Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Beginning Instructional Designer's Toolkit

I want to incorporate a reading list for the next level of the 30-minute masters (taking a crash course in Instructional Design). This would be for those who want to take their own learning to the next level. A list of important books, key terminology, basic theory.

Because it's true -- you can impress your clients and peers by working "cognitive load" into a sentence. And, more importantly, you can improve your design when you understand the theory.

(I'm not a big theory person. I'm much more into practical application. This is probably why I have never gone for that master's degree...)

These are terms that I have learned (some relatively recently) and thought, why didn't I know this ten years ago if it's so important? I'm not saying that these theories are right or wrong -- but they get tossed about and referred to with great relish by some in the industry. And I have learned a lot by looking into each of them.

This is just a starting point and doesn't provide links. Perhaps we just include this in the wiki and the informal learners can go off and do their own research (because we learn best by doing, right?).

Please add your own essentials.

My list begins as such:

Important Theories and Terms:
Gagne's 9 Events
Kirkpatrick Levels
Cognitive Load Theory
ARCS (John Keller)

Ruth Clark: e-Learning and the Science of Instruction
Malcom S. Knowles, et al: The Adult Learner

Other Good Resources:
Clark Quinn The Seven Step Program for e-Learning Improvement (PDF whitepaper)
Will Thalheimer Learning Show: Don't Forget Forgetting
Will Thalheimer Learning Research Quiz


Cammy Bean said...

Bloom's Taxonmy, of course.

Cammy Bean said...

Rand Spiro -- Cognitive Flexibility Theory (CFT)

Cammy Bean said...

Michael Allen's Guide to E-Learning

Frans Donkervoort said...

About Kilpatrick Levels:

do you mean Kirkpatrick levels?

And of course a nice link to that:


Anonymous said...

"I'm not a big theory person. I'm much more into practical application."

Amen, Cammy. I think eLearning is being killed by too much theory. Seriously. Are the professors you loved the most (and learned the most from) in college the ones that practiced advanced instructional theory? Or were they the ones that made an emotional connection with you?

There's too much theory and not enough soul in eLearning. That has to change.

Vytheeshwaran Vedagiri said...

I am a teacher myself and quite a newbie as an ID.

In my view, theory is extremely important in any area. It is the way in which it is presented to the learner. I feel that one can make theory seem like a beautiful boat ride, rather than presenting it in the form of volumes of facts through seemingly endless hours of lectures.

I do appreciate the practical way of learning ID methods (that's how I'm going about it as there are no proper ID courses in my country). In my view, an ideal training would be one which interlaces theory and practical application.

I feel that such a technique will bring the learner closer to the trainer and the emotional connection can be established. This will reveal the soul of education.

Vytheeshwaran Vedagiri

Lady of the Lake said...

Gosh, I believe in theory AND application. :-) Theory gives you the framework you need and application grounds you. Application builds your skills, but without theory you are doing it hodge-podge. I suspect that whether or not one actually studies theory, one does build a theory-of-sorts as one works along. Vedagiri is correct: the best is a good blend between the two.

And good grounding in theory and research gives you the ability to discriminate when one is using all of those buzzwords appropriately, or not.

Please do not include Malcolm Knowles without some warning caveat. Knowles' theory of adult learning has pretty much been shown to be bogus. Not that his principles aren't ok, but that they do NOT distinguish between adult learners and young learners. Sigh. We seem to *want* to think adults learn differently. Truth is -- we don't. We learn much the same, it's only that in K-12 we have a captive audience, and we feel freer to ignore good principles of any kind (my opinion, obviously).

Please do include Merrill [probably top instructional design guru working today]; Smith & Ragan; Heinich, Molenda, Smaldino et al [names have changed in most recent editions]; Cross & Angelo CATs[one of my top 10 most pragmatic books out there]. And a wonderful little book by Stephen Yelon: Powerful Principles of Instruction (follows Keller's ARCS model in several chapters, very practical!).