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Badges at Penn State

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Wondering what badges are? Wondering what's happening with badges at Penn State? Read on!

(My thanks to Ken Layng of ITS Training Services for much of the information provided here.)


What are "Badges"?

NoTBadge.jpgBadges are like digital extensions to an identity. They help learners to establish credibility based on informal learning. They are used to "certify" information that has been consumed by badge earners. This can be assessed or non-assessed learning, ad determined by the badge issuer. For example, we might issue badges to people who are present at a workshop, but we might also require some measurement of comprehension and retention before issuing a badge. 



What are "Open" Badges?

Open Badges is a project initiated by Mozilla to create a framework for badge infrastructure. Google has a similar project underway, but it is not nearly as mature. The Mozilla framework consists of three components: 1) Issuer, 2) Earner, and 3) Displayer. An "Issuer" is an organization that can 'award certified badges to learners.' An "Earner" is an individual that can collect badges to represent an accumulation of knowledge, skill or proficiency. Badges can be placed in an online repository belonging to the user called the "Badge Backpack." With this Backpack, earners can collect, manage, and display the badges they have earned. A "Displayer" is any online presence or service provider that can display badges. Examples of displayers include the blogs, social media sites, and even resumes. An optional fourth component is the "Endorser." An endorser is any organization or individual that signs the badge with their private encryption key, thereby attesting to the badge's value.

Here is an example of a simplified badge process.


BadgusToBackpack.jpg

Someone issues me a badge. In this case, Ken Layng of ITS Training Services issued me a "Project Leader" badge, using the tools provided at http://badg.us . I receive an email informing me of this. I go to badg.us, sign in, and send the badge to my badge backpack, part of Mozilla's Open Badges infrastructure. (BTW - I previously created my backpack.) Then I sign into my backpack and accept the badge. From there, I can choose to share it publicly or not, and can send/embed a URL for others to view my badge(s).


What are the Potential Benefits to Penn State?

Enhance Digital Identity

Badges enhance one's digital identity and reputation. This is great for e-Portfolios! Badges raise your profile within the learning community and peers and allow you to aggregate identities from across other communities. Specifically:

  • Provides a more complete picture of the learner: Badges provide a more granular and complete picture of skills and learning history for potential employers, schools, peer groups and others than a traditional degree.
  • Informal certification: Learners can get credit and recognition for the learning that happens outside of school.  e.g., in after-school programs, work experience or online.
  • Third-party validation: Attesting to competency and participation, rather than self-attesting, establishes credibility, trust, and legitimacy
  • Signals achievement: Badges signal skills and achievements to peers, potential employers, educational institutions and others.
  • Recognizes new hard skills and literacies: New  literacies that are critical to success in today's digital world--like  appropriating information, judging its quality, multitasking and  networking--are not typically taught in schools and don't show up on a  transcript. Badges can recognize these new skills and literacies.
  • Recognizes soft skills: With recognition of social habits, motivation, etc. badges are able to recognize a greater diversity of soft skills than traditional programs measure or even recognize.

Enable Global Perspectives

Badges allow one to share their skill set with the world. This fosters flexibility and connections.

  • Transfer learning across spaces and contexts: Skills are made more portable across jobs, learning environments and places through badges.
  • Build community and social capital: Badges help learners find peers or mentors with similar interests. Community badges help formalize camaraderie, team synthesis and communities of practice.

Better Instruction

Badges tap into some basic learning psychological principles for the learner.

  • Motivate participation and learning outcomes:  Badges provide feedback, milestones and rewards throughout a course or  learning experience, encouraging engagement and retention.
  • Unlock privileges: A test becomes a reward. For example, students at a school computer lab might be required to earn a "Digital Safety" badge  before being allowed to surf the web.
  • Allow multiple pathways to learning: Badges encourage learners to take new paths or spend more time developing specific skills.
  • Support greater specialization and innovation: Badges can support specialized and emerging fields that are not in traditional learning environments.

Better Instructional Management

Badges enable a better understanding of the individual.

  • Capture the learning path and history: With  degrees or cumulative grades, much of the learning path -- the set of steps  and milestones that led to the degree -- is lost or hard to see. Badges can capture a more specific set of skills and qualities as they occur  along the way, along with issue dates for each. This means we can track  the set of steps the most successful learners take to gain their  skills -- and potentially replicate that experience for others.
  • Assist in Accreditation: By capturing the learning path, meeting the documentation needs of accreditation agencies will be eased.

