Sunday, November 4, 2007

So, Until My Grad Classes Are Finished . . .

. . . this blog may be filled with writing that will make you all insane. Ha! If you decide to give this one a go, wondering if you can figure it out, then I'll give you a hint: ISD stands for Instructional Design System which is the theory about how teaching is supposed to be developed. Let me tell you though, any teacher who spent as many hours doing the ISD preparation for a single hour of classroom instruction like each of us in this class has been required to do would never in a lifetime have lesson plans to take them through one school year.

Rebuttal to Gordon & Zemke

The critics of ISD outline four charges: “ISD is too slow and clumsy to meet today’s training challenges; there’s no “there” there; used as directed, it produces bad solutions; and it clings to the wrong world view.” (Gordon & Zemke, 2000, p. 44) Although there are benefits with ISD, the key to success is when the design process has been cost effective, is completed in an appropriate time frame, and produces hard evidence of successful learning. (Subramony, 2007) In an effort to defend or modify ISD against these charges, several solutions have been offered.

Although the six-step ISD process seems straightforward, some companies and educational institutions become so bogged down that the need for design passes before the solution to performance gaps is discovered: “The slow and clumsy argument doesn’t really indict ISD as a learning system but rather as an administrative system.” (Gordon & Zemke, 2000, p. 47) Therefore, the ISD system itself is not broken; it just needs to be speeded up to become more effective. Robert O. Brinkerhoff and Anne M. Apking describe “an altered design paradigm,” which “mirrors the key elements of the more traditional ISD methods that have stood the test of time,” embedding ISD “into the conceptual framework of the HIL (High Impact Learning) approach, building on what we know about sound instructional design, adding new ideas and methods, and revising others to achieve HIL results.” (Brinkerhoff & Apking, 2001, p.140) Describing this new system, “It is a process that uses rapid prototyping to get an approximation of a solution quickly, then deploys it to its customers to both meet needs and to test it, revamp it, and deploy and test it again, repeatedly.” (Brinkerhoff & Apking, 2001, p. 143) In addition, “Tom Peters, in his . . . handbook The Project 50 (1999), stresses the importance of quick prototyping to the success of any project, noting that it is possible to build and test some piece of any project within a few hours to two or three days. (Brinerhoff & Apking, 2001, p. 143) Christopher Westrup adds “Many see that the interaction of designers and users is a key consideration for the successful development of IS, . . .some of these ideals have been translated into widely used techniques such as prototyping . . .” (Westrup, 1993, p. 8) Using these faster methods will solve the first charge made against the ISD system.

Geary Rummler describes a more effective approach to ISD is “to put together a SWAT team of experienced designers who are quick to see the real problem, who have a repertoire of imaginative solutions, and who can come up with a basic design in three days, not three months.” (Gordon & Zemke, 2000, p. 48) The problem that keeps ISD developers from addressing the substance of the instruction seems to be that too much time is spent on the analysis, but Arias and Clark call for “the front-end analysis phase of the design process to go beyond the traditional instructional needs assessment approach.” (Arias & Clark, 2004, p. 52) Time and money spent in the analysis phase can prevent unnecessary steps or development of unnecessary training. Knowing more about the problem early might solve the suggested problem with substance.

Sivasailam Thiagarajan argues, “The process tends to create boring, cookie-cutter programs geared to the slowest and most ignorant learners in the audience.” (Gordon & Zemke, 2000, p. 51) Westrup counters: “An early criticism of much of ISD theory was that it was based on poor research designs which prevented useful, i.e. replicable results . . . Iven and Olsen (1984, p. 601) reviewed the literature and concluded as follows: ‘The practitioner may have found this discussion disheartening. Not only has empirical research been unable to foresee when and what types of user involvement are appropriate, it has not convincingly demonstrated user involvement contributes to systems success.’” (Westrup, 1993, p. 267) Perhaps the problem lies not in the process, but with the designer for a specific ISD solution. The better one becomes at developing design, the more effective is the product produced.

