Dec 07 2011

Conducting an ID Needs Assessment

Filed under Instructional Design

Conducting a needs assessment is an important element in Instructional Design. Morrison, Ross Kalman & Kemp (2011) explain that “a needs assesment is used to identify gaps in performance and then determine whether the gaps are worth addressing through an intervention” (p. 32). In my opinion, the needs assessments acts as a formative assessment which helps to improve the quality of instruction. There are also some cases where there are no existing instructional elements  in place. In those cases, the needs assessment would highlight valuable elements that need to be included into the design of the new instruction.

Conducting a needs assessment when designing instruction can increase productivity of employees. It is important to identify the needs so that the solution designed for intervention addresses the root of this issue as opposed  to just the addressing the symptoms (Morrison et al., 2011).

A thorough needs assessments consists of planning, collecting data, data analysis, and final report (Morrison et al., 2011).

Within distributed learning a needs assessment is an important step to creating a learning environment that is engaging; and encourages synchronous and asynchronous learning. Simonson, Smaldino, Albright & Zvacek (2011) explain that “one key to effective distance education is correct instructional design” (p. 171). A needs assessment can highlight some of the unique needs and characteristics of learners in the distributed learning environment.

Do you think that a needs assessment is essential to effective instructional design?


Morrison,G., Ross, S., Kemp, .J. (2011). Designing effective instruction. (6th Edition). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2011). Instructional Design and Distance Education. Teaching and Learning at a Distance: Foundations of Distance Education (5th Ed.) Allyn and Bacon. Pearson.

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Dec 06 2011

Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction

Filed under Instructional Design

I find Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction to be very helpful for me when designing learning (“Gagne’s nine events,” 2011) .


The 9 Events are:


Event 1: Gain attention

Event 2: Inform learners of objectives

Event 3: Stimulate recall of prior learning

Event 4: Present the content

Event 5: Provide learner guidance

Event 6:Elicit performance

Event 7: Provide feedback

Event 8:Assess performance

Event 9: Enhance retention and transfer to the job


I often start with an introduction. I usually ask each learner to introduce themselves to the rest of the last and state 2 things that are true
about themselves; as well as one that is not true. I also usually announce aprize for the winner. The winner would be the learner who has the most of their fellow students fooled as to which statement was not a fact about them.

I then explain to the learners what functions they will be able to perform once they have complete the training. I also discuss how learning
the new function will impact the learner’s job for the better and how it will allow them to perform better in their current role.

I usually discuss any previous experience that any learner has had with a similar learning activity.

Using an overhead projector, I normally show the learners a demonstration of the new process. I also give a hand out to each learner highlighting key events for the new training.

I usually show the class a PowerPoint presentation of the process.This presentation includes flowcharts, examples, and tips.

I then direct learners in the session to individual computer workstations or worksheets where they can practice their new skill.

I also go around and provide one on one feedback to individuals based on their practice of the new skill they have just learned.

Towards the end of the training session I normally give a quiz as an assessment tool for the new information they have just learned.

I also give learners a laminated quick reference guide with tips on how they can use the content they have just learned on the job. I also
create a space on the intranet that allows learners to access the presentation material used during the instruction. Learners can also submit questions which will be answered and displayed on the intranet system so that other users can benefit from the response.


Do you Gagne’s 9 Events in your work environment? How do you incorporate it?

Gagne’s nine events. (2011). Retrieved from

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Dec 06 2011

The Instructional Designer Role

Filed under Instructional Design

An instructional designer designs, documents and develops learning and training modules while incorporating theories of adult learning. Morrison, Ross, Kalman & Kemp (2011) explain that the instructional designer is the person who has “primary responsibility for designing the instruction” (p. 18). As a part of this process instructional designers aften meet with subject matter experts in the field that the design is being created for on an as need basis. Part of the key responsibilities for an Instruction designer is to interview and collaborate with SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) to gather source content and build authentic learning scenarios. Designers most often work with subject- matter expert (SME), an individual who is an expert in the content area (Morrison et al 2011).

Instructional designers makes learning more efficient by applying design principles to increase the probability of the desired learning outcome being realized. This is important because it can allow companies to develop more efficient training courses. Efficient training reduces costs for companies and therefore increases profitability. Effective instructional design also increases student satisfaction in educational institutions because it allows greater learning opportunities. Instructional designers take their target audience into consideration and aim to design courses that meets the needs of the learner.