Badges at Penn State

Well, they don't really exist -- yet. Ken Layng of ITS Training Services began investigating badges several months ago, and I've been following the data stream on them for some time. Most of what you've read above comes from Ken's work, so kudos to Ken! Ken organized a Yammer group to invite interested folks in to start looking at this in April 2012, and once we had some preliminary groundwork down, we initiated a meeting with Chris Millet and Chris Stubbs of Education Technology Services, with the hopes we could work together to investigate this from an "all-PSU" perspective. As an aside, this aligns nicely with a desire from ITS senior leadership to approach new opportunities like this from a matrixed organizational view, as opposed to our traditional siloed approach.

At Training Services, we're investigating two potential ways to serve badges. One is via a company named BadgeStack. They offer a complete, nearly turnkey solution that includes a humble content-management system. The other is via a cloud provider (http://badg.us) that offers a simple interface to serve badges. Both have potential, but it's just too soon to draw any conclusions or recommendations.

ETS is working on a meeting with folks both inside and outside of ITS to gather perspectives, and Training Services will be part of that conversation. Hopefully we'll come away from the meeting with a better perspective on directions to pursue with this great opportunity. 


Moving Forward...

There are no conclusions yet, just plenty of questions and investigations. So stay tuned all - this is an exciting new way to capture your learning (and assessment of it), validate it, and display it to the world!

Animation for the Rest of Us?

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The other day I downloaded a beta version of Adobe Edge. Edge is a simple animation tool that uses HTML5, JavaScript, etc. to produce and play web animations. Here's what I was able to do in 45 minutes with no prior experience.

This kinda reminds me of Flash 1.0. Simple, easy to use.  I hope Adobe keeps Edge simple. If it does, lunkheads like me that need to show simple, non-interactive animations to strengthen an instructional point might actually be able to do so ourselves!

Minions, Peons, Lackeys, and Stooges

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Action Games and Role-Playing Games (RPGs) architectures often include several levels of "live" obstacles, from weak (easily defeated) characters to strong (tough to beat) bosses. In a previous post I diagrammed the relation of the weaker characters to the stronger. Recently I started thinking about the names we used for the weaker characters we encounter in games (and perhaps the work environment) and came up with four names: Minion, Peon, Lackey, and Stooge. Are these just names, or do they imply something more? Let's take a look at their respective definitions, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Minion

A minion.

A minion is a follower devoted to serving his master relentlessly.

Peon


A peon.

The word peon has a range of meanings but its primary usage is to describe laborers with little control over their employment conditions.

Lackey

A lackey.

A lackey or lacquey is a term for a uniformed manservant, in its original meaning. The modern connotation of "servile follower" appeared later, in 1588. Lackey is typically used as a derogatory term for a servant with little or no self-respect, who belittles themselves in order to gain advantage. Such advantage is often assumed to be slight, temporary and often illusory.

Stooge

A stooge.

A stooge is generally defined as a person that is under the control of another. Being called a stooge is an insult. Stooge can also sometimes be used to mean "idiot."

I also came across a few other related terms: Sycophant, Flunky, and Toady.

Sycophant

A sycophant.

  1. One who uses compliments to gain self-serving favor or advantage from another.
  2. One who seeks to gain through the powerful and influential.
Flunky

A flunky.

A sycophant; a servant or hanger-on who is kept for their loyalty or muscle rather than their intellect.

Toady

A sycophant.

Wow - we have all sorts of words to describe the followers of others. In the case of most action games and RPGs, these folks are evil to boot; creatures you have to defeat not just to win the game, but to deliver the world from the clutches of evil!

How does this play out in an educational environment with added game-like elements? First, we need a richer vocabulary to describe prerequisite learning skills. Currently we have "skill" and "pre-requisite" skill. Dull, limiting, and perhaps dangerous. If we can't clearly define types of pre-requisite skills, then it may be difficult to determine the best approach to teaching that skill. Also, we have no way to map the instructional type to the best game-like approach.

Just taking a stab at this, we could begin defining pre-requisite skills just as we do the to-be-learned skill by asking the following: Is the pre-req in the psychomotor, cognitive, or affective domain? (See http://www.personal.psu.edu/bxb11/Objectives/ for more on these domains.)

If it is in the psychomotor domain, is it an observing skill, an imitating skill, a practicing skill, or an adapting skill?

If it is a cognitive skill, is it a remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, or create skill?

