First steps in Instructional Design!
Throughout this course, I have not only gained a theoretical understanding of distance learning, but also practical knowledge of how to apply what I have learned to a distance learning scenario. As distance learning is still seen by some to be inferior to face-to-face learning, I have the unique privilege of being a part of changing the public’s perceptions, as discussed by Dr. Siemens in The Future of Distance Education. Through rooting my designs in solid distance learning theory and engaging students in a variety of tasks using technological tools and activities that are also soundly based in theory, I can deliver quality courses that will assist in the improvement of societal perceptions of distance learning.
Starting this course, I had no experience with creating distance learning activities other than the brief introductions in my ID and Advanced ID courses. This class gave me the opportunity to base my instructional decisions on distance theory, which will be a crucial and extremely helpful part of my future work. Through this introduction to theory, I now have a source of guidelines to help give direction, consistency, and quality to my designs. It has been extraordinarily helpful and informative. Also through the requirement of connecting theory to my planned activities, I was reminded of the important fact that “Learning (is) not enhanced because instruction (is) media based. Rather, the content of the instruction, the method used to promote learning, and the involvement of the learner in the instructional experience were what influenced learning” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, p. 12). The technological tools do not create learning, rather the theory behind them, the methods used in the classroom, and getting the learner involved personally in the instruction, are what contribute to learning.
I look forward to being a part of distance learning as it evolves and changes in the coming years. I believe that as long as quality instruction is being developed with learners foremost in mind, while being based on proper theory, that the public perception of distance learning will only become more and more positive. I plan to be a positive force in this movement by committing to quality designs that are based on the principles I have learned in this course. I will ensure students know what makes a good distance learner and that they know how to prepare themselves for the experience. I will design courses that are based on theory with activities that make meaningful connections between learners and between learners and their instructor (Simonson et. al., 2012). I will inform the instructors of my courses on the importance of connecting with their learners through technology tools, but also through creating highly motivational and personal learning experiences (Simonson et. al., 2012). All of these factors will not only create quality instruction, but will also help in changing perceptions of what distance learning is and what quality learning can be.
Duischooledmondok (n.d.) Image retrieved from http://www.duischooledmondok.com/going-distance-with-distance-learning/
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). The future of distance education. [Video podcast]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_3396926_1%26url%3D
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.