The final charge states: “The ISD model assumes that a job is a known quantity. It assumes the presence of a master performer who knows how to do the job in the best possible way. It assumes we can derive a set of best-practice procedures from that master performer and then teach them to everybody else.” (Gordon & Zemke, 2000, p. 52) The argument continues, “The core skill becomes problem-solving.” (Gordon & Zemke, 2000, p. 53) In the educational realm, the most significant difficulties with effective ISD could be the unwieldy amount of needed course design and the lack of a team as educators often work in isolation. Cost may also prohibit the effective development and implementation of ISD. Additionally, there is an assumption that the designer is a subject matter expert. Although this may be the case with the classroom teacher, it is often not true in the development of policy, procedures, and training for both education and business settings. As described in an abstract for Said Another Way Subject Matter Experts: Facts or Fiction?: “Subject matter experts (SMEs) can be valuable resources, but there are no standards or criteria for their selection. The temptation to assert one's self as an SME in the absence of actual expertise is great. As a consumer, where does one turn, how does one know who to believe, and where does one place trust? . . . The question, “Is your subject matter expert really an expert? (Lavin, Dreyfus, Slepski & Kasper, 2007, Abstract)

Westrup offers: “To summarize, existing studies of ISD tend to concentrate either on improving techniques or methodologies based on fairly abstract criteria or, when they do represent the practices of ISD, restrict themselves to inadequate techniques such as questionnaires (Cicourel, 1964) or retrospective accounts of ISD processes through periodic interview. Instead, it is suggested that to establish understanding of the use of methodologies and the role of users in this process requires an ethnographic and longitudinal study into the processes of ISD.” (Westrup, 1993, p. 268) Like the ISD process itself, these studies may prove to be too time-consuming, requiring considerable access, and be representative of only one site. Like the critics cited in the Gordon and Zemke article, some experts felt there were an “unwieldy amount of rules and regulations over the proper way to carry out each step of the model,” (Gordon & Zemke, 2000, p. 43), but the suggestions given in this rebuttal might reduce the impact of the complaints to the point where ISD remains a valid and useful tool in instructional design.


Arias, Sonia & Clark, Kevin. (2004). Instructional technologies in developing countries: a contextual analysis approach. TechTrends, 52-55, 70.

Brinkerhoff, Robert O. & Apking, Anne M. (2001). High Impact Learning: Strategies for Leveraging Business Results from Training. New York: Basic Books.

Gordon, J., & Zemke, R. (2000, April). The attack on ISD. Training, 37, 43-53.

Lavin, Roberta P., Dreyfus, Michael, Slepski, Lynn, & Kasper, Christine E. (2007, October) Said Another Way Subject Matter Experts: Facts or Fiction? Nursing Forum, Vol. 42 Issue 4, p189-195, 7p.

Subramony, Dr. Deepak. (2007, September 26). Instructional Systems Design. Lecture Powerpoint, Slide 16.

Westrup, Christopher. (1993). Information systems methodologies in use. Journal of Information Technology. 8, 267-275.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Officially Brain-Dead

I just finished reading over 100 pages of text for my next paper for my graduate class. Now, my brain is officially dead. I have an I.Q. of over 120; I'm an excellent reader; and I could decode every word, but I still feel like I could have done better at reading an astrophysics text than the numerous treatise we were assigned.

Honestly, it's no wonder there is such difference in the quality of education given around the country. Here we have two adult men who have been arguing for over twenty years the validity of media vs teachers in the delivery of material that will cause students to learn. Now I'm supposed to write a paper about it, choosing which one of them is right!

Isn't there something inherently wrong in the fact that I'm counting days until this graduate class is over?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dare I Blow Your Mind?

As some of you know, I'm currently enrolled in graduate classes at Utah State University where I'm working toward a Masters in Education in Instructional Technology. I've already completed my courses for the Library Media Endorsement that accompanies this masters. This term I'm taking classes in Instructional Design, and recently I had to write a research paper for one of my classes. I thought I'd post it here for anyone who dares to read it. I just hope it doesn't blow your mind like it fried mine during the writing process!