If it is an affective skill, is it at the receiving, responding, valuing, organization, or characterization by value level of commitment.

 Once you have that, how do you tie this to a gamelike element? Hmmm. I think I'll save that for another post; this one is long enough! I'm not sure you can even do so in a way that can be easily operationalized.

Is Your Instruction Flowing?

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Do you hear about bored, non-engaged students? Are you wondering what you can do about it? While there is no magic bullet for ensuring engagement in instruction, knowledge about the concept of flow may help you as you build learning activities.

 

Have you ever had an experience where hours passed by in minutes, where the light of an impossibly early dawn warmed your furrowed brow as you "came to your senses?" Welcome to the state of flow.

 

Flow is a term coined by M. Csikszentmihalyi (1990). It is a merging of the learner's total attention with the task at hand such that all other sensory and cognitive distractions are invisible to the learner. In these cases, the learner's attention is totally on the learning environment and it is very difficult to distract him/her. The learner is unaware of time passing, and may later remark on this.

 

So why is flow important? It may be the ultimate intrinsically motivational state of learning, where the learner is so immersed in his/her learning that everything except the learning environment conceptually disappears for a time. If, as learning designers, we can foster flow in a learning experience, we've guaranteed cognitive engagement. No more bored students!

 

Is flow possible to create in an online distance learning environment? Jones (1998) contends that it is possible to foster flow in a learning environment. He outlines eight criteria a learner must experience to achieve flow (see Table 1). As these criteria are broadly based, these are easily adopted to online distance learning environments:


Table 1 - Elements of Flow

Criteria

Method

1. Task can be completed.

Scaffolded tasks that rest within the Zone of Proximal Development.

2. Learners can concentrate on task.

Reduce cognitive load on environmental operations and low-level cognitive tasks.

3. Task has clear goals.

Provide problems that are relevant to the learner and the content.

4. Task provides immediate feedback.

Environment is responsive to user interactions and reacts accordingly. Actions that are deemed positive by the designer are positively reinforced. Actions that are deemed negative by the designer are negatively reinforced.

5. Deep (losing awareness of real environment & loss of real-world concerns) but effortless involvement in task.

Relevance of task, smooth integration of tools and manipulation mechanisms into the environment, perception of moving towards a desired goal state.

6. Learners exercise a sense of control over their actions.

Learner control of the environment. Ability to navigate to a desired location. Ability to change the environment and see the results.

7. Concern for self disappears during flow, but sense of self is stronger after flow activity.

Achievable goals. Tasks within the Zone of Proximal Development. Eliminate personal "danger."

8. Sense of time is altered.

Tasks and information must flow smoothly from one to the other. There can be no disjointed experiences, such as stopping t figure out what a particular button does in the middle of a task.



I'll add to this that you have to balance the degree of challenge with the current level of student skill, as diagram 1 below illustrates. Too much challenge = no flow. Too easy of a challenge, no flow.


Diagram 1 - Balancing Challenge Difficulty and Student Skill to Obtain a Flow State

Optimal Flow Experience.jpg

All this sounds great, and we have some great ideas here we can operationalize as we build learning environments, but one thing is missing. How do we quantify the learner's current skill level in relation to the level of the current challenge, in a way that allows us to make on-the-fly adjustments to maintain the state of flow?

 

This is not a question that is easily answered. It seems to me that we have to have tools that facilitate adjustments to the learning environment, and we need input from the learner to spark and direct those adjustments. The former is challenging but possible. The latter requires us to rethink learner input with some out of the box thinking.

 

We need to constantly gather data from the learner to guide adjustments to the learning environment. We should build in quick self-checks for the learner, such as "How frustrated are you right now?" questions. We could attach sensors to register galvanic skin levels, eye movement, or perhaps use new "hands off" sensors such as the Xbox 360 Kinect system to evaluate body language. In short, we need more data on the exact state of the learner at a given point in time to move towards an ensured flow state for all.

 

Some of this sounds far-fetched. In the past, it was simply impossible - we did not have the technology to support such constant learner evaluation. Now that it is (somewhat crudely) possible, do we take the next step and begin investigating the possibilities?

 

 

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper Collins.

 

Jones, M. G. (1998). Creating engagement in computer-based learning environments [Online]. Available: http://itech1.coe.uga.edu/itforum/paper30/paper30.html [2011, April 21].

