Imagineering Your Course: Applying Authentic Assessment, Storytelling, and Learner-Centered Course Design Principles to Improve Student Motivation

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Discover how to create an immersive experience in your course using storytelling and authentic assessment. Use amusement park principles to reenvision and improve your student’s course experience. This session will be viewing the Imagineering approach through the lens of Instructional Design. Tap into your students’ affective domain of learning!

Extended Abstract

In our online courses, students’ values and needs are shifting due to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, advancing technologies, and a greater need to make learning accessible to diverse populations (Corpus, Robinson, and Liu, 2022). In the future, conventional course design approaches will be insufficient to engage learners. Traditionally, we design courses with the cognitive domain in mind. We ask “Are our learning outcomes aligned with materials, activities, and assessments?” We provide well-developed learning materials and implement a plan to assess students based on observable behavior. Yet, motivating student learning requires engaging the cognitive as well as the affective domain. As educators, we are challenged with figuring out new ways to create meaningful learning experiences that tap into student motivation. Our students are seeking authentic connections to our content that bridge their coursework to their personal and professional experiences. In this session, we will address how to design for all learners amidst these unique social, instructional, and technological challenges.

By designing courses using well-proven cross-disciplinary frameworks related to the affective domain of learning, we can provide authentic education that addresses the decreased motivation seen in our students since 2020. Course design can yield an immersive experience when it connects content to learners’ feelings, values, and attitudes.  We find that designing for the affective domain allows us to plan an experience that recognizes and respects the diversity of our learners. Our approach takes into account overlapping principles from instructional design, learning experience design, and Imagineering. 

In this session, we will explore how foundational learning experience strategies, instructional design frameworks, and imagineering principles are used to make theme parks engaging. Then, we will provide examples that demonstrate how immersive experiences work and how we can use these same principles in course design to achieve similar positive effects for our students. We will examine the value of storytelling and the inclusion of universal symbols for connecting with wider student audiences. We will address how to design immersive experiences at a scale that does not require increased funding or expensive technologies. Instead, we will discuss proven solutions related to design choices that create a learner-centered environment. We will examine practical examples related to learning paths, storytelling, authentic assessment, and learner choice. Through a short activity, you will be challenged to re-envision your course. By the end of this session you will be able to infuse your course with a little magic and create unique, learner centered courses.

Level of Participation:

This session is structured as an interactive lecture accompanied by a slide presentation with questions, stories, examples, audience polls, and challenges to share foundational instructional design concepts related to student motivation (25 minutes). Following the interactive lecture, participants will develop their own examples illustrating practical applications and comparisons of instructional design theory with amusement park principles (10 minutes). At the end of the session, time will be allotted for asking questions and sharing key takeaways (5 minutes).


Session Goals

Participants will be able to discuss instructional design strategies and theoretical applications for engaging their students in the learning experience. Individuals in this session will be able to describe how learner choice motivates learners. They will be able to describe the value of authentic assessment and storytelling for accessing the affective domain of learning. They will be able to evaluate key considerations for successfully implementing learning paths within an online course.