What are you planning to do with it? Do a little brainstorming about what activities tied to your learning objectives that you might include in the design of your lesson.

It is unfortunate, but I have to report that I’m not sure I learned anything from the analysis and I’m really not sure what to do with it. I’m actually concerned, and quite frustrated, that I can’t get my head wrapped around this concept. In order to answer these blog questions accurately, I did some further research about Learning Needs Assessments and found the following analogy:Learning Needs Assessments (LNA) or Training Needs Assessments (TNA) share several similarities with the labyrinth. Just as a labyrinth has a path to follow, the LNA has a “gap” that must be found and bridged. This gap is what is between what is currently in place and what is needed, both now and in the future. While some labyrinths have one path that must strictly be followed, others have a multitude of ways to reach the end or exit.” (http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/isd/assessment.html).  Okay, so now I understand the assessment is there to bridge the gap. But I feel I am way past that gap already. Maybe I’m moving too quickly (which seems unlikely considering how far behind I am on my projects this semester). For my first project in particular, training doesn’t exist and I get to create it. I have been given a template for the training and I need to plug in the information. Taking the time to write an analysis seemed like a waste of time. If I didn’t know what training needed to be developed, or how the training should be structured, then I think I would place more value to the analysis step. But in this case, I don’t.

Then I get really stumped when trying to answer ‘What activities tied to my learning objectives might be included in the design of my lesson.’ Again, maybe I’m over thinking this. It was hard enough for me to put my learning objectives in to words, but trying to say how they are going to be a part of the lesson design doesn’t make sense to me. My lesson design is written step-by-step instructions in a standardized format that is often used by the “Client” to establish procedures or protocol. Maybe I’m just having a problem with choice of words. Instead of ‘what are you planning to do with your analysis’ I should answer ‘what information needs to be presented in the lesson?’ Instead of ‘what activities in the learning objectives might be included in the lesson design’ I should answer ‘what do learners need to learn?’ No, I doubt that is correct either because those questions ask the same thing. More and more it is looking like my mind understands the end product but doesn’t know how to explain the steps to get to the end product.

Part 2: How are analysis and design related for you? Think about it in the context the articles and chapters we have read thus far. How closely should these two pieces of the model connect? How does the Information R/Evolution video affect each of these?

Not knowing how to answer the second part of this blog post I searched Google for “how are instructional analysis and design related” and found this quote from Allison Rossett & Kendra Sheldon: “Analysis is the study we do in order to figure out what to do.” (http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/sat2.html). Here we go again with needs assessment and ADDIE. Hey wait! Maybe I NEED the backwards planning approach of ADDIE! My goal has been identified and now I just need the actions that will likely help me effectively and efficiently arrive at the goal. The major steps of backwards planning in ADDIE are:

   Result – What impact will improve our business?

   Performance – What do the employees have to perform in order to create the desired impact?

   Learning – What knowledge, skills, and resources do they need in order to perform?

   Motivation – What do they need to perceive in order to learn and perform?

For my project the result is end users knowing how to use the SmartBoard, performance is end users following written prompts to achieve desired results, learning requires reading, understanding and/or following instructions, and using a computer and the Smartboard tools, and motivation is they need to use and troubleshoot the SmartBoard without calling tech support every time they want to use it.

I suppose analysis and design for me connect very closely. If analysis is the gap between what we have now and what we actually need, (I think I’m starting to understand analysis correctly), then the design is the blueprints for the thing that fills the gap.

The Information R/Evolution video was pretty cool, but, I can’t answer how the things in the video affect analysis or design. I’ve thought hard about this one and I’m not able to tie it together. I don’t feel confident or productive about these assignments. It’s these kinds of frustrations that cause me to think I’ve made a poor choice in my graduate degree. No one has yet been able to tell me what I’m going to be able to do for a career after I graduate either. I don’t feel I am where I belong. I don’t normally add personal thoughts and feelings to my blog assignments, but isn’t that what a blog is for? I don’t believe people read the blogs of others anyway. It’s just a very public online version of a private journal where you chat with yourself. But in this case, it is a way for my instructor to check if I’m understanding the elements of this project.


