The (K-5) Teacher side of ‘Design’: in Teaching vs. Instructional Design

This is a continuation of  looking at ADDIE from instructional design through the lens of a K-5 teacher, we are looking at Design.  For previous posts on this subject check out the Teaching vs. Instructional Design category.

Design

According to Gagné (2004), the Design step of ADDIE includes the following:

  1. Translate course goals into performance outcomes, and major course objectives (unit objectives).
  2. Determine the instructional topics or units to be covered, and how much time will be spent on each.
  3. Sequence the units with regard to the course objectives.
  4. Flesh out the units of instruction, identifying the major objectives to be achieved during each unit.
  5. Define lessons and learning activities for each unit.
  6. Develop specifications for assessment of what students have learned.

1) Translate course goals into performance outcomes, and major course objectives (unit objectives).

In the K-5 setting, the course goals are determined by the state standards.  How those standards translate into the unit objectives in the classroom, is something the K-5 teacher determines, often in coordination with the grade level teachers.

2) Determine the instructional topics or units to be covered, and how much time will be spent on each.

The K-5 teacher, often in coordination with the grade level team divides up the content into the designated school year.

3) Sequence the units with regard to the course objectives.

Along with the school calendar is the timeline for the state testing, often well before the end of the year.  Not only do the teachers have to meet the objectives, but they must decide which objectives will be taught after the state testing.

4) Flesh out the units of instruction, identifying the major objectives to be achieved during each unit.

At the K-5 level, this is often done in coordination with the grade level team.

5) Define lessons and learning activities for each unit.

I think this is the part that most people understand that teachers do.  Teachers have been sharing lesson plans for a long time.  I’m not sure how a teacher could only do this one step.  Well, a good teacher definitely does more than just this step.

6) Develop specifications for assessment of what students have learned.

There are a number of different ways to assess what students have learned.  I think most people think all assessment is multiple choice tests.  (High stakes testing ends up being like this, not that it is the best way to assess students.)  Especially when you think about the K-5 setting, there are many things that can only be assessed by doing.

Summary

Design is the step where content and context come together.  Regardless of which role you have (instructional designer or teacher) there is much work that must be done in coordination with the other role.  One could argue that there are a number of designers who do all this and the teachers simply implement.  But having evaluated pre-service teachers in CA – watching video of them teaching and scouring their very detailed lesson plans with modifications, the teachers that simply taught the script (because the school required it), did not teach well.  However, that same script taught by a teacher who has done analysis and worked out a design that will work for that specific classroom, were incredible teachers.

Remember, I was only looking at the second step in ADDIE and only looking at K-5 teachers. I will continue this thinking going through the various levels of teaching and looking at each of the ADDIE steps.

Gagne, R., Briggs, L., Wager, W., & Keller, J. (2004) Principles of Instructional Design (Fifth Edition). Belmont CA: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning.

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