Reflecting back on what I have learned about during my time in the EDTECH program, I thought about the most meaningful and significant artifacts I created. Specifically, I thought about how they have impacted my learning and professional growth, and after much thought, I realized that there were countless examples of how my particular work in the EDTECH program translated to real world application. For example, in EDTECH 503, I thought about my Final Instructional Design Project and how important good instructional design is to learning. In short, when I was working on this project, I learned that quality instructional design stimulates learning to happen faster and more efficiently than it would normally happen in a natural learning environment. In other words, instructional design adds a structured process to the action of learning. Specifically, it assesses the learner’s needs and ultimately applies an appropriate learning strategy to meet those needs. Additionally, I learned that good instructional design provides an academic foundation to learning that is largely developed under an immense amount of theories, standards, and pedagogies that are constantly reviewed and amended for ultimate effectiveness.
Now, although the aforementioned characteristic of instructional design was recently new to me professionally, I had always understood that quality instructional design entailed both a logical and creative design process. . . which for me is the perfect marriage. Training individuals on creative software for design during my work day, I knew instructional design was not only a creative, artful construction, but also a detailed development process that ensured the original educational message remained intact and enhanced. In fact, this unique combination is where I believe “design” differs from “art.” In short, in my professional experience “design” not only consists of creative, artful elements, but it also projects a specific concept that is meant to convey a deeper meaning or reflection.
Essentially, this assignment’s thoroughness taught me that instructional design is a special mixture of logic and creativity and is ultimately why I believe instructional design is like a modern art painting. In short, modern art is also the perfect combination of logic or technical knowledge and creativity. Furthermore, it is a medium that often gets discounted by the general public because of the amount of modern art and everyone’s belief in their own personal, artistic skills. In fact, much like designing a course, the average person sees creating modern art as something easy to do. For example, to a novice, a modern art painting is just a pretty, abstract picture, but, to the trained eye, a good modern art painting is planned and ultimately utilizes the artist’s unique set of skills to create the final image. In other words, when the average person looks at a modern art painting, they typically fail to see the skill in creating that image because of its excellent execution. Unfortunately, the same result is often experienced in instructional design. In all, I learned that individuals typically fail to understand what makes a particular instructional design good, but, fortunately, the instructional designer, like the professional artist, understands that applying certain principles and theories will ultimately strengthen the overall appeal of the design. This lesson’s impact was huge to me professionally. Ultimately, I learned that by researching the particular learning styles and the strength and weaknesses of my students, I was able to more effectively design a course for my colleagues that facilitated more effective learning.