Two Sides to Every Story: Exploring Multiple Perspectives of Instructional Design-focused Team Leadership Strategies
Concurrent Session 3
This Express Workshop explores maximizing the efficacy of team-based instructional design (ID) leadership strategies from both the perspectives of team leader and team member. Various vignettes, lessons learned, and best practices are unpacked to help attendees glean deep insights into the successes (and failures) of a higher education/federal government ID team.
Instructional design (ID) exists in a space connecting the art and science of education. As such, oversight of ID teams raises special concerns for thought leaders as they struggle to promote academic rigor whilst avoiding the stifling and/or stagnation of a team’s creativity. This Express Workshop explores the first year of trials and tribulations experienced by the Chief of Academic Technologies at National Defense University (Washington, D.C.) as he sought to create and develop an ID team- the first of its kind at the institution. It also includes honest insights and candid critique from a team member who was privy to the entire process as it unfolded.
Five major areas (below) are unpacked from two distinct vantages: (1) from the viewpoint of the Chief of Academic Technologies; and (2) from the perspective of an instructional designer serving on the team. Frank, open, and honest discussion of what worked, and what did not, is threaded through this Express Workshop, and hands-on activities and exemplars are shared as co-facilitators explore the following concepts:
- Flat management: Early on in the forming–storming–norming–performing process, the Chief of Academic Technologies sought to promote team member engagement and perceived appreciation through implementation of a flat organizational structure. Use cases and authentic scenarios are examined to help active attendees better understand how implementing a flat structure may (or may not!) benefit their respective institutions. Related topics also include frequency, topics, and structure of individual and team-based meetings and other logistical issues and heuristics of importance.
- Opportunities to serve as project managers: In a traditional hierarchical organization structure, it can be uncommon/difficult for non-project managers to gain project management experience. Much like the conundrum of how someone is expected to get a job with no related experience (i.e., they cannot get experience without the job and vice versa), shaking up the status quo and promoting team members in project management opportunities was a critical link in the chain of success. Active participants will be afforded insights into various strategies and software used to help promote project management experience and growth for ID team members.
- Team building activities: Two hands-on activities will be modeled for attendees. The first includes a requirements compliance activity that reinforces team building and group synergy. The second is a book talk overview that promotes critical thinking and strategic decision-making skills. Other examples and strategies will be provided depending on time allowed and audience interest.
- Learning through doing: Tips and strategies including successes and failures related to technology roadshows; faculty, staff, and student workshops; instructional development murder board sessions and more will be explored to provide active participants with next steps and possibilities to take home to their host institutions. Complete documentation and templates will be provided as appropriate.
- Promoting passions: The importance of finding ways to connect to team members will be explored from multiple vantages. Topics covered include the 80/20 approach to tackling job-related duties and the promotion of strong work/life balance through providing benefits such as alternative work schedules and telework. General strategies for promoting team member well-being will be investigated by Express Workshop co-facilitators as they tie all related content together in summation.
Most simply, active and engaged attendees will leave this Express Workshop with new ideas, tips, and strategies for fostering ID team-based success regardless of their institutional roles. For example, Design Thinkers, Instructional Support, Training Professionals, and/or Technologists who attend and actively participate in this Express Workshop can return to their host institution with new knowledge and thinking to provide senior leaders with relevant activities and insights as discussed. Alternatively, Administrators (including, but not limited to, C-level leadership, directors, and supervisors) who actively engage in this session can return to work with new tools in their belts to promote ID team success at their respective institutions and beyond.