ID Tinted Lenses

Instructional Design has become a much broader topic than when I started this program two years ago. Especially through this course, it has become not only the noun of how instruction should be organized, presented and made more usable/engaging but also a set of principles and tools to apply to communication and perhaps even more importantly a world perspective. Like everything else I have studied in detail: radio and TV production, films, cooking, managing people, teaching, it looks very different once you start cleaning your first metaphorical case of fish and that act changes the way you look at the subject and how you look at the world. Some of this perspective came from the tone and usability of the Rapid Instructional Design: Learning ID Fast and Right (Piskurich, 2006) text and I soon saw how the process is more of a network than a cycle or linear algorithm. I came to see how each step interacted and affected the other steps as something would occur to me while I was working on a specific step. I also enjoyed those activities that encouraged discovering the design elements in unusual or unexpected places. We so often go through our environments without seeing the intention behind much of everything that we see and do and I have always appreciated a greater understanding of how things work and how they are communicated and how they influence us.
Evaluation is probably the most powerful point in the process for the designer but the one that proved difficult for me to integrate. This is ironic considering the hospitality industry is so focused on formal and informal guest evaluations, so crucial to financial success, and I also spend most of my working hours providing evaluations and feedback to nascent hospitality professionals but find it so difficult to see what my customers think. It isn’t that I don’t think it is important, but rather I’m usually so focused on development I don’t remember or feel like I have time for an evaluation piece. Additionally the fact that it requires the client to participate with the resultant complexities of time, ease of use, ability and willingness makes it rare and valuable as getting feedback from my teacher clients is difficult because they are walking through the same deluge of responsibilities that I am every day. I have made it a point to add user evaluations to my lesson plate templates as the third reason they were so often missing is because I wouldn’t even think of asking and that’s just not very smart. Feedback and evaluation are not only effective drivers for increased quality (hence the importance of the Michelin Restaurant Guide, et al) but even more importantly build and reinforce connections between people. Students spend so much of their day being told what to do and what not to do, asking them to evaluate the instruction they receive is not only refreshing for them, but shows and thereby earns respect and thereby increases the likelihood of that most precious ingredient in all of education: motivation to learn.

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