What I have learned from the Activity Theory is that we as humans always desire different things. We are socially constructed so that we know how exactly we want things to be. In practice, this theory can be used, for instance, to build technological tools such as wheel chairs for disable people, telephones, special T.V., etc. By applying Activity Theory to build a product, there is an object – the target of activity (wheelchair), the subject –user of the product (disable people)-, the community –the immediate environment-, the rules of society – standards-, and the division of work –how different members of the community have divided responsibility in defining and influencing the object. Each component of Activity Theory influence the way the product looks like at the end. “Social action” seems to play an immense role in this model (as well as Piaget and Vygostsky models). Because people are so different, Activity Theory seems to fall short because in designing something it will be found a large variety of users, as well as rules and tools, so that it will be hard to keep the ultimate goal as it was at the beginning. This will cause a lot of time consuming for the design.
In instructional design, I cannot come with a good example because as a teacher I give the students the goal I am expecting, so that even if the subjects do not accept it they have to deal with it. I mostly see this activity theory used for the design of technological tools in which the object is tested with various subjects and conditioned to the rules of society and the desires of the subject too. There are numerous testing to see whether the product fits the users and community needs. In so doing, the designers also need to go and evaluate the division of work, which describe how different members of the community have divided responsibility in defining and influencing the object. In sum, Activity Theory seems to be a user-centered design.
There are two kinds of evaluations in ID: summative and formative. The summative evaluation is conducted after the completion of the project. The formative evaluation, on the other hand, is an evaluation that assess each one of the design phases. There advantages and disadvantages for using the types of evaluation of the design. I believe that formative evaluation is the best one because you can make a lot of improvements along the way. Also, by using formative evaluation you learn more because there is an evaluation of each one of the ID phases.
Communication contribute to learning and ,undoubtely, to instructional design in many ways: exposure to a broad range of information and perspective, deeper understanding, and stimulus for insight and creative thought. By communicating and collaborating with others, an specially with the client, there will be more generation of ideas, better decisions, more plans for the product, an increase in motivation, and a rich evaluation of the product. In overall, communication and collaboration is a key to success in an instructional desing project. As for my project , the client and I will be able to accomplished easily the following taks by working together:
•Determine the feasibility of developing a program for the textbook support;
• Identify intended learning outcomes;
• Develop appropriate instructional designs based on learner/client characteristics; culture, context and circumstances;
• Match content and subject matter materials to intended learning outcomes;
•Identify additional materials, strategies and methods required;
•Prepare and produce materials for both synchronous and asynchronous modes of delivery;
•Produce all required learning materials;
• Assist with the logistics of the project;
•Continuously evaluate the product.
In this chapter I have learned to define a project. It has been interesting to read and think about my own project. I am doing an informal request for the Department of Spanish and Portuguese which will end with the development of online lessons that correspond to the new book teachers at this Department will be using next semester. I have understood the importance of knowing the project goals, audience, intended outcomes, and instructional activities. There are other aspects that will not be important in my project, but which are extremely necessary in other kinds of projects. These aspects are the budget, and a scheduled plan.
When one has a clear and strong outline of the project, the task will be easier. It is like building a castle; the stronger the base is the stronger the castle will be.
Activities are an important aspect of ID. They are influenced by learner’s needs and characteristics, the context, learning outcomes, and the delivery context. After the activities are designed, they must be effectively delivered. In so doing, the designer should take into account the following aspects: equipment available, time to deliver, background information of the learners. Also the media assets to delivery the material should be able to capture the learner’s attention and to attain the goals of the project.
Being a teacher has allowed me to think about the instructional materials, activities, and the delivery modes for every class. I have not only to think about the topic itself, but also at the type of learners I have in my class and the time I teach. Teaching at 8:00 a.m. is different from teaching at 11:00 a.m. For instance, I plan activities in which physical activity and group work are required for my 8:00 a.m. class. For my 9:00 a.m. class, I plan more individual and pair work without relying on much physical movement (my students are awake by then!).
In this reading, I have learnt that a designer must have in mind the outcomes of whatever he/she wants to accomplish. Also, the designer must find a way to measure whether student accomplished what he/she was expecting or whatever he/she was supposed to learn.
Outcomes and goals were two concepts with which I had a misunderstanding before the reading. Now, I understand that the outcomes are the statements of what the instruction needs to accomplish, while the goals will be the statements of what the leaner is able to do after the instruction.
The types of learning outcomes are also important because not all the learners have the same capability in doing or learning in a certain way. Being able to use different learning strategies, allows not only the designer to succeed, but also the learner to learn in a motivating and comfortable way. As an example of the importance of these learning differences, many game programs have designed different types of games within one package. Not all the learners like all of them and the variety of the package will motivate the children to stick with it.
Regarding the development of assessment, it is important to have different choices so that the learner can choose whatever he/she feels more comfortable in working on. I believe that not only good design provides good results, but also that good assessment proves whether the design or the topic was learnt.
As an instructional designer, how do you provide learner analysis throughout all phases of design?
An instructional designer require an understanding the learners, their expectations, goals, fears, etc. In doing so, the designer becomes an advocate through the define phase and the delivery phase. The designer must do everything with one think in my: "The learner".
Years ago, I worked in a design project of listening and pronunciation materials for International Students. Since the first time, I sarted working on it, I placed myself as one of the students and thought of their feeling, expectations, and plans. During the design phases, my group and I made modifications based on the needs of the learners. In the development phase we tested the design and still keept thinking about the learners goals and abilities. During the delivery phase, even though we as designers thought the product was ready we still were concerned on how our learners were feeling about the material and other issues related to the topic. In a way the designer must to take the place of the learner to feel, act, and find out more about the leaner.