Random Thoughts on Instructional Design
Decide on knowledge, skill and attitude goals – What knowledge should a student acquire in a given class session? Naming the specific knowledge areas students are to master helps in course planning and also the development of examinations. (e.g. Students will be able to analyze the rhyming patterns in Elizabethan sonnets.) Skill goals refer to behaviors students are expected to learn to do. (e.g., Students will be able to prepare the materials and complete a pH determination using titration.) Some classes may have as one goal changing student attitudes about the subject matter. (e.g., Students will learn to appreciate modern art.)
Put these goals in sequence: Generally classes progress in some logical way such as early infancy to late infancy or simpler math problems to more difficult ones. What is the logical order of the material in your class?
Divide goals into class sessions – What is the main purpose or what are the two or three main goals for this class session? Faculty can enhance their classroom organization significantly for students by stating the goals at the beginning of the class and restating or summarizing at the end. (e.g., Our purpose today is to explore three theories for explaining economic growth patterns in third world countries.)
Develop reading materials and assignments to meet each goal – Ask yourself, "What other materials or experiences do students need in order to meet the knowledge, skill, and attitude goals?" Students can reach knowledge goals through attending class and through reading and research assignments. Skills are often acquired through labs or through outside assignments that prompt skill development.
When students see how material in a course connects with other material, they can retrieve information more easily, stay more interested, and be more effective learners. There are a number of specific things that teachers can do to help students see connections.