 


Constant Curricular Change in Higher Ed

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I was cleaning out some stuff and came across an article on constant curricular change. It's interesting, but really grabbed me are the comments.

Holy crap! If this is how the majority feels, then we learning designers will forever be marginalized. What are you thoughts, and please don't give me the shining examples of faculty who "see the light." Talk instead about your typical faculty - do they feel the same? What are you thoughts on all this?

I continue to struggle on how to reach beyond the innovators to at least the early majority in terms of learning design, and when I read comments like this, I am truly discouraged.


Five Things We Can Take From Games To Improve Instruction

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I just watched Tom Chatfield's TED talk titled "7 Ways Games Reward the Brain."

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/tom_chatfield_7_ways_games_reward_the_brain.html

He's really nailed many thoughts I've had over the past several years what great things we can take from games and use them in higher education. Tom put them together in a decent, bite-sized package. I'm jealous! Guess that's why he has a TED Talk and I just listen. Still, in my new role as the Educational Gaming Commons Evangelist, I want to summarize what he spoke of in my own words.

Five Things We Can Take From Games

1. Use experience bars to measure progress.

In games, this is so common that it's absence is the exception. Yet in non-game learning activities, we seldom use a visual clue to indicate progress. The current PSU course management system, ANGEL, can do so (in a fashion) via the use of milestones.

Why is this a great idea? Students want feedback, and want to know they are on the right path. It's that simple.

These are currently cumbersome to set up, so I doubt many faculty even bother. Still, this is an idea worthy of examination, and one that should be considered as a criterion for PSU's exploration of alternatives to ANGEL. We also need to think about ways to make this EASY for faculty to implement outside of a CMS. Can we build a simple experience bar tool to enable faculty to tie learning objectives to progress, to assessment, etc.? Can we develop templates faculty can use to get this running quickly? Can we show faculty how to do this on their own with tools they know well?

Of course, all this implies that faculty have conceptualized their course as a series of sub-goals that lead to goals that lead to total course achievement - not just completion. For many faculty, this will mean deconstructing their course, re-conceptualizing it, and then rebuilding it so a progress bar actually makes sense.

2. Multiple long and short-term aims.

This is tied to the progress bar idea. You have a variety of tasks or "aims" to accomplish to reach the goal. Some are easier/quicker than others. You can work on multiple tasks at the same time. Each task is quantified and the relationship of it to the ultimate goal is made apparent. Tom class these "calibrated slices." Here's a quick and dirty diagram I made to illustrate this.

 


PrerequisiteTaskAnalysis&Games.png

Note I tied goals to bosses and minions. In many games you have to fight the ultimate boss, but to get there you have to fight through the lieutenants, but to get to the lieutenants you have to fight through their minions. Replace boss and minion with goals, and the relationship from multiple "aims" to instructional goals is clear. Also, if you are in instructional designer, this diagram looks suspiciously like a pre-requisites task analysis!

In my opinion, this is a great motivational device for students. They are given the main goal, and the paths they need to take to achieve the main goal. They can see the sequence of activities they must undertake to reach the main goal. In other words, instructional sequences are no longer a mystery to the student; they are participatory events.

Do many faculty think about goals, sub-goals, etc.? In my experience, no. They need an instructional designer to initially introduce the concept and most likely to work through at least one pre-requisite task analysis for at least one main course goal. Then they get it. However, I don't see many instructional designers doing pre-requisite task analyses nowadays. Tom gives us a great reason to do these and while his rationale for doing so comes from outside the ID field, it is no less valid.

3 & 4. Reward Effort and Provide Rapid, Frequent Feedback

This almost goes without saying, but if you look at good games, there is a plethora of feedback for completed tasks. In contrast, how do we mainly reward students in a class? With grades on quizzes and exams. With grades on papers. With a team grade. That's OK, but it's not enough. It's the game equivalent of offering a reward ONLY for taking down the big boss. What about all those sub-tasks? Why not reward them as well? How difficult is it to assign a weighted grade to a student that completes a reading on time? I use grades here as a feedback reward because that's what students are training to look for.

We can easily extend this to other reward structures besides grades. Why not have a leader (top scores) board for some of the tasks in a course, one that carries over many class sections/years? For example, display previous top scores for that nasty team project and challenge the current student teams to beat them. Why not give some sort of reward to the one student that provided the most insightful posts, as voted on by the other students?

5. Add an Element of Uncertainty

Games are great at not letting you know exactly what's coming next, or what the next reward might be. This "lights the brain up," according to Tom. When we can't quite predict something, we get really excited about it.

