For this year's convention, I will be participating in a panel discussion on the future of instructional design programs with several excellent researchers. It should be an interesting experience, and I hope to contribute to the discussion.
I was also asked by a group in AECT to serve as a mentor for two doctoral students, Beth Oyarzun and and Sheri Anderson, who are competing in AECT's Pacificorp Design and Development Competition. They have worked very hard and have moved through the first two phases of the competition and are now finalists competing against two other teams. It should be an exciting event!
What I Will Focus On
My interests over the last 2 years have broadened (see side-thoughts below), and I hope to attend sessions about leadership, community of practice, performance support, and mobile learning. I definitely look forward to attending the conference and am excited to be in beautiful Jacksonville!
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A side-thought on scholarly activity: In the research world, it appears that many (most?) scholars seem to dive very deep into one specific area and research that area to provide new knowledge. I have been doing this for the past few years in the realm of instructional theory, particularly the practical application of Merrill's First Principles of Instruction. And while my interest in this area continues, I have found that I am fascinated with understanding the bigger picture, the system in which instruction and learning takes place. I've broadened my interests to include human performance technology, leadership, management and organizational and individual psychology. I have read dozens of books in these areas over the last couple of years (see my Books I Read section), and I find it to be very fulfilling.
Another side-thought: I have found that the knowledge I gained in my Masters and PhD programs - systems thinking, systematic thinking, design thinking, research, etc. - has given me a foundation or a structure into which I can organize and apply much of the new knowledge I am gaining. There is a certain capacity that is built through the difficulty and rewards of rigorous graduate work that enables an individual to acquire and organize knowledge in very meaningful ways. I am therefore exceedingly grateful for my doctoral experience and am excited to continue to learn, grow, develop, and improve.