Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Top 10 Resources on Instructional Design: Basics and More

I recently read a blog post by Janet Clarey highlighting the need to go back to the basics.

These 'basics' are different for everyone. But like all subjects and bodies of knowledge, there are a few foundational concepts that have been identified and acknowledged as such. Without knowing and understanding these basics, we can't claim to be successfully practicing our subject - the subject of instructional design.

No sooner did I tell Janet that I'd like to contribute to an elearning site on the basics, I encountered a query (not the first). I am posting parts of the query (and I am sure my dear friend & colleague will not mind me doing so!)

"…she doesn't have an ID background...are there any websites or books that she could read for guidance and basically on how to get started...can you suggest some sites or books that may be good with fundamentals…"

And so begins the struggle of a first-time instructional designer.

For my friend and many others out there who have often called and written to me asking about good websites and books for learning the basics of Instructional Design AND for others who don't know me but are no less interested in a good list of resources… well, here's my top 10!

This list is a combination of books and sites that offer theory, models, examples, and mentors!

My list of top 10 resources on Instructional Design - basics and more:

1. What Everybody Ought to Know About Instructional Design - Tom Kuhlmann's articulation of the importance of instructional design/role of an instructional designer - simply superb! I have often used this video and the associated text when conducting training on ID basics for new hires in the field.

2. The Instructional Design Knowledgebase - Retrieved August 03, 2010 from Nada Dabbagh's Homepage, George Mason University, Instructional Technology Program. - An excellent and very comprehensive site that talks all about instructional design and the ISD Process. A good place to start with the basics and then continue learning. Infact, if there was one single resource that I had to choose - it would be this one!

3. Instructional Systems Design (ISD) - An excellent resource to understand the ISD process, ADDIE Model or Systems Approach to Training (SAT).

4. ID Models - Use this site to learn about design, instructional design, and models of instructional design.

5. Instructional Design & Learning Theory - Refer to this white paper to learn more about the three basic theories of learning. Trust me, you will keep coming back to this resource. As you progress in your field and gain experience, the words will offer deeper meanings.

6. Essential Reading for Instructional Design - Well, the list of books recommened by Cammy Bean should fit into the learning library of any instructional designer - new and experienced.

7. Top-10 Books on ID - A site that lists the top 10 ID books recommended by eminent scholars, theorists, and practitioners in instructional design and technology. Specific books are repeatedly nominated - those are the foundational ones.

8. The 60 Minutes Masters - A free course designed by Clive Shepherd and his team to train Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in Instructional Design. But really, the basics here are applicable for all roles involved in the process.

9. Top E-learning Blogs of 2009 - An excellent resource that gives a list of top blogs by some exceptional people. Start reading and following these blogs to keep learning.

10. Elearning Learning - A community collecting and organizing the best information on the web about eLearning.

Having shared the list above, I must add that I don't have any formal education in instructional design. Also, I don't claim to be an expert who knows it all. So, the list above is by no means the most comprehensive.
But I do know that these sites have been useful and helpful to me. After practicing instructional design for 11 years, I often go back to these basics. Everything I know and have gathered is because I teach others (and teaching is the best learning activity!) and I try to practice and do what I learn.

So, for all you budding instructional designers - you won't learn much just by reading. Find opportunities to apply and practice what you have learnt. Learn by doing.

PS: For my readers - If you have any websites/books/blogs/other resources that have been useful for you in your journey of all things teaching/learning/instructional design, I'd be happy to add the same to my list!