This is seems to contradict the clear map that long and short-term tasks can provide, but if you place the uncertainty inside a particular task, then it makes sense. Think of this as driving down a road. You know you need to be on this road to reach your destination, but would you rather be on a straight road with clear visibility for miles, or would you want a road with at least a few twists and turns?

This is tied to Vroom's (1964) expectancy-value theory, where an expectancy is the anticipation held by an organism that under a given set of circumstances, a particular behavior will lead to a particular outcome, and also to the Yerks-Dodson Law, that states that as tasks are increased in difficulty, the optimum level of motivation declines. The trick is to arouse a student's knowledge-seeking curiosity without over-stimulating it. Some uncertainty within a task can do just that.

(If you want to read more on my thoughts about motivation and games as viewed through the lens of instructional design, please see

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.124.8975&rep=rep1&type=pdf)

The rest of Tom's talk is very interesting. He talks about how games can manipulate memory, confidence, etc. I agree with him, but it's difficult to make operational as I've tried to do above.

Tom concludes by giving some examples of how we could motivate entire populations to perform civic tasks, to improve education, etc. by using the principles he just outlined. It's interesting to contemplate, but I wonder if some would feel they were being manipulated? We do this with advertising, but this is at a higher level. Do listen to his talk! I'm interested in hearing your conclusions afterward.

Qualities of an Instructional Designer

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I just read a post on this that written back in May. Thanks to Clark Quinn for the Tweet on it! So what is a "quality?" If you look up the definition, you find (among other defs) - "an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone."

So is a quality the same as a skill? Seems to me qualities are more on the affective side. Things like having empathy, caring about the completeness of your work, etc. If you read the comments to the mentioned post, you'll see people are mixing skills and affective characteristics together.

This isn't something I've really thought much about. I have my own list of skills an ID should possess, but not qualities. This is something I'll have to ponder more. Just as we divide learning into psycho-motor, cognitive, and affective areas, maybe examining IDs from these viewpoints would shed some light on just who the heck we are.

Learning Happens All The Time - Even If We Have To Steal It

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Tonight in the supermarket I watched a 2-year old watch the cashier work through a problem at the register. Her eyes flicked back and forth between the register keys being pushed and the cashier's face. Do think the little girl wasn't learning? Guess again. This type of learning is akin to what John Seely Brown & Paul Duguid term stolen knowledge.

This is a concept I've been trying to wrap my brain around for some time. Actually, not the concept itself, but how it relates to gaming, virtual worlds, and simulations. There is a fantastic amount of stolen knowledge that happens in a game space. Some comes from the environment, some from reflection, some from game processes, and some from other players (in online games).

How do we quantify this? How do we weigh its value? This is critical as we move forward in our investigations of these spaces most feel are only for fun, yet are truly designed for learning. Just because it's not formal, traditional learning doesn't negate it's value. Yet at the end of the day, week, or semester, we need to assess and prove learning took place. Thus the conundrum.

The immediate tendency is to slam the entire educational system, thump our fists on the table, and decree, "The system is broken! We need to fix it, and here's another example why we should do so." While I don't disagree with the need for systemic change in education, I feel there exists, just beyond my grasp, a way to tie stolen knowledge to acceptable learning practices. Anyone have a smart pill? And an aspirin. My fist hurts.

Learning Design Summer Camp 2009 - Musings

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Camp Logo.jpg
Wow - what an event! We had three days of great fun, inactivity, and learning. The pre-conference activity was excellent, and the two days of the main event went by so fast, my head spun.

I have several observations from this event:

1. It's important for Learning Designers to hear from the faculty innovators. Their perspectives drive change at PSU.

Hearing innovators is always a treat. They have passion, drive, and want to share. We need to hold these folks up to the light so all can see. Faculty drive other faculty to adoption of best practices, but even they are only somewhat effective in doing so. What about the other 98% of faculty? We need to hear from them, at least the early majority and late majority folks. What are their thoughts on pedagogical approaches in this age? How do we engage them at their comfort level?

2. Learning Designers at PSU, as a group, have a ways to go.

As a group, Learning Designers at PSU are still not functioning as efficiently and effectively as possible. We have this event, and the All ID monthly meetings. Yet in between these F2F activities, little to no sharing of ideas, processes, and outcomes is happening. Why? We have a Learning Design Community Hub for asynchronous activities, but it is barely used. I'd truly like feedback on this - perhaps a survey is in order?

