Oh, the agony of the first weeks of design.  It’s not that I don’t appreciate the importance of analysis; I can hardly bear the wait for The Idea to hit that will shape the design of my project this semester.  I have some ideas, but outside my head I’m not sure how they’ll take shape.  I’m also hoping to get an overview of the content of my course for more inspiration.  I don’t think I need it to create my prototype, though.  I think I’m just looking forward to knowing more.

Perhaps this is the Instructional Engineer in me, looking for those problem specifications to zero in on my “single solution.”  At least, that’s how I analyzed myself after reading Hokanson and Miller (2009) and discussing the article in last week’s class.  Sure, I have the Big, Bad, Engineering Degree.  I must be an engineer.  I’ve been having second thoughts, though.  If I’m purely an engineer, well…why am I no longer an engineer?  In other words, what is that part of my personality that drew me to teaching and then to instructional design?

After reading Tripp and Bichelmeyer (1990), I revisited Hokanson and Miller to explore this question.  At the risk of a little too much navel gazing in this design journal entry, I’ll try to be brief.  I now see another side to my approach for instructional design.  As I think about my studio projects so far, I do tend to approach them more from the perspective of the Instructional Craftsperson, seeking “quality both in aesthetic and technical terms” (Hokanson and Miller, 2009).  I tend to become personally engaged with my projects in a way that is certainly not typical of an engineer.  Ever the Gemini, once again I have a certain duality.  (Although, I must confess, the engineer in me wants to know whether their description quoted above isn’t just fancy talk for “perfectionist.”)


In light of my current focus on creating a prototype for my client, I thought this was the perfect time to read Tripp and Bichelmeyer (1990).  Lo and behold, this duo also included a comparison between the proverbial engineer (software) and the designer (instructional).  In their analysis, math appears.  They describe the difference between software and instructional design is that software designers “deal with systems based on mathematical logic” while instructional designers focus on “systems based on human cognition, which entail more uncertainty and accept more ambiguity” (1990, p. 34).

I suspect one thing that might be slowing me down at this point is the engineer misconception that there is that one Solution that I need to find.  Tripp and Bichelmeyer suggest creating “alternate, even contradictory designs” (1990, p. 37). I love that idea!  So if I present my crazy Florence Nightingale concept and the client (not to mention Dr. Kopcha) thinks it’s crazy, it will only be one of two or three possibilities.  This seems most fitting for instruction since “there is no one ‘right’ way for learners or designers to acquire knowledge” (p. 41).   To prime the pump, so to speak, I spent quite some time in the past few days looking at sample e-Learning modules from a variety of tools.

Questions I Sent to my Client

  1. Who would be my main audience – home health and hospice care workers/clinicians or a more general audience?
  2. What problem is going on in home health/hospice that would necessitate this training?
  3. What programs currently exist for this audience and topic?
  4. I might be able to arrange to talk with a few people in the field – would this be valuable?
  5. Can you provide samples and/or templates of storyboards or similar tools you use at this stage?  I might weave something like that into a prototype.

The Tool du Jour

StorylineSince my meeting with Lu Post, I downloaded Articulate Storyline as well as the exercise files for the one course available on lynda.com.  I’ve also explored the Articulate community which will provide even more resources.  From what I’ve seen so far, I’m excited to explore how Storyline differs from Captivate.  I’ve noticed Storyline courses are organized by “scenes” which can be connected.  I could start with a scene for an introduction to grab attention, another scene for the first scenario and concept, etc.  The Story view reveals the outline form of the project making the branching clearly visible.

Quick Internship Update

Lu Post and I have laid out a schedule with the hopes of completing my LMS work in September.  Unfortunately, she had to reschedule Monday’s start date to tomorrow (Wednesday) due to a family medical situation.  Instead, I’m focusing on learning Articulate and coming up with ideas for my project.


Hokanson, B., & Miller, C. (2009). Role-based design: A contemporary framework for innovation and creativity in instructional design. Educational Technology49(2), 21-28.

Tripp, S., & Bichelmeyer, B. (1990). Rapid prototyping: An alternative instructional design strategy. Educational Technology Research & Development, 38(1), 31-44.