Reflection & Synthesis
My portfolio represents a significant amount of work I’ve put in during these last two years in the Learning Design and Technologies Masters Program. At the tail end of the program, I forgot how many assignments I completed during my time. So, after reviewing almost every task when creating the annotations, I reflected on the growth and progress I’ve made in the program. That is something I do not often sit back and reflect on progress. It is always on the next goal and next competition as an athlete. Similar to this class, I was always thinking about the next assignment.
When first starting my master's degree, I was nervous but eager for the new chapter. Coming into this, I knew minimal computer skills and went from a Criminal Justice undergrad degree to which I didn't use a computer that much. I knew it would take time, but I was passionate about the topic and wanted to know more. The first couple of classes were tuff, but the professors would explain the lesson and answer any questions I had. I became a student of learning and figuring out how to become an instructional designer. First starting in the program, I lacked incorporating learning theories, instructional models, and strategies for accessibility.
I learned some lessons in the instructional models; I had many difficulties first starting. In my first couple of classes, I had assignments that led me to implement the ASSURE instructional model. In reviewing the textbook, I thought I had the right idea for creating the content, but my examples were inadequate. It lacked the information needed, and the professor gave me a poor grade. Moving forward in the class, I read the feedback, and for the next assignment, I made sure to do it correctly in providing several examples and learning theories. As I move forward in this program, I have been using different instructional models and been applying them to assignments ever since.
Some difficulties that I faced in my classes were not putting enough learning theories in my assignments. As time moved forward, I started to use more learning theories like behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, constructionism, and connectivism. (Pritchard, 2017) I would lean towards only using the behaviorism learning theory. That was the only learning theory I knew coming in. This led to issues creating content with limiting the assignment to only one learning theory. I had to understand that implementing these theories "provide a basis to understand how people learn and a way to explain, describe, analyze and predict learning." (Pritchard, 2017) Applying these different learning theories will be the way to provide the best learning for the students. Moving forward in the class I’ve learned to use multiple learning theories that paved the way for better assignments.
Things I would do differently to learn how to create accessible documents earlier in my program. Until the 2nd semester, I didn’t understand how to make anything accessible. Then, I took the EDET 735 class, which taught me what accessibility was and the strategies. I have deducted points in introductory courses because of document design errors brought on by accessibility. Looking back, I should have took the time to exactly learn how to change and check for it. In my assignments now, before handing them in, I double-check and run the accessibility checker to see if there are any issues. For example, creating headers and pictures to include ALT text to the document to make it accessible. Now my current job is to make documents assessable in the business school. The growth and the lessons I learned with struggling at first led me to understand the process of how to properly do it.
Some success I achieved would have to be during my internship, after figuring out my final project and working on it for weeks. It was challenging but seeing how many people helped made me feel like the time was well worth it. Creating solutions for a group that will allow them to get the information needed to succeed is no better feeling. As an instructional designer in a school district, I will continue to do that.
Some exciting ways my experience helped my previous assignments were in my Final Integrated Multimedia Project. It was in the class of EDET 603, which was the final project, and it was a group project with me and a partner. We were assigned to create a podcast with a website, marketing poster, and cover art. Before this class, my friends and I started a podcast, and I was in charge of creating the website and making the marketing products. It wasn't to the extent of this project, but I knew how to develop and produce the assignment because of the experience I had with this.
Challenged and growth
Overall I enjoyed the challenge and growth I've made in the Learning Design and Technologies master's program. In my first year in the program, I was a student-athlete at the university and had to take three classes to stay eligible. At times felt overwhelming, and I wouldn't make it, but I was determined to finish and become an instructional designer. As I moved forward in the program, I became more intrigued by the process and the fantastic things you could contribute as an instructional designer.