Morrison, G., Ross, S., Kalman, H. & Kemp, J.E. (2011). Designing Effective Instruction. 6th Edition. New York:John Wiley & Sons.

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Dec 05 2011

QR Codes

Scan the code above with your phone. It will take you to my blog.

QR (Quick Response) Codes are a type of electronic barcode that can be read by special QR scanners, or by mobile devices. QR Codes can contain whatever message, information, or links that the originator wants the viewer to see.

As an educator you could use QR code to direct students to a learning module, link to a wiki, link to a prezi presentation, or blog. The code can also contain text that would be displayed on the recipients phone once the code is scanned.

This is an exciting development in online learning because it gives educators an addition avenue through which they can use to reach their audience. Cell and smartphone users can scan the code and get the necessary information wherever they are. This means that the QR codes could be placed at a public location. Teachers or instructors could speak or lecture on a particular topic and then the QR code could be posted at the back of the class so that learners can scan the code to be directed to their next objective. This objective could be a journal, blog, supplementary information or a combination of all.

Instructional Designer Diane Rees explains that QR Codes allows the opportunity for normal environments to be turned into a teaching environment(Rees, 2010). Through her blog, ( she gives some great examples of how you can use the QR code under the Instructional Strategies section.


Would you consider using QR codes within your curriculum?


Rees, D. (2010, September 26). [Web log message]. Retrieved from

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Dec 05 2011

Mobile Technologies for Learning


Image Source:


Mobile devices have become more prevalent in recent years. I find that fellow students, coworkers, and friends use mobile technologies to communicate. It seems like a natural progression that mobile technologies could also then be used in learning.

Park (2011) explain that mobile learning is the use of mobile or wireless devices for the purpose of learning while on the move (para 3). Mobile learning allows learning to occur across provinces, and countries. I have taken classes with fellow classmates located in Saudi Arabia, Korea, and Jamaica. This is a far geographic distance from Canada where I am primarily located. My classmates and I use mobile technologies such as laptops, the internet and smartphones to collaborate and learn together regardless of location. The Blackboard classroom is a technology that facilitates classroom discussions. Blackboard has also launched a mobile application. This is an advancement for mobile learning. Currently I use the Blackboard environment for my classes however the Blackboard mobile application would make it even easier to access a class because the class would then become assessable when the student or instructor is away from their computer. Blackboard Mobile would allow access to
blackboard from mobile devices such as BlackBerry®, Palm®, iPhone®, iPod touch®, iPad®, and Android™smartphones (Blackboard Mobile 2011). I checked my blackberry to see if that application was available on my device and I was very pleased to see that it was available. The application is free but needs to be enabled by the educational institution.

Would you use the Blackboard Mobile App?



Blackboard mobile learn. (2011). Retrieved from


Park, Yeonjeong (2011). A Pedagogical Framework for Mobile Learning: Categorizing Educational Applications of MobileTechnologies into Four Types. The International Review of Research in Open andDistance Learning, IRRODL, Vol 12(2). Retrieved from:


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Nov 30 2011

Games and Simulation in a Learning Context

Filed under Technology

Games and simulations have evolved over the years from being merely entertainment to being an asset tolearning. This is very exciting because it opens up the opportunity for more interactive learning aids to be developed. I have used games as a way to keep the interest of corporate trainees. I am always amazed at how far a competitive game of Jeopardy will go to create excitement among learners. There is the excitement at the prospect of winning; but it is also great to see learners recall what they have learned in a fun way.

Today, simulations are being used in a variety of settings.  Al-Elq (2010) explains that simulations are a ”particular set of conditions is created artificially in order to study or experience something that is possible in real life; or a generic term that refers to the artificial representation of a real world process to achieve educational goals via experimental learning” (para. 6). Al-Elq (2010) gooes on to further explain that simulations are common in a variety of areas such as military, aviation, nuclear power plants, business, medicine, and aerospace. I think that this is a good thing for many reasons. One example of the benefit of simulations is that it allows astronauts to train for space without being in space. This critical training is a way to set the stage for what the real environment would be like. Without this type of simulation training, I believe that they would be less prepared for a space mission. I am looking forward to seeing the development of education through simulation over the next decade.

