Ubiquitous Learning and Instructional Design: Reflection

After referencing several media items relating to ubiquitous learning (uLearning), I reflect on the following points related to instructional design (included below as headers).

How much of this do I believe will play into the immediate future of educational/instructional technology?

As a component of effective instruction, the educator must understand the learners. This is not a new concept, but rather one that extends into the contemporary period regardless of the technologies and methodologies used.

The primary age cohort of students today consists of digital natives who have become accustomed to instantaneous gratification. Ironically, the driving force behind this is the technology itself! The formal introduction of Google as a verb in the English language should be proof enough that information is available almost everywhere near-instantaneously. Understanding this component of Generation Net, it is somewhat undeniable that uLearning is- and will continue to be- a mandatory component of effective 21st century education. We cannot ignore the importance of this in designing educational modules.

How do I see myself fitting into this in terms of being able to design an educational module around it?

I consider myself blessed to understand that there must be a purposeful correlation between pedagogy, technology, and learner needs and preferences. This basic premise is pivotal in ensuring that the education afforded to current and future learners is successful. Educational modules must be designed to synthesize more traditional concepts of learning and cognition with technology that allows for ubiquitous access to meet the learner expectations. Speaking to the former, scaffolding and schema building are examples of necessary components when designing the module. With respect to the latter, the technology must be integrated as a tool to improve productivity and flexibility by removing barriers to learning created by a brick and mortar environment. This, however, is a very basic benefit of uLearning.

The salient benefit to uLeanring is the ability to tailor the education to meet student’s individual needs. This serves as a method to maintain relevance across the board, despite the fact that students may require significantly different levels or methods of instruction. My job in designing an educational module to achieve this is ensuring that there is an instantaneously available variety of current, relevant information, in multiple forms of media, that students may elect to review, share, or ignore based on their own needs and interests. Additionally, the lack of delay in distribution provides a means to keep up with fluid boundaries.

Software Engineers note that they cannot keep up with the ever-growing technological boundaries being broken and are having trouble teaching their students what they need to know. As an instructional designer, what kind of plan would I propose to software engineering faculty to help them become better teachers?

I would say the volatility of boundaries is true of many disciplines. In addition to software engineering, fields such as healthcare are dynamic. This underscores that the information (what to know) is only fractionally important as having the ability (or how to know). Subsequently, effective instructional designers have recognized the efficacy of 21st century education that is not led by the teacher. Popularized as transitioning to be a guide on the side, educators must serve as facilitators who stimulate student interest in self-exploration of the educational materials. One way to achieve this is by providing learners access to contemporary and intriguing resources that are updated regularly with more current information.

Modern instruction must be designed in such a manner that students are shown which paths they can take, but ultimately have to choose one and walk it themselves. The instructor should be waiting at the end to provide feedback on the outcome of the path they chose. During their journey, instead of walking with them, the 21st century educator is ensuring that no new paths have been made available and that the end point is still the same. In other words, the instructional materials must be reviewed for effectiveness and the information must be verified as current. This is a significant change in culture and attribution that must be understood and accepted by all in a world of dynamic changes and uLearning, but one that is necessary to keep pace.

Nicholas S. Favazzo, 2013

Nicholas S. Favazzo is graduate student in the Educational Technology MA Program at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, FL.

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One response to “Ubiquitous Learning and Instructional Design: Reflection

  1. Mr. Favazzo:
    I think instructional design for e-learning (modules) is the same for regular (traditional) modules. Both rely on an “objective” to guide learning and frame the assessment strategies that are most appropriate (given the outcomes desired).
    Want to learn more about designing educational modules/instructional design? (of course you do). Visit/follow my blog regarding educational reform/teacher training @ http://kennethfetterman.wordpress.com
    Sample/purchase professional development resources pertaining to these topics @ http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/kennethfetterman
    Best wishes, Ken

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