3. We promote this as a camp, and I believe we've succeeded.

People did dress casually. We had Dean Blackstock for music the first day. The atmosphere was relaxed - especially at the evening dinner I attended. One thing I noticed was lack of audience questions. Even when prompted by moderators, people were silent. Hmmm. Maybe we need to mix up the panel sessions with smaller ones in breakout rooms to encourage participation?

The optional 5K Run and tour of the Educational Gaming Commons Lab were also well received. I missed the run because I had a group of folks at the lab. We grabbed some beanbag chairs, set in a circle in the lab, and talked for over an hour about educational gaming and the lab. It was the first time I've had a group in the lab for that purpose, and it was truly enjoyable.

Behind the Scenes


I wanted to share with you what it took to get the event up and running. In addition to the normal wiki setup, and monitoring of all the itsey-bitseys that always accompany an event, we have five volunteer meetings done F2F and via Adobe Connect. I used Doodle, a free online scheduler, to set these up. Next year I think I'll cut the total number of meetings down. Once folks have their tasks they usually roll with them and don;t necessarily need to meet together so often.

The location was the true nightmare this year. We were set to use Foster Aud. in Pattee Library, but due to a construction schedule change less than two weeks before the event, we had to locate another place. Finding a room at UP that can hold 120 people, and provide electricity and wireless access proved impossible on such short notice. We tried for the IST Cybertorium, but it was booked. In the end, only 112 Kern had the space we needed. There were precious few outlets in the room, and the wireless tapped out at 30 simultaneous users. So I spent a great deal of time in the week leading up to the event scrambling to cover these two issues. Fortunately Telecommunication and Network Services came through with a temporary wireless solution. It's not a service they can offer normally, so I am in their debt.

The power was another issue. The only thing to do was to obtain a number of extension cords and power strips and install them. So Kasey Weatherholtz, Chris Demchak, and I spent several hours Monday afternoon running the cords, taping them down, placing the power strips, etc. Not fun, but absolutely necessary for a technological event where the bar was set last year in Foster.

So the week before the event was, shall we say, a bit stressful. Many emails, late hours. Yet it all came together beautifully, and I'm looking forward to next year already!

Building the Learning Design Community at Penn State

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I've been involved with instructional design at PSU since 1984. More recently, I've become involved in Learning Design. It's a superset of ID, encompassing not only ID, but instructional technology, systemic change, administration, and (IMO) just about anything else that impacts on the educational experience, such as the physical learning environment.

We have over 100 Instructional Designers at Penn State, but no one, to the best of my knowledge, is listed as a Learning Designer. So I wonder if it would benefit the entire Penn State Community to start thinking about Learning Design? We already have taken steps in that direction via the Learning Design Summer Camp [http://ets.tlt.psu.edu/wiki/Learning_Design_Summer_Camp_2009], but we've not looked at Learning Design per se. We've not examined what Learning Design is, how it can and should affect how we plan instruction, how we work together in teams, and how it affects our career paths.

So what is Learning Design? Clark Quinn views it as the intersection of instructional design, information design and experience design. Earlier I alluded it's a superset of instructional design. I think if you step back from the doing and look from the balcony on what's involved in creating educational materials and experiences, you'll be closer to what LD is.

How does it affect instruction? How doesn't it? For an instructional designer, it means taking into account many things we simply ignore. Take the typical prerequisite skills diagram. In this type of analytical diagram, one lists the skills needed to perform the task at hand. At some point you draw a dotted line separating the skills into two sets. The skills that fall below the dotted line are considered already mastered - you don't need to worry about teaching them.

Prerequisite_Skills_Analysis.jpg

Now imagine vertical dotted lines on each side of the listed skills. Anything that lies outside those vertical dotted lines is not dealt with by instructional design, but rather by learning design. I've only included a few LD things in this illustration - hope you get the point I'm trying to make. Instructional Designers need to not only dig deep, they need to look wide to see what else impacts their tiny portion of the entire learning experience.

Prerequisite_Skills_Analysis(2).jpg
So how do we at PSU go about learning more about this tremendous challenge and opportunity? What does this mean for career advancement? I know many IDs at PSU feel their upward mobility is curtailed. Is a move into Learning Design a way to foster a stronger career path?

I'm asking these questions in the hopes of sparking a true dialog with anyone that works to develop instruction - what can/should we be doing and exploring in this space?


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