Catalyst Intern Hones Instructional Design Skills

Catalyst Intern Hones Instructional Design Skills

By Diane Fluin


Exposure to all Phases of the Instructional Design Process
For the last four months, I experienced the life of an instructional designer! After more than 20 years of technical writing, I wanted to try my hand at the actual development of training products. As an intern at Catalyst, I participated in and witnessed the evolution of an instructor-led training curriculum for all nurses in a Minnesota-based senior living organization. This internship afforded me the time and exposure to all phases of the instructional design process. Please read on to learn more about my internship.Who is ADDIE?
To prepare for this journey, my mentor Nancy Weiss walked me through the ADDIE model of instructional design. To start, she gave me a primer on the analyses she completes with the client and the questions she asks about the content, culture, technology, and audience groups. Next, she explained the Design phase, which results in a “detailed design document (DDD),” or what we called our course blueprint. The DDD provides key details on, among other things, the course’s purpose, prerequisites,learning objectives, lesson names and content, and testing considerations. Finally, Nancy explained how, in the Development phase, she first creates the instructor guide using the DDD, and after the client approves it, she develops the participant guide, presentation slides, and other reference material. While my internship ended after we completed of these materials, Nancy explained that she will later complete the Implementation phase of the pilot and then finally conduct an Evaluation of the course to capture needed improvements before rolling it out for all nurses across the organization.Gagne’s Events as Guidelines
During each phase of the project, I helped form the deliverables, and learned even more instructional design theory, like Gagne’s Events of Instruction. If followed correctly, the Events ensure that participants are prepared for learning, taught with appropriate methods, given the right amount of practice, and tested to ensure they can demonstrate, apply, or perform new skills, knowledge or abilities. I am very grateful to Nancy and Catalyst for the valuable opportunity to see the instructional design process first hand and participate in this module from start to finish. I learned a lot about the process, got some great hands-on experience and even had some fun along the way.

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