Instructional Design in the Real World

With the ever-changing technology of today, instructional design has infiltrated everyday life. I did not have to go far to see two different examples of instructional design being used to teach something. I went to two places that have radically changed in the past 10 years. Instructional technology has changed the way schools teach and libraries connect out to their patrons.

As I sat in my community’s newly redesigned library working on projects, I took a moment to look around. I noticed that while there were books everywhere, technology has made an impact on how the library is run. There are tables for people to work on their laptops or sit and read. The Wi-Fi is free for anyone to connect to and a row of computers are available for people who may not have their own at home. The biggest change that I noticed was the removal of the checkout desk. Before Coppell redesigned their library, there was a desk with 2 computers and a librarian would stand there ready to check out books to their patrons. That desk has been removed and in its place stands a few book checkout kiosks. These kiosks implement instructional design as they teach the patrons how to check out books. Once you have made your book selections, you can check them out manually. On the home screen, there are a few options like ‘checkout’, ‘account’, or ‘renew’. You click on the option fulfills your needs. In this case, I choose checkout because that is what I was doing. Step by step instructions appear on the screen so you are able to check out your books. Once you have scanned your library card and books, the machine prints a receipt or gives you the option receive an emailed receipt.

Through this experience, I learned how easy it was to check out a book. The directions pop up as you move through the process. I learned how this process could save time and resources for the libraries. Lastly, I learned that though the technology to check out books has saved money and time for libraries, it does take away some of the social interaction of talking with your librarian. Viewing the books that you check out could lead to some great discussion.

The next place I chose to look for an example of instructional design was in my own classroom. In the middle school where I teach, students have their own personal devices to use. On Friday during study hall, one of my students was using my class iPad to pull up a picture of a poster he had made for his science class. On his personal iPad, he was using that information to create a report that was to be published on his classroom blog. As Merrill (2008) stated in his video on Instructional Design, educators should demonstrate the knowledge, have students apply their knowledge in a meaningful way and in the context of the real world. In this instance, the student had heard a lecture and done a lab in his science class [Demonstrate].  He had created a poster with his lab partner [Apply]. Then he was publishing his work to his class blog [Real World Context].

I learned that students are capable of more than we realize sometimes as teachers. It is important to design lessons in a way that will stretch our student’s growth. Real motivation comes from when students are able to do something they couldn’t do before (Merrill, 2008). I learned that when I am designing lessons that I need to keep those three guidelines Merrill suggests in mind. Lastly, I learned that having technology in my classroom has changed the way that I teach completely.

Instructional design is a term that is used broadly and can mean very different things to many people, but the ADDIE method can be a guiding framework in this field (Bichelmeyer, 2005).  Whether I stay in the education world or venture into corporate training, having a strong grasp on instructional design is vital to any career I choose.

Bichelmeyer, B. (2005). “The ADDIE Model” – A Metaphor for the Lack of Clarity in the field of IDT. IDT Record. IDT Future Group Presentations, pp. 1-7.

Merrill, D. (Director). (2008, August 11). Merrill on Instructional Design [Video file]. Retrieved from