This post is part one of a fourteen part series, Teaching Strategies, that is based on a series of education workshops. I’m documenting the content for myself, but hopefully it will also be useful to (1) librarians looking for more theoretical background for their own teaching and (2) for librarians looking to better understand education models as they look for new ways to support and participate in the educational missions of their institutions.
This is the first in a series of posts that I’m writing that outline the Teaching Teaching/Strategies workshops I’ve conducted in the past at Wake. This fall we’re looking forward towards a new professional development model, and I wanted to attempt to gather my materials and notes on the sessions while they are still somewhat fresh in my mind. Hence, the post you are now reading.
The structure of the workshops was based around an hour-long “course.” Each week any WFU librarian or library staff member (from the main, professional, or medical libraries) was invited to attend and we covered a wide array of instructional topics. I intentionally structured each class to cover content, but to also take advantage of the expertise in the room: there was plenty of time for discussion and for active learning exercises. I was under no delusion: the people “taking” the class, in some cases, had much more teaching experience than I had. What I brought to the table was the theoretical explanation and underpinning for why the things worked that worked, and a way of framing the discussion that would help us build on the examples people brought to the discussion. I also used a variety of active learning activities as part of the day-to-day experience so that by the end of the “course” everyone would have a toolkit of options at their disposal.
To kick off, I started with a discussion of what Instructional Design is. I started with a lecture that allowed for a conversation at a few specific points. This made very good sense at that point in the workshop: I was a relatively new ID Librarian in a new position in my library at an institution without any instructional designers on staff. With that for context, the information was both useful and provided an explanation of why I was the one leading the workshops and what I could offer our librarians. The lecture allowed people to get comfortable with the idea of the workshops before being asked to be more participatory.
My main objective for the first session was to set the stage for the class and get to know the dynamics of the group. As part of that I intentionally made the goals, outcomes, and intentions of this “course” clear, gave a broad overview of the topic, got a sense of what everyone hoped to get from the class, and noted group dynamics that would likely impact future sessions. That data was very helpful in helping making adjustments to the course in light of additional analysis.
Here were the slides from that first session:
Frameworks for Instructional Design:
- Instructional Technology
Who does it?
- Distance Educators
- Instructional Designers
- Content Developers
- For-profit Educators
- Corporate Trainers
What does it do?
- Needs assessment
- Goals and objectives identification
- Audience and setting analysis
- Content development
- Delivery development
Where does it happen?
- In your office
- In the classroom
- In your inbox
- Wherever you get your evaluations
When does it occur?
- All the time: before, during, and after the class
Why does it happen?
- To meet required objectives
- To anticipate student needs
- To meet the needs of unique audiences
- To clarify your intention
- To speed up the process
- To demonstrate continued improvement
- ID, as a process, allows instructors to set clear learning outcomes, plan to meet them, and ensure that they were met. This is useful for our own teaching, but even more interestingly, if you know the learning outcomes of your department’s programs, you can see clearly where the library can fit and pitch instruction to those points.
- ID allows you to anticipate student needs and meet the needs of unique audiences. We all know even the best instruction isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. ID allows you to think through and plan instruction that will be beneficial to the specific group you’re targeting, whether in person or online and asynchronously.
- ID forces you to clarify your intent, which is useful to students to know why they’re learning the content in the first place, but also allows you to stay on message. We’ve all seen or taught a class where afterwards we realized that it was too much content for too little time. ID can help prevent that.
- ID might seem to take extra time in the beginning. Who has time to slow down for all these steps? However, with time the process speeds up, and with really well designed instruction, you will find yourself able to reuse content again and again, saving time in the long run.
- And finally, in this day of assessment, ID can allow you to demonstrate the value of your teaching and continued improvement in your work. Good on all counts.
A lot informs the instructional design process. In this “course” we discussed: instructional design models, taxonomies of learning, educational psychology, educational theorists, multiple intelligences, learning styles, teaching styles, learning theory, problem based learning, active learning, inquiry learning, classroom management, and assessment. And that’s what’s coming in the rest of the series.