4.4d | Instructional Design Principles

As a learning designer, the coach is expected to model the use of instructional design principles with educators to create effective digital learning environments. 

Throughout the DEL Program, I have learned different instructional design principles and problem-solving strategies. Among these principles and strategies are computational thinking which is an approach to complex problem solving. It involves the ability to understand and pinpoint the problem, then conceive solutions to solve that problem. Components of computational thinking include algorithmic thinking, decomposition, pattern generalization, abstraction and finally evaluation to ensure that the solution is sound and fit. This valuable skills goes beyond simply learning about computer science but equips students for life in whichever field they eventually end up in.

Another technology-based learning solution I came across was personalized learning which includes adaptive learning solutions using AI technology to create personalized learning paths to cater to the learning speed and abilities of different learners. Mastery of learning goals can be assessed and detected before students can progress to the next level.

In autonomous learning, this method of instructional design aims to produce learners who are independent and self-directed. The Autonomous Learner Model covers 5 different dimensions including orientation, individual development, enrichment, seminars, and in-depth study. This method is especially useful for solving the problem of teacher shortages as the whole basis of autonomous learning is letting the learner direct their own learning while teachers take on a secondary role in the learning process. This autonomy to choose however needs to be balanced well by first ensuring that students have the capacity to choose and judge what’s best for them. For autonomous learning to work, besides giving students choice, we also need to help them discover their own interests, needs, values, and preferences while seeking out their dreams.

I also learned about the Understanding by Design (UbD) Model, also known as the Backward Design Process. This method focuses on the outcome of the activity instead of focusing on the learning objective. The process involves 3 stages starting with first identifying the desired results, followed by determining acceptable evidences and finally planning the learning experiences and instruction.

Using the UbD model, if the desired result is for students to master problem solving and learning concepts at each learner’s individual pace, personalized learning can be a powerful tool that enables the learning designer to achieve this. The learning designer can then use computational thinking concepts to set acceptable evidence such as the learner’s ability to pinpoint a problem and conceive solutions before finally designing learning experiences that requires the learner to solve problems.

In designing an art workshop in my school, I used the design thinking method as a way to teach creative problem solving. The design is broken into three simple principles – focus, simplicity, and cross-disciplinary thinking. The Art Workshop was designed to help students understand the importance of studying design and building a broader view of the nature and definition of art. I also aim to equip them with 21st-century skills while moulding their character into becoming empathetic and kind citizens who understand gratitude.

In Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT), I learned how to design learning experiences and environments using culturally sustaining pedagogical approaches. CRT leverages on the strengths of ethnically diverse students – their cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles – to make learning experiences more relevant and effective for these learners. The biggest takeaway for me is that CRT requires a mindset shift, away from a cultural deficit perspective, i.e. “viewing that individuals from some cultural groups lack the ability to achieve just because of their cultural background. It also requires a shift in subtractive views, i.e. “practices that remove students’ culture or language from classroom contexts, and assuming that students’ academic successes depend on the degree to which they give up their own cultures or linguistic practices or traditions to assimilate into mainstream culture.” (Silverman, 2011). Coaches who embrace CRT needs to include multiple perspectives in curriculum design and actively review their current practices.

 

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