Instructional Design & Development

I have specialized in learning analytics, performance management, instructional design, the use of social media in learning, and universal instructional design principles.  I also gained a solid foundation in strategic planning, evaluation, and change management.  

In my MEd course Trends and Issues in Instructional Design, we were asked to select an instructional design model and make a series of recommendations to the design of a course.  My group selected the 4C/ID model and an introductory computer science course. I’ve included a visual description of the model and a list of recommendations we generated for that course.

Approximately one year after completing that course at work, we needed to transform a new hire curriculum based on some promising results a trainer had had.

The challenge was that no one had any good ideas about how to scale that success for a global program. I right away recognized many similarities between this concept and the 4C/ID model, and found a path forward  – you might notice some similarities with the assignment from MDDE 619.

The course work gave me a strong foundation in the theory that I would have never acquired at work. It allowed me to speak with enough confidence about how people learn and alternatives to the ADDIE model for us to forge ahead with this project.

At the same time, my fast-paced workplace gave me the opportunity to experience first-hand the complexities involved in the end-to-end development of a transformed curriculum.

(Don’t tell anyone that I really did not know if this would really work and had never managed a project of this magnitude when we started.)

I’ve included the MDDE 619 Assignment that started it all, as well as a proposal developed for a wealth management company to take a similar approach to their training. Although that project did not move forward, it does illustrate how a scenario-based approach can be adapted to teach diverse skills.

File(s) to Download



In Theory… 4C/ID Model

(Source: Van Merriënboer, Clark, and de Croock, 2002)


Given the analysis of COMP 268 using the 4C/ID Model we have developed a list of 11 course redesign recommendations.  The first nine recommendations are directly related to the areas of weakness identified in the previous section.  The final two recommendations, while not directly related to the weaknesses identified, involve adjustments required to realign course evaluation and student assessment as a result of the above changes.  Our recommendations include:

  1.  Developing a sequence of learning tasks in a simulated environment that provide whole-task practice as the backbone of the course;
  2. The introduction of “pair programming”;
  3. Replacing highly specific objectives with a single integrated learning goal for each unit;
  4.  Using mathemagenic models for variable whole-task practice to enhance far transfer;
  5. Introducing a final group project intended to assess the ability of learners to address an unfamiliar situation using general, abstract knowledge;
  6. Integrating supportive information into whole-task sequenced tasks.
  7. Using reflective journaling and an “Experts Exchange” as ways to assist students in the development metacognitive skills and integration of supportive information;
  8. Including just-in-time, step-by-step job aids when new recurrent procedures are introduced;
  9. Using part-task practice only after the constituent skill has been introduced in a whole-task problem, and only when required to develop automaticity;
  10. Adjusting student assessment to take into account new course elements
  11. Introducing a more robust course evaluation process in order to assess how the above recommendations are improving learning in COMP 268.

In practice… Designing Scenario-Based Training

 What we did in SBT

Starting with data gathered from our Quality team, we redesigned the entire curriculum to be scenario-based; from the first day of training, learners were practicing required skills in the context of the whole task. Using a constructivist approach, the intention throughout training is to provide learners an opportunity to not only learn specifc tasks and processes, but to also develop the critical thinking skills required to adjust a constantly changing business environment. To design this training we:

  1.  Generated a list of the top 60 call drivers, validating them and sequencing them as best as possible from simple to complex that provide whole-task practice as the backbone of the course
  2. Followed a progression from demonstrated  to guided and practiced scenarios that both provide trainees opportunities to practice and provide feedback to others
  3. Removed highly specific objectives from all trainee materials in order  to inject both an element of surprise and to keep the focus on the overall learning goal: customer service excellence
  4. Used a variety of call types that allow for variation in practice whileperforming whole tasks
  5. Use evaluated mock calls in order to assess the ability of learners to address an unfamiliar situation using their tools and processes
  6. Integrated breakout sessions throughout each of the scenarios that provide JIT support within the whole-task sequenced tasks.
  7. Used metrics-focused debriefs and class discussion on potential ways to improve the tools for each flow as ways to assist students in the development metacognitive skills and emphasize their role in ensuring continuous improvement within the business
  8. Created flip chart process lists and job aids each time a new recurrent procedure was introduced
  9. Provided additional part-task practice with soft skills or tools practice after the skill had been introduced in a scenario
  10. Added module-end assessments in order for both trainees and trainers to better assess performance during training and replaced knowledge/recall questions with performance and process based questions