A Hybrid of Instructional Design Theories
Designing online learning for low-income, adult, single mother learners is not like any other kind of instructional design and requires a hybrid theoretical approach to designing and developing the learning content, environment and implementation. I believe, building an effective online learning environment for adult learners should be based on Andragogy (Pappas, 2013) and requires instructional designers to consider adult learners needs. In particular Andragogy (2013) calls for adult learners to have the ability to construct learning from their current frame of reference, based on what is relevant to them. With this Constructivist (LearningDctr, 2010) approach to learning in mind, I posit that in developing online learning, we need to employ a few different instructional theories based on the Constructivist learning theory (2010). These theories include Smith and Regan’s Authentic Learning (Dabbagh, 2002) which allows students to work on issues that could realistically be found in their own environment; Smith and Ragan’s Case-Based Learning (2002) which give the learners the opportunity to work in teams to find solutions presented in a case study; Hsiao’s Problem Based Learning (2002), which gives learners a prescribed outcome but not he answers and allows them to seek to solve the problem, and Havriluk’s Collaborative Learning (2002) which promotes the formation of learning cohorts. We must also use Universal Design for Learning (Meyer, Rose, & Gordon, 2014) if we want to make the learning inclusive and accessible for all potential learners and promote Connectivist Theory (Bair & Stafford, 2016) which is still quite new but addresses the need for learners to find and create meaning based on the connections they make in online environments such as blogs, whiteboards, social networks etc.
Online Learning Needed ... Like Never Before!
Technology use in education is moving at the speed of light. Children are being born into and technology driven world that their parents were not born into. For low-income adult learners, accessible online learning has never been more necessary due to accessibility issues (Salinas-Amescua, 2007) among the poor. The growing divide between the computer literate and computer illiterate is ever growing wider, by teaching low-income single mothers 21st century technology skills and competencies in a blended learning environment (Learning Hood, 2012), comprised of a face to face workshop, self-paced modules and weekly synchronous webcasts available in mobile (SABA, 2017) and online learning configurations, we should be able to meet our learners needs. If we as a culture fail to bring our citizens into the information age through online learning we risk the knowledge gap becoming an irreparable black hole.
A Framework for Instructional Design
In building the L3 Lifestyle Design program I used Dee Fink’s Taxonomy for Significant Learning and his Three-column table model (Fink, 2003). I did create a Understanding by Design (UbD) framework (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) for the class initially and thought I would use it to develop the class but in the end I found Fink’s integrative approach to learning more appropriate for my adult learning audience. With that said, I used the Three-column table (2003) as a guideline for what needed to be included in the course to reach each of the six, significant learning goals. It took a few passes and a few modifications but in the end, I was able to create a good first draft, ready for an Action Research (Mertler, 2017) test drive. Once I get ready to make updates to the program, I will also update the Three-column table (2003) so, learners can always keep up with their own learning objectives.
While Universal Learning Design was actually introduced early on in the DLL program, it has suddenly become an eye opener for me. Being able to construct knowledge into universally transferrable bites is probably one of the biggest ah-ha moments I’ve had. I was a proponent of online and mobile learning before I ever started the DLL program, Instructional Design was my goal from day one, so it was not only an easy sell, I was an already sold, ready to purchase, cash in hand customer for it. Dialing deeper into the constructivist models for instruction was a key take-away here as well.
Bair, R. A., & Stafford, T. (2016). Connected and ubiquitous: a discussion of two theories that impact future learning applications. Tech Trends, 60(2), 129-135.
Dabbagh, N. (2002). Instructional design knowledge base: Select instructional models/theories to develop instructional prototypes. Retrieved from Instructional design knowledge base: http://cehdclass.gmu.edu/ndabbagh/Resources/IDKB/models_theories.htm
Fink, L. D. (2003). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Learning Hood. (2012, January 23). Blended learning in plain English. Retrieved from YouTube: https://amara.org/en/videos/Z9wWLkVfLzaM/info/blended-learning-in-plain-english/
LearningDctr. (2010, June 17). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism and learning and instructional theory. Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YOqgXjynd0
Mertler, C. A. (2017). Action research: Improving schools and empowering educators. Retrieved from Sage Edge: https://edge.sagepub.com/mertler5e/student-resources/chapter-1/video-resources
Meyer, A., Rose, D., & Gordon, D. (2014). Universal design for learning – Theory and practice. Retrieved from http://udltheorypractice.cast.org/login
Pappas, C. (2013, May 9). The adult learning theory - Andragogy - of Malcolm Knowles. Retrieved from eLearning Industry: https://elearningindustry.com/the-adult-learning-theory-andragogy-of-malcolm-knowles
SABA. (2017). Mobile learning. Retrieved from SABA.com: https://www.saba.com/us/lms/mobile-learning/
Salinas-Amescua, B. (2007). Adult instructors’ perceptions on ICT and diffusion practices: implications for equity of access. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology,33(2) , 1-18.