What have you done for me lately? Communicating the value of the instructional support team’s activities
Concurrent Session 5
This session will explore parallels between instructional design processes and the process of crafting messages that communicate the value of instructional design to others at an institution. Participants will begin to develop and share ideas about strategies and messages that they can use when they return to their institutions.
By the end of this session, participants will be able to:
Articulate a message about the value of their instructional support organization to leadership and key stakeholders
Identify evidence they have within their own organizations to support that message
Implement strategies for navigating the complex web of professional relationships, organizational structures, group dynamics, and shared goals in order to make sure the message gets out to the right people
Background and Session Plan
The role of the instructional designer has grown and evolved over time, but instructional design teams and instructional support organizations have frequently struggled to make their value known to the wider institution (Intentional Futures, 2016; Lieberman, 2017). While the COVID-19 pandemic has perhaps heightened the profile of instructional designers (Decherney & Levander, 2020; Shattuck, Simunich & Burch, 2020), as institutions settle in to the “new normal,” it will be important for instructional designers and instructional support teams to highlight the work that they can do to enhance distributed learning (DL), classroom-based, and blended courses to provide quality student learning.
In trying to communicate their value to their organizations, instructional support teams benefit from focusing on evidence, much as they would when discussing the value of an instructional intervention with a faculty member. Likewise, just as good instruction tells a clear story, so too does effective communication about the work of instructional support teams. Finally, once the instructional support team’s story is ready, the team must find the appropriate way to navigate the institutional byways to get the message across to the people who need to hear it.
In this highly interactive session, the moderators will open by polling the group to develop a sense of how people feel about communicating value and the importance of teams, and what strategies they have used to do so in the past. The group will discuss the importance of identifying and using an organization's message and conveying that message to leadership and key stakeholders.
Participants will then get together in small groups, either virtually or face-to-face, to craft strategies to communicate the value of their efforts to leadership and stakeholders. The small groups will share thoughts and provide each other with feedback, using Google docs to provide examples and ideas that the entire group can view and comment on. Small group discussions will focus on the three main elements of the communication process:
Determine the message you need to convey and who needs to hear this message
Identify evidence that makes your case and write your story
Determine how to get your story out
After the participants have developed their, the entire group will come together to discuss the results of their discussions. The speakers will share some of the messaging and evidence they have developed as well as their strategies for sharing it. Other participants will report out on their own messages and receive feedback and comments from the larger group. Participants will then reflect on the experience of creating their own story, and consider how they can communicate that story both internally with their teams and externally with their institutions. Finally, we will revisit the poll questions asked at the beginning of the session to explore how the group now feels about communicating value.