What Is Instructional Design

What is instructional design? This is the question we will focus on this week as we continue in our journey to understand how librarians can make us of the instructional design process to enhance their design of library instruction. The following site provides a good definition of instructional design (http://www.umich.edu/~ed626/define.html). Now that we have a common framework, we can move on to gaining a better understanding of the discipline. The following materials are a very condensed listing of resources that can provide a basic self-study to help librarians understand the basics of instructional design.

    1. A good site to learn more about basic instructional design principles is the IDD workbook created by graduate students at the University of Southern Alabama (http://www.southalabama.edu/coe/idbook/home.html).
    2. Also, the following audio files provide a nice overview of instructional design (http://www.ltgreenroom.org/episodes/22) & (http://www.archive.org/details/tonywhiteDesignforPodcasts).
    3. Finally, the following multimedia recording from CIDDIE @ the University of Pittsburg provides a good overview of a basic instructional design model (http://mediasite.cidde.pitt.edu/MediaSite/Viewer/?peid=87fe9bdc-9d61-44a0-917b-5398ab903319)
    4. To learn more about instructional design models Martin Ryder’s site is quite useful (http://carbon.cudenver.edu/~mryder/itc_data/idmodels.html).

Once you have immersed yourself in the above materials you should have a better understanding of what instructional design is. In the next blog we will look at what basic instructional technology is. 










Latest “Inside Innovation” Now Available Online

In my last post I mentioned that BusinessWeek offers a really good quarterly supplement that focuses on design, innovation, creativity – and other issues we like to read about. The latest one is now available online. It includes articles on the greatest innovations of all time, an innovation case study focusing on GE, a slide show on the state of social networking, and more. My favorite is the article about the Acumen Fund, a nonprofit venture capital firm that is using design thinking to improve social conditions for those in poverty around the world. As one member of the firm said:

“We’re creating an overall design for how you provide goods and services to poor people,” she says. Observing customers to uncover their unmet needs, creating prototypes of new products and services for them, iterating and improving those until they work, looking for new business models—these are all the critical fundamentals of design that Acumen uses in its work.”

It sometimes concerns me, that when I talk about design thinking, librarians will assume this concept is primarily business driven and therefore will not apply to libraries. It is true that design thinking is certainly more a business concept than it is a humanities or social science philosophy, but this article clearly shows us that design thinking need not be used only in business settings or situations. As Tim Brown of IDEO is quoted in the article:

“It’s all about innovation,” says Brown. He explains that using the methodology of design can solve social, as well as business, problems. “We’re pretty good at taking a bunch of disparate components and figuring out the solution.”

I’ve said in the past that just because something works in a business environment, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for libraries. But design thinking is a way of identifying problems and developing solutions. It’s not the same as saying, “Hey look, libraries should be emailing books to patrons and letting them keep them as long as they want with no fines because that’s what Netflix does and look at how successful they are.”  It may work for some libraries, but not all. It depends on the culture and community. But I would argue that design thinking is, as Brown points out, a “methodology of design” and not simply a business model that others should emulate.

At some point I will probably no longer feel the need to write posts that try to convince you that design thinking has powerful possibilities for librarians, but will assume you already have come to that conclusion. But feel free to argue the case if you see it another way. Good discourse on the topic will only serve to heighten our understanding.

Moving Beyond Experience To Identity

While I’m in between parts one and two of a discussion of the age of user experience I thought I’d point out one of the better sources of information for those interested in following trends and developments in the world of design. One of the things DBL hope to achieve is to create more passion for design and design thinking among its readers. One of the ways for that to happen is to keep reading. A particularly good blog is NussbaumOnDesign. Bruce Nussbaum is a technology editor at BusinessWeek, and he produces consistently good blog posts on the intersection of innovatin and design. The blog is connected to a quarterly (I believe) supplement in BusinessWeek called InDesign (or it might be nDesign). I highly recommend the reading of this supplement for getting even more insight into design issues. I believe that Nussbaum said in his blog the other day that a new supplement should be out soon – so now is the time to take a look at your library’s next few issues of BusinessWeek so you can discover InDesign.

And since we were on the subject of the user experience, take a look at what Nussbaum had to say. He believes that experience may suggest something that is too passive in nature to be memorable. An experience is something that happens to you. Identity, on the other hand, is all about the individual. Individuals want to interact with their environments. And where identify seems to be particularly important is within social networks. Those who use them do so by creating identies for themselves. So it may be that in social networks, creating an identity is a significant experience in and of itself.