Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day 2 AECT 2012: Part 3 - The Future of the Field of Educational Technology

This post is part of a Multiple Part Series on the 2012 AECT Convention.
#AECT 2012

The Future of Our Field
What is the future of the field of educational technology? Of education in general? Higher education has clearly undergone rapid transformation over the past 10 years- how will it transform over the coming years?

The panel: Patricia Young, Andy Gibbons, Elizabeth Boling, Ana Donaldson, David Wiley

In this panel session, several leading scholars discussed their take on (1) what changes will occur and (2)what changes should occur in the field. Note: This post will be a little different because I am going to basically share my notes (slightly edited) on what was said during the session.

Anna Donaldson
  • Learning Design is another way of looking at design. We should consider thinking deeply about our learners' experience instead of the processes we use as designers.
  • Our designs are often seen another resource for learning and not just the only source of learning.
  • Learning analytics will likely have a powerful impact on the field. Understanding and using them will help us know how to interact with our students.
  • We should really rethink how we think. We are stuck in what we think we know.
Andy Gibbons
  • The economics of instructional design. Instructional designers should be aware of their value added. Decisions made by designers are tradeoffs that eventually have to do with economics, and we should think of what we do in terms of economics. 
  • We must view design in terms of constraints. We often think there is some kind of ideal, but this is not necessarily true. We are working under actual constraints that change how we approach our work.
  • Ask the question: what is going to be important in the future? What represents progress in the field of instructional design? Potential answers, potential opportunities:
    • Intelligent Tutors.
    • Data mining for educational purposes.
      • Bayesian statistics - Book to read: "The Theory That Would Not Die."
    • Corporate universities are nearly as many as educational universities. (We seem to be totally unaware of this presence.)
    • There seems to be a change in the business approach of education. What used to be the public schools only is now taken over by many different types of institutions, and these will potentiall totally take over many aspects of higher education.
  • Themes that should be included in our thinking about instructional design: portability, pallatability, accessibility, efficiency, scalability, sustainability, generativity, adaptivity, manufacturability, cost, actionable knowledge, popularity, coalition support
David Wiley
  • Problem: The demand for higher education will increase exponentially (times 10) over the coming 15 years. We have demand for higher education but we do not have a plan in place to handle the demands that will inevitably come in the future. We don't really talk about these things very much, as a field.
  • Openess
    • Open Content - take instructional content and make it available to anyone. Allow people to use it, tweak it, localize it.
    • Open Research - We should make the research that we perform totally available to others in an open way. Taxpayers pay for the research (through NSF for example) and then have to pay more to read the article. Doesn't make sense...
    • Open Data - We should be showing the products of our work to each other. We should allow others to use our data in meaningful ways.
    • Open Teaching - We should make our teaching available to anyone who would like to learn.
  • Analytics will allow us to improve our instruction, and using open content allows us to change whatever we want to change.
Openness + Analytics 
Chocolate + Peanut Butter
  • Credentialing. We should allow people to credential others in meaningful ways (such as open badges).
  • Our designs don't have any kind of quality that is independent from the interaction with learners.
  • Science vs. Arts. We might have some kind of science envy. There is an art to what we do, and we don't talk about that very much. We should consider that important aspect of the work of designers.
Elizabeth Boling
  •  Our field could potentially just dribble away if we are not willing to take a look at how the world and how learning is changing. We could potentially just go away and become obsolete.
  • We often confuse values with scholarship. We confuse theory with design philosophy. For example: learning design and instructional design are mainly a difference in design philosophy.
  • Questions we should be asking ourselves about our field:
    • Why do other sectors in the world adopt technology faster than we do
    • Why is human performance seen as different than Instructional Design and Learning Design?
    • Why don't we guarantee our work? How do we get away with consulting people on how to design without a guarantee that it will improve learning?
    • Why can't we guarantee our tools?
    • Why don't we show each other our work?
    • We have theories that do not really reflect our practice. How we practice should inform our theories, not the other way around.
Patricia Young
  • Situating learning in the context of culture. What do kids do in their daily lives? We should localize our instruction to needs of particular groups.
  • Culture influences how people learn and perform in e-learning environments.
  • We should explore culture's impact on learning. What does it mean to move away from westernized thinking? How do you move more toward this culture-specific application? To design for aboriginals? or for Caucasian mountain dwellers?
  • We should include a course on instructional design, technology, and culture.
  • If we ignore culture, we will have poor ramifications.


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