Archive for December, 2011

Dec 07 2011

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Mobile Technologies for Learning


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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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