Do you use games or simulations in a learning context?


Al-Elq, A.
(2010). Simulation-based medical teaching and learning. Journal of Family and CommunityMedicine, 17(1), 35-40. Retrieved from|A239466598&v=2.1&u=u  calgary&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w

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Oct 31 2011

Learning through Social Networking

One of the newer trends that I have come across is learning through social networking. Although this trend may have been in existence for some time, I did not realize how popular this trend was until recently. Educators now have a variety of optional available that allow students to learn within an environment in which students can interact with each other.

Twiducate is one of these new social networking learning methods. It is free for teachers to sign up for twiducate. In addition it allows the teacher to create a network for students and that teacher which is highly secure (Twiducate, 2011).

Image source:

A video overview of Twiducate can be found at the following link: Twiducate


Another Social newtworking tool that is being used by educators is Edmodo. This social networking learning application is similar to facebook. Teachers are able to post homework on the classroom wall for students (Geron, 2011). Students are also able to add status updates to their Edmodo class wall. As with Twiducate, the teacher has a high degree of control of the classroom.

Image Source:


A video overview of Edmodo can be found at the following link: Edmodo

Could you see yourself using either of these social networking tools as an educator? I could see myself using this tool in primary school education.


Geron, T. (2011). Edmodo Wants to Make Social Networking A Learning Experience. Retrieved October 30, 2011 from

Twiducate (2011). Twiducate. Retrieved October 30, 2011 from

Youtube (2011).Edmodo.Retrieved October 30, 2011 from

Youtube (2011).Twiducate.Retrieved October 30, 2011 from



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Oct 16 2011

Skype: Learning Technology

Filed under Technology

Skype is an tool which allows two people or more to communicate while in different locations. This is an excellent collaborative tool since it allows you to communicate directionly from your computer. Skype is free to use when making calls to another Skype users account. I have been using Skype for 4 years. I use it to communicate with friends and also to communicate with classmates. When on vacation, I even use Skype to make phone calls back to home. I have found Skype to be easy to use. I also use Skype to meet with classmates to complete group collaborative work. I have found this to be very helpful to the learning process. Communicating with Skype is a synchronous communication method. Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, and Zvacek (2011) explain that synchonous education is education that occurs at same time but at a different place. Collaborative learning through Skype definitely fits this description. I also came across another example of Sypke being used as a technology for learning. Using Skype, a learning specialist in Florida launched an “Around the World With 80 Schools” project to introduce her school’s students to peers internationally (Davis, 2010). Within this project students prepare
questions in advance and chat with students in different countries and continents. I think that this is an excellent way to use Skype as a technology tool for learning.


Have you used Skype as a learning tool?


Davis, M. (2010, June 14). Social networking goes to school. Retrieved October 15, 2011 from


Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2011). Teaching and Learning at a Distance: Foundations of Distance Education (5th Ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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Oct 01 2011

Blogging: Learning Technology

Filed under Technology

I have always wanted to blog. This course has given me the opportunity to make that desire a reality. There are so many benefits to blogging. One of the benefits of blogging is that it allows you build a community that share, contribute and learn together. Blogging allows you to write about anything that you want to share. This form of asynchronous communication can be used as a learning tool.

Blogs can be a way for teachers to share their thoughts with their students. It can allow students to contribute while in a different time and different place. Blogs allow interaction and exchange between students; and it allows students to build upon each others responses. The Merriam Webster dictionary describes learning as “the act or experience of one that learns ” and “knowledge or skill acquired by instruction or study”. Based on this, it is easy to see how the act of blogging could produce learning and instill new skills. The skills could be through formal instruction within the blog, or though learning though interaction and conversations. I believe that blogging is an exciting learning technology with great flexibility and scalability. I had not considered blogging a learning technology prior to starting this class however upon reflection, it is now easy to see that blogging is indeed a tool for learning.

 Bartlett-Bragg (2003) explains that the structure that has evolved from the introduction of blogging can be most effectively represented as a five-stage process below.

 Source: Blogging to Learn, pg 9

Source: Blogging to Learn, pg 9


What are your thoughts on using blogging as a technology tool for learning?



Bartlett-Bragg, A., (2003). Blogging to Learn. Knowledge Tree e-journal,  Retrieved October 1, 2011 from


learning.(2011). In October 1, 2011, from

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