Personal Learning Theory

Let’s start with a review of learning theories.  According to the book How Learning Works: Seven Research-based Principles for Smart Teaching, learning is a process that involves change in knowledge, beliefs, behavior, or attitudes. Learning is something that students do rather than something that is given to them. (Ambrose, 2010).   Behaviorism is a worldview that assumes a learner is essentially passive, responding to environmental stimuli. Both positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement increase the probability that the learned behavior will happen again. In contrast, punishment, both positive and negative decreases the likelihood that the behavior will continue. Cognitivism is a view that people are rational beings that require active participation in order to learn. Actions of people are a direct consequence of thinking. This learning focuses on the inner mental processes such as thinking, memory, knowing, and problem-solving. The view of constructivism states that learning is an active, contextualized process of constructing knowledge rather than acquiring it. Knowledge is constructed based on personal experiences and hypotheses of the environment and learners continuously test these hypotheses through social negotiation. Constructivism assumes that all knowledge is constructed from the learner’s previous knowledge, regardless of how one is taught (Learning Theories).

Another view on learning that is currently concentrated in the United States is the 21st Century Skills initiative. My personal thoughts on learning theory concentrate  more on  this learning theory than any other.  The 21st Century Skills initiative is an education standard and reform movement that is focused on improving what US public school students need to learn in school so that they are better prepared to succeed in their school and career lives. Five basic groups of skill sets are included in the 21st Century Skills theory of learning. Life/career skills include adaptability and flexibility, initiative and self-direction, leadership and responsibility, productivity and accountability, social and cross-cultural skills. Core subjects refer to English/language arts, mathematics, arts, science, history, geography and other subjects. 21st century themes focus on civic literacy, environmental literacy, financial literacy (including economic, business, and entrepreneurial skills), global awareness, and health literacy. Information/media/technology skills are for media literacy and information literacy. Learning/innovation skills give students creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and problem solving abilities (Learning Thoeries).

The goal of the 21 Century Skills theory of learning, students are expected to master these skills and understand these themes while learning core subject content. Teachers, administrators, schools, and districts are expected to use these guidelines as a foundation for developing curriculum, assessments, and standards that they deem appropriate for their students. Some organizations, like the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, provide tools and resources for educators to use in supporting their students’ acquisition of these skills (Learning Theories). 21st-century skills are consistent with best practices for quality education. Challenging, inquiry-based classes not only help prepare students for the modern workplace and world, they also provide students with ways of thinking that are valuable in any century (Metz, 2011).

It is no longer enough to provide facts and figures to students. Too many students lack essential skills that will enable them to be ‘work-ready.’ Students must learn self-development, self-management, self-presentation, and effective communication. These skills will help students to convey their achievements, knowledge, and experience in a manner that is understood by potential employers outside the academic sector (Rose, 2013).



Ambrose, S. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Learning Theories, Learning Models, Learning Theory Summaries – in Plain English! (n.d.). Retrieved September 13, 2014, from http://www.learning-theories.com

Metz, S. (2011). 21st-century skills. The Science Teacher 78(7). 6.

Rose, M. (2013). Preparing for life “Beyond Academe”: professional skills Development for graduate students in Canadian Universities. English Studies in Canada, 39(4). 4-8.

CECS 5210 Blog Reflection: ID Real World/Career Goals

Real world instructional design:

Go out into the world (e.g. grocery store, mall, etc.) and locate two examples of instructional design in which you, the viewer/reader, are expected to learn something. What were the goals of the instruction? How effective was it? What are three things you learned that you are not likely to forget?

The first example of instructional design I found very close to where I work – in the Women’s restroom. It is a sign placed next to the sink designed to educate us about stopping the spread of the flu virus. There are four steps (wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, stay home when you’re sick, and get a vaccination) presented in three formats (picture, bold title, and full sentence). This simple sign with the title “Keep your germs to yourself” is effective in giving helpful information. There are actually four, not three, things I learned from this sign that I will not forget. They are the steps I can take to prevent the spread of the flu virus.  View the pdf here:  tx_flu_germs

The second example of instructional design I believe can be found on the UNT campus says texting while driving is not against the law in Denton and carries a $200 fine. I have not actually seen this sign posted on the UNT campus, but I was aware of its existence and searched online for a copy of it. The sign has limited words, contrasting colors, and simple art of a car plus a cell phone both with the universal “do not” symbol over them. The sign is effective in delivering the message. Three things I have learned from this sign are not to text and drive, that it is illegal to text and drive in Denton, and that I can expect to pay $200 if I am caught texting and driving.  View the pdf here:  no_text_drive

Career Goals:

Based on what you have read about instructional design, how important is it to your future work goals?

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