K-12 Summit - Part 1: Instructional Design For Blended Learning: Essential Skills for K-12 Settings
Concurrent Session 5
K-12 educators across-the-board have turned to digital resources to enhance instruction and address student needs. But not all content is created equal, and educators have been challenged to learn and scale online learning platforms when sifting through options to find high-quality material with little time for basic considerations of instructional design. This session will focus on creating and implementing online, blended and digital learning innovations within the K-12 sector that can be sustained over time. Considering that blended learning or some aspect of digital learning is likely to persist in K-12 education, we must revisit the design considerations most important for ease, adaptability, and assurance of student success in our K-12 classrooms. Blended learning calls for us to use a more systematic methodology (rooted in instructional theory) to design and develop content, experiences, and other solutions to support our students’ acquisition of new knowledge or skills.
K-12 educators had little time at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to employ systematic methodology and consider instructional theories and models when designing and developing content, experiences, and other solutions to support their students in the acquisition of new knowledge or skills in a virtual format. Sheer grit and resilience have gotten us through to the present. However, as we look to a future of increased virtual learning experiences, hybrid course and school structures, and the potential for blended learning to be the norm for most schools and classrooms, we can start to refine the instructional design work we undertake as more intentional and planned virtual learning experiences which complement face-to-face classroom instruction.
Instructional Designers create instructional experiences that make the acquisition of knowledge and skill more efficient, effective, and appealing. K-12 teachers are likely now and in the near future to be their own instructional designers. So how exactly do we go about this workload in the context of all other classroom responsibilities? Extending the regular planning process to include digital considerations may actually ease workload when considering its potential for differentiation and explicit mapping to learning outcomes.
Instructional designers begin by conducting a needs assessment to determine the desired learning outcomes of a digital learning event, including: what the learner should know and be able to do as a result of the online experience and what the learners already know and can do. Instructional design is rooted in cognitive and behavioral psychology, though instructors most certainly choose the best mixt of behaviorist and constructivist learning experiences to match their sense of student individual needs and how learning design can support the achievement of those goals. Determining the current state and needs of learners, defining the end goal of instruction, and creating a digital opportunity to assist in the transition becomes more manageable when we consider fundamental tasks of instructional design. Let’s lean in on our collective experience to go from the quick transition of instructional materials needed to make compulsory virtual operation in a pandemic work to the more exciting, strategic, and student-supportive opportunity of blended learning instructional design opportunities in the world after COVID.