A Competency-Based Consultancy Capstone in Rapid Instructional Design: Conception, Implementation, and Lessons Learned

Concurrent Session 11

Brief Abstract

Students completing the competency based masters in Learning Design & Technology program complete an 11 week consultancy.  Students apply their newly developed skill-set focused on developing unique solutions to solve instructional problems. This presentation will discuss authentic projects as a learning experience, rapid competency course design, and implementation effectiveness.


I've earned a doctorate in educational technology with19+ years of experience teaching and leading educational initiatives. Demonstrated knowledge of teaching strategies and methodologies, both online and in traditional classroom settings; instructional design; adult learning theory; educational and technology integration theories; online education; and integration of technology for learning. Work with faculty designing new and innovative curricula, as well as provide professional development experiences to ensure that faculty and students are effectively utilizing the latest technologies. Background includes K-12 classroom teaching experience, research and presentations, consulting, managing large technology budgets, NCATE / CAEP accreditation, state licensing, and leadership roles within ISTE and ISTE state affiliates. My research agenda explores technology’s role in designing active learning environments, adaptive technologies, innovative and personalized online education, mobile technologies, and organizational change models to impact effective technology professional development.
Adrienne Salentiny has nearly 15 years' experience as an instructional designer, administrator, consultant, and educator in higher education. She is the instructional designer for the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Additionally, she is an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland University College and at the College of St. Scholastica (MN). She holds Ph.D. and MS degrees in Instructional Design & Technology from the University of North Dakota, and a BS from the University of Oregon. Her research interest areas include technology integration in preservice teacher education, professional identity, and the adaptation of competency-based educational strategies to non-competency-based programs.

Extended Abstract

Students are charged with finding their own client and developing a project of appropriate scope, meeting the client’s needs and the requirements of the capstone course. Comparable instructional and learning design masters programs enable students to complete capstone or final project work on a similar schedule to a thesis: across two or more semesters or at their own pace (Ashford University; UND; USC).  In contrast, UMUC students are given one 11-week quarter. During this time, they must work alongside their client to develop their project, thoroughly following instructional design processes (e.g., use of the ADDIE framework and learning design thinking; development of a detailed design document; rapid prototyping and feedback, identification and design of Open Educational Resources to support course content, focus group testing, continuity and evaluation planning, and more). The arguably aggressive timeline mimics an authentic experience where a client or supervisor needs the solution on short notice.  Students must meet deadlines while also completing all of the key elements of the instructional design process, managing client expectations, overcoming incomplete or inadequate resources, and create a final product worthy of launch within their client’s business or course (Piskurich, 2006). The lessons learned from managing these struggles are invaluable; student reflections and discussions throughout the course bring these to light.


The capstone course was launched in January 2018, and 4 cohorts of students will have completed it by April 2019. This educational session will share the successes and challenges related to instructional design, development and launch of this competency-based, time-limited consultancy capstone. Participants should expect to participate in a town hall-style discussion surrounding the rapid design process, mimicking the key skills and experiences a learning design masters graduate should be expected to have. Presenters will share design process notes, completion rates, student challenges, and a sampling of the professional growth students have experienced through their consultancy experiences. Perspectives of the program chair, the subject matter developer, and the course’s professors will be shared.

There are several intended participant outcomes.  First, participants will leave the session with deeper understanding of rapid design, development and implementation of authentic learning experiences.  Second, they will leave the session with a framework for design and implementation of competency based learning experiences. Additionally, they will be invited to share in our lessons learned, including the challenges and obstacles for implementation as well as the benefits for faculty and students.  Finally, they will walk away with a curated catalogue of related design resources to explore in their own as well as ideas for future research.