Monday, January 14, 2013

Reflecting on my Master's Degree Experience

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As I reflect on my experiences in obtaining my Master’s degree in Instructional Design and Technology, several challenges come to mind. The first challenge was learning how to think and write reflectively. I would wait till the end of each class and struggle to remember key points to highlight. Then I got a terrific suggestion from one of my instructors to keep a note pad on my desktop and jot down key points throughout the course. That way, all my material was ready to summarize in my reflection at the end of class. Learning to write again at a college level was also a difficult challenge. My bachelor’s degree was in an allied health field and we spent more time working on clinical practices rather than writing papers. I was sorely aware of my need for writing improvement after my first class. With the help of the amazing staff at Walden’s writing center, I was able to come up to speed pretty fast. Lastly, I was one of the few that did not start this program from an education background. My careers are deeply rooted in science and technology, so learning theory was entirely new concept for me. Although I had to put in extra study hours for theory classes, the technology classes were a little easier for me. The exciting thing about the MISDT program is that there are many students from a wide range of backgrounds. I was able to share some of my knowledge of technology and project management, while gaining a vast deal of insight into the world of education. 
Instructional design was born from communications and education. From communications, ideas about message design, readability, and screen and page design were merged with ideas from education such as how people learn in formal and informal settings. From there, over forty different instructional design models have been shared. All of them are commonly based on the processes of Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation, also known as the ADDIE process. ("About instructional design,").

I have to admit that thought that instructional design would be mostly development and design with emphasis on technology. I was surprised to learn that just as crucial to the instructional design process were phases like analysis, implementation and evaluation, and that instructional designers had to be knowledgeable enough to manage any and all of those phases. Instructional designers also have to act as facilitators, project managers, evaluators and communicators of information. I have been fortunate enough to gain some experience with project management and communication, but will need to gain the full range of experience as I move through my new career. I know that it is a process and one must fine tune their skills based on experiences, but I certainly will try not to lose sight of my overall goals of adding value to any project I undertake. I want to know how people learn and develop engaging learning activities or practices that mirror real life skills.


About instructional design & technology (idt). (n.d.). Retrieved from

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