Day 21/30 in the #AprilBlogaDay Challenge.

Yesterday’s prompt was what am I working on?

Several things, but my overarching strategy is to improve my skill set as an instructional designer. What makes that especially challenging is I have never been a formal ‘instructional designer.’ I have been a teacher for a great many years however. And the idea of creating learning experiences which culminate in meeting demonstrable standards is not foreign to me. The most notable caveats of what people think of as an instructional design skills are to add technology which allows the learning to be asynchronous or at the learner’s pace. I think I can do that.

In the past I have tried to master rapid content authoring software. While I learned a great (proprietary) amount from those exercises the transferable bits were few and tedious. It was nice to be slowed down (in learning a program) enough to notice the instructional design features each program built into their scaffolding for the users. Camtasia offers guidance for the user’s eye as it travels across the screen during demonstrative video, Articulate has excellent e learning layouts which restrict the amount of content one can cram on to the screen (think about the opposite of make text smaller on a PowerPoint screen) and presented me with the power of a nice color scheme, SoftChalk helped me learn how to chunk information – not just on one page (no scroll-fest) but also per lesson. Others have been too technical or required more training than I was able to commit to; I am eyeballing you ZebraZapps.

Articulate still has a nice community which I subscribe to and contribute when I can. They have some universally appealing instructional design ideas which I love reading about as well. The Rapid eLearning Blog is also provides me with ideas about graphics and design. The community is helping me build my instructional design skills well past their products!

My current challenge is to work in straight HTML to design content. Our current learning management system (LMS) is Canvas. It is not really SCORM compliant*. So many of the past content I have created is not folding in seamlessly. But that is okay with me because I am getting to redo many things I was aching to take another crack at! It is amazing how much better I can make something when I am taking a second pass at it! I am able to take what I have learned about color palette and layout and create tables and graphics which accomplish similar things. Obviously the things I do are not at the professional level, but that turns out to be good because what I am doing other teachers feel confident enough to attempt. We are able to help those who are not yet interested in using a LMS by promoting SoftChalk for those interested in simply posting to a web page.*a whole other can of worms

The instructional design skills which I am confident in are really the teacher skills I have honed over the years: set out the objective at the start, provide rich interactions with the content, check for understanding, remediate/enrich, assess the objective.

I have two courses undergoing work right now set to start in July and August. They have been my test sites for so long that I have to start cleaning them up and looking for consistency of branding, double-check the mechanics, look at the flow of the course materials/check links, and complete any assessments/content still not done. This is authentic professional learning, but it could get a little overwhelming. That is why I like to spread it out over a few months!instructional design skills

What are you working on?