The relatively new field of Instructional Technology has no single universally accepted definition. “One type of definition equates instructional technology with a particular set of instructional media, often referred to as audiovisual devices. The other type of definition describes instructional technology as a process often labeled the systems approach process.” (Reiser, 1987, p. 11) Other sources define the field as, “The use of a systematic approach to creating and delivering instruction” (Rosenberg, 1999, p. 27), “a blend of psychology, educational, communications, management, systems theory, and social science” (Shiffman, 1995, pg.132), and the definition prepared by the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) Definitions and Terminology Committee is as follows: “Instructional Technology is the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning.” (Seels & Richey, 1994, pp. 1-9).

According to Dr. Deepak Subramony, (Utah State University, 2007) educational technology “combines and applies instructional, learning, developmental, managerial, and other technologies . . . to the solution of educational problems.” The layperson often confuses the area of study with technology education, which is learning about and operating various forms of technology. This classification is more in line with the instructional media application of audiovisual devices. AECT states, “Educational technology is a complex, integrated process involving people, procedures, ideas, devices, and organization, for analyzing problems, involved in all aspects of human learning.” (AECT, 1977, p. 1) Educational technology, therefore, not only becomes the heart of educational lesson design, but also allows for application in the business world.

One of the earliest fields within educational technology was instructional systems design (ISD), developed by the United States military during World War II. Although several models of instructional development are used in schools today (Essential Elements of Instruction, Collaborative Education, Project-Based Learning, Outcome Based Education) the most common model in instructional technology courses seems to be the ADDIE Model, “analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation.” (Strickland, 2006).

Three main theoretical schools---Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism---are present in both psychology and educational technology literature. The Encyclopedia of Educational Technology places the theories and practices into six categories: “cognition and learning, analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation.” (SDSU Department of Technology, 2007), thus, affirming the use of the ADDIE model by its organization.

Instructional Technology

A subset of Educational Technology, instructional technology is more than exclusively the use of technological hardware in the classroom. The field has expanded, requiring its own subsets including human performance technology for the pure management of the research and application of the new concepts. Because of the labor shortage in the U. S. during World War II, instructional technology came to the forefront as a way to provide methodology for training workers in a systematic and efficient manner. Defined as, “the systemic and systematic application of strategies and techniques derived from behavior and physical sciences concepts and other knowledge to the solution of instructional problems” (University of Wyoming, 2004), instructional technology went beyond theory to the practice of design, development, utilization, management and evaluation of resources and processes for learning.

Performance Technology

Performance Technologies, often referred to as Human Performance Technology, are systems where thinking is applied to human resource activities or “the systematic set of methods, procedures, and strategies for solving human performance problems.” (Talaq & Ahmed, 2004) As an example, the layman might remember seeing the 1950 version of Cheaper by the Dozen based on the book by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, which depicts the life and research of their father, Frank Gilbreth, a pioneer in the field of motion study who often used his family as guinea pigs with amusing and sometimes embarrassing results. As other psychologists such as B.F. Skinner studied the way people learned, educators moved from the simple model of apprenticeship toward programmed instruction. Soon the importance of instructional feedback and reinforcement were noted, ideas were shared, and systematic approaches were created to deliver instruction. These approaches are now known as instructional technology or instructional design systems. “Task analysis became critical as instructional technologists realized the need to identify, before instruction was designed, what they intended to teach people to do.” (Rosenberg, 1999, 27).

Relationship of ET, IT, PT

As one considers the relationship among educational technology, instructional technology, and performance technology, the first apparent similarity is their reliance on the definition of technology. Accepting that the meaning can be something deeper than just the manipulation of devices such as computers, projectors, or audio devices, technology must also include the system or process by which information is learned, then applied in a variety of situations.

Educational technologies may include systems other than those directly related to instruction. Instructor policies and procedures, library media acquisition and availability, and school adopted mission statements are all areas that are important to the educational community, but that are not necessarily taught to students as part of the learning goals.

Educational technology solves educational problems. Instructional technology is a subset of educational technology, meant to solve instructional problems. Going beyond just theory, instructional technology allows the means for educators and those in the business world to study a problem, then craft ways to present information that allows success in not only learning, but also applying information to increase performance quality. As Dr. Subramony explained in class, “Sex education is about attitudes and values, whereas sex instruction is about How-To concepts, principles, and training procedures.” This is where performance technology ties in. Our world is always looking for ways to build the proverbial better mousetrap. The worker who is trained to use information in the most time efficient manner becomes an asset in the workplace.


