In order to be an effective instructional designer who can utilize the various learning and instructional technology tools and resources available today, professionals must build a social network within a professional learning community online (Ferriter, 2009). Therefore, I have searched the internet for relevant instructional design sites and found three resource sites that I feel will have relevant content related to my work as an instructional design professional and public educator. Finally, to add my own contribution to this growing network of resources for educators and instructional designers, I have created my own blog: http://learningtheoriesinstructionasutliff.edublogs.org
WordPress is a valuable resource site because it has an entire collection of blogs about instructional design. It’s easy to follow the entire collection of blogs in an RSS feed, which ensures that the newest blog posts won’t be missed. “Feed readers are probably the most important digital tool for today’s learner because they make it easy to sift through the amazing amount of content that is being continually added to the Internet” (Ferriter, 2009, p. 36). Through this collection of instruction design blogs, I found a very relevant article titled How-to Encourage Online Learners to take Responsibility for their Own Learning. This article is especially interesting to me because, as cited by Ferriter (2009), “Blogs and wikis are changing who we are as learners, preparing us for a future driven by peer production and networked learning” (p. 38). Included in this article are several tips for instructors of online courses, such as posting clear expectations, defining successful online learning behaviors, and communicating learner responsibilities (Online Learning Insights, 2012). This was interesting to me, because I noticed that my online courses with Walden University have utilized these tips, which resulted in my success as an online student in my first online class.
The Articulate Network is an online resource that includes an e-learning community and blogs about instructional design and e-learning. In only a short time on the site, I found an article that is very relevant to the topic of my current graduate class, Learning Theories and Instruction: What Everybody Ought to Know About Instructional Design written by Kuhlmann (2008). In this article, Kuhlmann (2008) states that “the role of the instructional designer is to help the learners make sense of the new information they get” (p. 6). According to Kuhlmann (2008), one of the critical pieces of instructional design is to manufacture learning experiences that focus on very specific pieces of information. I’m particularly interested in this site because of the large amount of subscribers who respond to posts such as the one previously mentioned, which currently has 116 responses.
There are several ways to use Edublogs. Teachers use the site as an instructional design tool to incorporate technology in student discussions. Newsletters, videos, podcasts, and documents can be posted to Edublog for easy access for students and parents. Schools can create blogging platforms for teacher blogs. “Edublogs is one of the only free blogging services that is completely dedicated to educators. The advantage of creating your own digital home with Edublogs is that you’ll be instantly connected to a community of like-minded writers who might just become your readers” (Ferriter, 2009, p. 36). One promising blog is called Teachers Improving Learning with Technology (http://tilttv.blogspot.com/). This blog includes tips for integrating technology into the classroom, as well as ideas and projects to try in the classroom, all with ties to technology. I can’t wait to add my voice to this wonderful website. “Blogging has made it possible for all of us to be publishers and to elevate our voices to improve classroom practice” (Ferriter, 2009, p. 37).
I have much to learn about instructional design and technology. While I am apprehensive about entering the blogging community, I am also looking forward to expanding my knowledge and growing as an educator and student. “In every content area and grade level and in schools of varying sizes and from different geographic locations, educators are actively reflecting on instruction, challenging assumptions, questioning policies, offering advice, designing solutions, and learning together” (Ferriter, 2009, p. 35), and I can’t wait to get started.
Ferriter, B. (2009). Learning with blogs and wikis. Educational Leadership, 66(5), 34–38.
Kuhlmann, T. (2008). What Everybody Ought to Know About Instructional Design. [Blog Message]. Retrieved from http://www.articulate.com/rapid-elearning
Online Learning Insights, (2012). How-to Encourage Online Learners to take Responsibility for their Own Learning. [Blog Message]. Retrieved from http://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/how-to-encourage-online-learners-to-take-responsibility-for-their-own-learning/