Professional Foundations: Collaborating, Researching, and Networking
This week I wrap up the final week of this segment of my Instructional Design Certification. We covered foundational topics, exploring:
- Learning and Instructional Theories, Instructional Designer Competencies, Current Learning Trends,
- Developing deeper approached to learning: creative thinking, critical thinking and meta-cognition,
- Applied Instructional Design Models and Frameworks to developing course content,
- Explored Communities of Practice (CoP) and Inquiry (CoI), and
- (as if all that wasn’t enough) we developed a concept map resource to help pool all of this knowledge and practice together into a cohesive and informational graphic
Meanwhile, in the background of the week, I’ve been interviewing, and helping a fellow ID professional design their digital portfolio.
My exploration into COPs yielded a couple useful revelations for me. I took this opportunity to reconnect with two communities that I joined years ago, as well as a few new ones. My experience was mixed and I’m actually glad to be reacquainted with the Camtasia Users Group on LinkedIn. I’m just speculating here, but I believe that CoPs that work for me have two important elements:
- They are targeted and geared to a specific interest that I have (rather than a broad swath of subjects), and
- the moderator is engaged and actively sparking conversation/interaction or sharing new tips, tricks, information with the group
Of course, participating in the online certification course with a cohort of ID professionals is another CoP. Through this, we have tackled esoteric and concrete topics in Instructional Design: from perception and goal setting to selecting and evaluating educational tools. I have seen firsthand that they can be excellent resources for faculty as well. In the aftermath of a faculty digital pedagogy workshop that I helped to develop (a few years ago), educators connected online in a blog CoP to discuss their various applications of the available technologies and how they fared in using them. I witnessed a robust conversation for several weeks. But then, as with IDs, the conversation eventually dried up.
CoPs need engaged moderators to give them a poke/prod every now and again.
Communities of Practice in Higher Ed
For Students: An increasing number of professional fields require a portfolio from job-seekers—be they new graduates or seasoned professionals. Starting students on the path to developing a worthwhile, peer-reviewed portfolio is an excellent way to implement a CoP.
At my university our LMS offers an ePortfolio tool that can be assigned to students to complete throughout the course of a semester… peer collaboration and feedback is allowed with this tool, a star-rating system is available in this tool, and it can be embedded in discussions OR it can exist outside of the LMDS—meaning, no need to login to view—this makes it valuable outside of the university walls.
For Educators: These can prove useful for faculty explorers as well. The aim is to find and commune with a CoP that addresses a specific need, and offers a regular—not overwhelming amount of irrelevant information.