What I Learned This Summer


I was charged to blog about what I have learned over the past 10 weeks in my Instructional Systems Design course.  Well. Where do I begin?  Let’s start with the intrinsic germane cognitive load.

I learned the generally accepted instructional design process as outlined by George M,. Piskurich (2015) in Rapid Instructional Design process (Piskurich, 2015).  Specifically, I learned to complete the below ADDIE instructional design system steps:

  • Analyze. I learned to conduct a thorough Needs Analysis that includes assessments of who needs the training; why they need training; what they need to learn; when they need to learn it, how are they expected to apply their new learning; and how to use my analysis to determine which instructional approach would best meet the needs of my client and the targeted learners.
  • Design. I learned how to write goals and performance outcomes that align with an organization’s mission and purpose; how to design lesson plans and curriculum to meet those goals and performance targets; and how to select the best media and the instructional design approach for targeted learners based on their current levels of knowledge and performance.
  • Develop. I learned how to prepare draft instructional design materials for review and client approvals; how to receive and process client feedback to ensure my materials meet the client’s expectations while avoiding scope creep.
  • Implement. I learned how to create instructor job aids and learner development materials that facilitate the learning process and assist with the implementation of my instructional designs.
  • Evaluation. I learned how to integrate the Kirkpatrick Partners “end-to-beginning” training evaluation model into the ADDIE “beginning-to-end” instructional design process and how to create performance management and monitoring tools that measure both tangible and intangible cost benefits ( Pikurich, 2015).

Good stuff, huh?

But, I learned that  – and so much more.  I learned to apply some theoretical principles too.

I learned that it is not enough to design learning systems based on the behaviorist’s approach of transferring knowledge from instructor to the learner.  I learned that training should take a comprehensive approach that includes strategic communicative interactions between teacher and learners, individual learner constative activities, group normative discussions and learner dramaturgical presentations (Habermas, 1984).  But, I also learned I should not get so caught up in the ADDIE process that I end up wasting my client’s time and/or aggravate him/her by insisting that each and every step of the ADDIE process be adhered to in a dogmatic and inflexible fashion (Thiagarajan, 1993).

I learned to respect multiple types of intelligence (Gardner, 1983) and that an inadequate needs assessment can reflect unfavorably upon an instructional designer (Romiszowki, 1981) and that there is no excuse for developing materials that do not align with the learner’s interest, motivations or that do not meet him/her within their zone of proximity (Vygotski, 1978). This includes ensuring the long-term encoding of new skills and knowledge by including opportunities for learners to practice new skills and build episodic memories (Goldstein, 2015).

I learned that it is the instructor/teacher that is the ultimate judge of the quality of an instructional design. So, I should always ensure I treat the instructor/teacher as my valued and respected “partner” during the instructional design process.  I learned I could accomplish this by creating accompanying instructions for lesson preparation, concise and clear information about the central elements of the design, suggested teaching patterns, and expected reactions of the pupils/learners during delivery as job aids (Van den Akker, 1994)

I also learned that, for my instructional designs to have value, I must ensure my systems facilitate the effective, efficient, and thereby, productive delivery of education (Molenda, 1996).  Otherwise, I could end up including extraneous materials that might deduct from the intrinsic germane cognitive load (Kirschner, 2002).

In other words, I have learned a whole lot of stuff between June and August 2017.


Gardner, H. (2011). Frames of mind. New York: Basic Books.

Goldstein, E. B. (2015). Cognitive psychology (4th ed. ed.). Stamford, Conn: Cengage Learning.

Habermas, J. (1984). The theory of communicative action. Volume 1. Reason and the

rationalization of society. (T. McCarthy). Boston, MA: Beacon Press. J. Habermas, 1981, Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Suhrkamp Verlag.

Kirschner, P. A. (2002). Cognitive load theory: Implications of cognitive load theory on the design of learning. Learning and Instruction, 12(1), 1-10. doi:10.1016/S0959-4752(01)00014-7

Molenda, M. (2009). Instructional technology must contribute to productivity. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 21(1), 80-94. doi:10.1007/s12528-009-9012-9

Piskurich, G. M. (2015). Rapid instructional design (3 ed. ed.). US: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Romiszowski, A. J. (1988). Designing instructional systems (Repr. ed.). London: Kogan Page.

Thiagarajan, Sivasailam (1993). Just-in-time instructional design. In Pickurich, G. (Ed.) the ASD Handbook of Instructional Technology. New York: McGraw-Hill

Van den Akker, J. (1994). Designing innovations from an implementation perspective. In Husen, Torsten & Postlethwaite, T. Neville. (Eds.) The International Encyclopedia of Education. 2nd ed. Oxford, U.K,: Elsevier Science

Vygotsky, L. (1978). The interaction between learning and development. From: Mind and Society (pp.79-91). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


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