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Final Reflection Paper

Lisa Berkland
EDUC 765 Trends & Issues in Instructional Design
After nearly 25 years away from school, writing papers, being graded, etc., I
enrolled in this Instructional Design Certificate program. My greatest fear was that
somehow, over the course of the last 25 years, I had fallen behind and I would be
scrambling to catch up. My first course, Trends and Issues in Instructional Design
has put my fears to rest. The course has awakened within me a thirst to learn and
challenged me to break the threshold of the depths of thinking to which had
become acceptable. It has been, for me, like breathing in the fresh air of a cool,
crisp, sunny spring day! I can breathe again!
The course began by delving into the world of an instructional designer. I learned
more about what an instructional designer does and how it differs from other similar
positions. I explored the job market for instructional designers and found that much
of what employers are looking for, I do indeed have. This series of courses will add
to my knowledge base and add computer-based training skills. These are just what
I need to add to call myself an instructional designer. I very much enjoyed the
exploration of several different instructional design models, like Kemps Instructional
Design Model presented in our textbook (Morrison, 2013), as well as the Dick and
Carey model (Lee & Lee, 2016), the Conditions of Learning Models by Gagne
(Culatta, 2015) and others. I would have to say that the Kemp model appeals to me
for its real-world practicality. While the model acknowledges that instructional
design is a systematic process, at the same time it leaves room for the reality that
not all projects start in the same place. I also appreciated the discussion, both in
the text and on our discussion board about what is referred to as the ADDIE model,
but isnt truly a model at all.
In applying the instructional design model to my project, I was forced to ask myself
and sometimes my supervisors many questions in order to make the best decisions.
Originally, the topic my supervisor assigned me was communicating public value
using evaluation. I had to get clarity on exactly who needed to be the target of this
training in order to do an adequate front-end analysis. Then I realized that I really
needed some better data on what the target audience already knows and what they
have an interest in learning. So I created and distributed a survey. As the process
continued toward the goal analysis, I became more and more uncomfortable with
the topic. I realized, not only am I not a subject matter expert, but no one is! Upon
consultation with several people, I decided to narrow my topic to evaluation alone.
This decision allowed me to really bring focus to my project and to write solid

When we got into the various learning theories, I was surprised at the number of
them in existence and that I was only really familiar with a few. I was really excited
to learn more about the Constructivist theory (Abbott, 2008), as I have heard others
refer to it, but had never studied it. I discovered, I do use it frequently though. In
my organization, we are very committed to the Experiential Learning Model,
although slightly different than the one referenced in our module (Culatta, 2015).
We also look frequently to Inquiry methods (Carmichael).
Since the target audience for my project does happen to be adults, I find that
Knowles Adult Learning Theory (Culatta, 2015) is highly applicable. It fits nicely
with my learner characteristics. I first learned about this theory in graduate school
many years ago, and I have found it to be extremely helpful when working with
adults. Directly related to Knowles Adult learning theory is the use of Kellers ARCS
Motivational theory (Clark, 2010). If the instruction doesnt grab the attention of the
learners, isnt relevant to them, doesnt build their confidence, and isnt satisfying,
then it wont reach adult learners.
What fascinated me more than anything, though, was learning that there really isnt
evidence to support designing instruction based on learning styles (Morrison, 2013)!
I am shocked and saddened that this is not more well-known in educational circles.
I have shared this learning with peers, who were equally surprised.
The front-end analysis concepts werent necessarily new to me, but I really
appreciated the details we were asked to consider. Many of the pieces are things I
have often taught to others when I have taught about how to sequence and design
4-H Challenge (low ropes) programs. Knowing your audience is vital to attaining
The task or goal analysis as a process was probably the least familiar to me prior to
this course. For my project it seemed that the goal analysis was the best fit,
although one could argue that evaluation is a procedure. This analysis doesnt
seem to have a great impact on the learning theory selected, but certainly was
valuable in later writing the objectives and determining the overall content of the
Admittedly, the most challenging part of the course for me was writing my terminal
and enabling objectives. I have been out of practice in writing objectives that are
super clear. I realized that most of the objectives I usually write are missing both
the conditions and the criterion. I had to read, re-read, write drafts and start over,
but in the end, I am very satisfied with level of clarity I was able to reach. I am
appreciative of the feedback I received from Ms. Stone about narrowing my topic. In
the end, I think I had a breakthrough while reading Robert Magers chapter on
Criterion in Preparing Instructional Objectives (2012). I believe I wrote the best
objectives I have ever written in my life.

I have to say how impressed I am with the design of this course. I have participated
in one or two online Moodle courses for professional development in the past and
they were not nearly as engaging as this course. I hope that others will say that
about courses I develop in the future!
I am looking forward to the future courses in this Certificate program. I want to
brush up on Instructional Strategies in the next course. As Ive mentioned already,
the computer-based training course will provide skills I absolutely have to have in
order to pursue Instructional Design in todays world. Lastly, project management
has been a skill set I have wanted to improve for years, so that is a piece of this
program that I am also really anxiously awaiting!


Abbott, J. (2008, January 31). Building knowledge: constructivism in learning

[Video File].
Retrieved from
Carmichael, C. Experiential and inquiry-based learning with youth in nonformal settings.
Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Administration.
Retrieved from
Clark, D.R. (2010) John Keller's ARCS Model of Motivational Design.
Retrieved from
Culatta, R. (2015). Androgeny (Malcolm Knowles). Retrieved from
Culatta, R. (2015). Conditions of Learning (Robert Gagne). Retrieved from
Culatta, R. (2015). Experiential Learning (Carl Rogers). Retrieved from
Lee, H. & Lee, S. (2016, February 25). Dick and Carey Model. Retrieved from
Mager, R. F. (2012). Preparing instructional objectives (revised third edition).
Carefree, AZ.
Morrison, G. R., Ross, S. M., Kalman, H. K., & Kemp, J. E. (2013).
Designing effective instruction (7th edition). United States
of America. Retrieved from