The Educational Design and Technology program at Concordia University Wisconsin contains a portfolio component allowing students to demonstrate their mastery of the six primary goals of the program. Below you will find my personal statements on these goals, and how they relate to developing educational experiences and leaders for the 21st century.
Facilitate and inspire learning and creativity using existing and emerging technologiesEDT Program Goal 1
Creativity, more specifically, creative problem solving is arguably the most important skill that learners can develop. As an instructional designer, my role is to find ways to inspire and promote creativity in my learners—that includes encouraging divergent thinking, idea generation, and combining information in new and different ways to solve challenging problems. This means choosing technologies that allow for collaboration, iteration and reflection.
Design and develop effective and engaging learning experiences environments, resources, and assessmentsEDT Program Goal 2
“If your learning isn’t engaging, it isn’t accessible.” I wish I remember who said that, but I heard it from a speaker when I was presenting at the UDL Symposium at Oakland University in 2018, and it stuck with me. Learning experiences should do their best to engage users on all levels, but not at the expense of learning outcomes. That means building on that foundation to include solid visual design, crisp, engaging language, thought provoking, open-ended questions and meaningful interactive elements, including gamification.
Model digital-age work, research, collaboration and learningEDT Program Goal 3
Learning, and life in the 21st century are inherently collaborative experiences. They are also much more self-directed than they have been in the past. That means working to solve open-ended questions and reducing the fear of failure in learning experiences. We all learn from each other, and seldom are there clear-cut right or wrong answers the first time you approach a problem.
Promote and model digital citizenship and Christian discipleship within the context of the digital age.EDT Program Goal 4
Since we live in such a digital world, empowering learners to learn to navigate digital spaces successfully, safely, and spiritually is a critical skill. What does it look like to live out one’s faith in a digital context? How do we adapt to the different social and cultural norms we’re likely to find in digital spaces that connect us with people from across the physical world? We learn by practicing, and being reflective about our experiences.
Conduct research and promote provide research and data-driven decisions about technology-enhanced teaching and learning.EDT Program Goal 5
The foundation of good educational technology decisions is solid research. While data can’t always tell us the whole story, it’s is a valuable tool for evaluating the effectiveness of various educational practices. But there’s a difficulty here—sorting good data from bad. And that’s why information literacy is so important. Teaching people to sort truth from fiction, relevant from useless, and quality from clickbait is more important than ever. And it’s important that we model those same practices to ensure we are engaging in high standards of research and learning.
Engage in ongoing professional growth and leadershipEDT Program Goal 6
The amount of information in the world is doubling every 18 months, and the only way to even attempt to keep aware of current research and trends is to continue to learn and grow in whatever ways possible. That includes finding ways to expand personal skills and networks, while also imparting those skills and wisdom to others. And also training learners to do the same. That means providing learners with the means to share their work with communities of practice, and learn from experts.