My project in instructional design will achieve the following goal.
To better scaffold the reflective process in a problem based learning project, my university students will participate in hands on instruction with the specific outcomes of proficiently creating, collaborating on and managing a weebly.com blog.
In order to achieve this goal, I will use the innovation model. I feel this model best fits the learning context for which this project is designed. The broader scope of my project is to allow my students the greatest possible opportunity (within my power) to see improvement in their English communication skills. The current system works to some measurable degree. However, it is my intention to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of instruction by incorporating problem based learning into the curriculum. Within this project, new learning goals arise and must be accommodated.
The nature of the change comes in the form of requiring students to create and participate using digital tools and media. By incorporating the creation and utilization of blogs to reflect on experiences and offer feedback to classmates, students must learn how to appropriately manipulate a weebly.com blog. By shifting the focus of classroom instruction away from traditional language learning approaches, students will be required to understand different processes and do new activities. With careful instructional design, this knowledge can be taught.
With the inclusion of this problem based learning project, learning to use weebly.com becomes a necessary goal. There are adequate resources available and the new goal enhances previous goals. However, the inclusion of the problem based learning project may conflict with current teachers and/or senior professors. These professors may feel students are already taxed with an abundance of homework and dismiss ‘blogging’ as irrelevant to their future aspirations of teaching. (My students will be elementary school teachers in Korea upon graduation and successful employment). Also, affected instructors teaching on the freshman English program may object to the new approach and feel it does not ‘fit’ their style or method of instruction.
The needs assessment I intend to conduct will likely happen in three ways. First, I will interview the affected instructors with a list of carefully planned questions regarding their attitudes towards the implementation of the project. Second, I will provide a survey for the teachers requesting information regarding their technical proficiencies. Finally, I will approach senior professors with the proposal of implementing the PBL project, explaining in detail how it fits and moves beyond the current approach.
The learning environment in which my project is situated may present hurdles for implementation. First, as stated above, some teacher may object to the new materials or approach. Additionally, other teachers may have trouble or lack expertise in regards to utilizing digital media and tools. These teachers are competent, experienced and well practiced in their current positions. They understand their learners and have created methods and styles they view as effective. The new instruction will be designed to fit within the current curriculum. The new materials can be seen as an enhancement of the curriculum. Multiple computer labs with high speed Internet are in place and each lab has a projector and screen. These will be key components of the instruction.
Learner characteristics will play an important role in my ID project. I will focus on four characteristic areas to assess to best design for instruction. The first area will be general cognitive characteristics. I will need to know how student’s language levels as well as their reading levels will affect their comprehension of the instruction. The second area is specific prior knowledge. What do my students already know? Are they familiar with blogs or commenting on blog posts? This will allow me to be more effective and efficient. The third area is affective characteristics. I will need to know if my students are motivated to learn and if mediated forms will promote that motivation. Also, I will need to understand their level of anxiety when using English in a public forum. The last area is social characteristics. By assessing these characteristics, I will have a better understanding of the students feelings about working in groups and assigning roles for collaborative activities.
Some possible sample questions are as follows:
- How comfortable are you using a computer?
- Have you ever created a blog?
- Do you currently use Facebook or Cyworld (Korean Blog)?
- How often do you comment on blog posts?
- Do you have a Google account?
- Are you familiar with uploading video and photos to websites?
- Do you feel you can use English when surfing the Internet?
- Do you have access to a computer with high speed Internet?
- How do you feel using social media to practice your English?
- Are you comfortable receiving comments on content you create?
- Are you comfortable commenting on content other students create?
- As a group member, what role will you take in blogging with your group?
- Do you feel this activity will help improve your English?
- What can you do to make this activity successful?
- Do you like or dislike teachers using technology in the classroom? Why or why not?
- If you wrote a blog post about the city in which you live, what would you tell people?
Smith, P. L., & Ragan, T. J. (2004). Instructional design(3rd ed.). Wiley.