Instructional Design... Really?

So, yes. It's 12:48AM on the first day of classes... and I am so excited to be officially getting started on coursework again that I'm already watching lectures in bed. What can I say? I'm a masochist.

But - and I never understood why people went to their blogs to rant - but now I do.

I'm watching a lecture now. On instructional design. Just a basic overview. And feeling pretty frustrated.

I'm left sitting here thinking, "Really?"

The introductory lecture was a PowerPoint that was just read a PowerPoint to me. In a course on Instructional Design. And I'm struggling with this a bit.

And - my apologies to instructional designers out there - we came to the final slide that was supposed to wrap up the key points of instructional design:

"Good" instructional design is: 1) effective, 2) efficient, 3) can be replicated, and 4) reduces cost (over time).


There are a number of caveats here however. I'm a teacher by training (and by choice for that matter). And, I've been doing a lot of reading by Neil Postman... which has, to say the least, skewed my perspectives a bit in the past few days.

Let me just get a few things off my chest then. That instructional design can help learning be more effective? Great. Sign me up - I'm down.

It's those next two that bug me a bit. Efficient. Just the word makes me cringe. Here's a thought: What if "learning" isn't an efficient endeavor? How do we measure efficiency again? What if education is not about efficiency? What if the best way to inspire learning is to throw efficiency out the window? And able to be replicated. Ha! Good luck trying to replicate some of my lessons.

There were a few models of instructional design shared. None that 1) looked all that different from one another (and I have done much reading on ID models) and 2) included THE STUDENT or THE TEACHER within their models. Hm. Seems like an interesting model if you've got efficient (watered down) content with lots of bells and whistles... and no teacher or students.

This takes me back - and this is my last point - to last Spring when I was in a class devoted to designing multimedia instructional modules. There was a debate going back and forth on my classmates' blogs... I don't even remember what is was... someone was talking about how the instructional designer "might" want to check with the teacher on something or other. Might? Ya think? It was then that it dawned on me... when I left college and headed for the middle school classroom - I was the instructional designer. In fact, I didn't even have the schema for "instructional designer".

Let's review. Just pulled a definition of instructional designer from Google:
an individual who develops the methodology and delivery systems for presenting course content.

Alright now. Someone... who uses methods (pedagogy) and delivery systems (that sounds oddly familiar) to present content (knowledge). Sounds like "teacher" to me.

Note: There are other definitions on there that I've left up... those that have to do with efficiency and effective and replicable. They are there, but I whole-heartedly disagree with them. Bah.


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