Despite the narrow view that society has of instructional technology, the study and implementation of design models such as ADDIE can increase proficiency levels for students by giving the instructor more focus and direction when preparing educational materials.


Association for Educational Communications and Technology. (1977). The definition of educational technology: a summary. In The definition of educational technology, (pp. 1-16). Washington, D.C.: AECT.

Gilbreth, Frank B. & Carey, Ernestine Gilbreth. (1948). Cheaper by the Dozen. New York, T.Y. Crowell Co.

Reisner, Robert A. (1987). Instructional technology: a history. In R.M. Gagne (Ed.), Instructional Technology: Foundations (pp. 11-48). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 

Rosenberg, M. J., Coscarelli, W. C., & Hutchinson, C. S. (1999). The origins and evolution of the field. Ch. 2 in Stolovitch & Keeps (Eds.) Handbook of human performance technology, 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

San Diego State University. (2007). Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. Retrieved September 15, 2007, from

Seels, Barbara B. & Richey, Rita C. (1994). Instructional technology: the definition and domains of the field. Washington, D. C.: Association for Educational Communications and Technology.

Shiffman, Shirl S. (1995). Instructional Systems Design: Five Views of the Field. In G.J. Anglin (Ed.), Instructional Technology: Past, Present, and Futurend ed.) (pp. 131-142). Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited. (2

Strickland, A.W. (2006). ADDIE. Idaho State University College of Education Science, Math & Technology Education. Retrieved September 15, 2007, from

Talaq, Jaleel & Ahmed, Pervaiz K. (2004). Why HPT, not TQM? An examination of theHPT concept. Journal of Management Development, Vol. 23 Issue 3, 202 – 218. Retrieved September 15, 2007, from Emerald database.

University of Wyoming (2004). College of Education Department of Adult Learning & Technology. Retrieved September 15, 2007, from

Monday, September 3, 2007

Cleaning House the Clean Sweep Way

Just letting all of you know about my latest national publication.

Visit Desert Saints Magazine at the following link:

Monday, June 25, 2007

Technology of the Future Comes to Today

While I was in Logan for my graduate classes this week, I had the opportunity to visit the Adele & Dale Young Education Technology Center (YETC) on the campus of the Utah State University. The YETC is a resource center for the College of Education and Human Services, houses open-access computer facilities, a K-12 curriculum materials library, a NASA Educator Resource Center, as well as collections of educational technology products.

Our first stop, was a PC computer room where we explored the Teacher Link website. ( This site takes users to resources that teachers can immediately use in their classrooms, but teacher or not, you’ve got to visit the Clip Art section which contains over 1 million free pieces and backgrounds to use in presentations, newsletters, etc. Be sure to visit the NASA link as well where you can see what’s happening at the Space Centers in real time. If you run into any pages that require a password, just contact the YETC center or email and they can help you.

Next we visited the Mac computer center. I used to use a Mac, but so many educational programs were not compatible all those years ago when I bought my first computer, so I abandoned the system I loved. Now I may go back! These computers read both Mac and PC programs, and the programs are easy to use. In less than 5 minutes, I learned how to use iMovie and made a little film of myself, using the built in camera and music tracks.

Our third computer room took us back to PCs where we learned about Vegas Movie Maker, a professional quality editing system that lets budding film makers produce independent movies on DVD. One of the latest things in computer use that they demonstrated is to have two monitors connected to your computer so that you can work in several programs at once without needing to switch from tab to tab.

All of this technology surrounding me made me feel like I was on the set of Star Trek, but it was also exciting to learn about the capabilities that home computer systems can have today. Now I want to go spend a few hours learning how to use some of these new programs so that I can introduce them to my students not too long into the future.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Making Movies

Summer vacation means making movies around my house. My fourteen-year-old son Chan has wanted to be a film director since—well—forever! From his early forays into acting out Spider-Man to making every stick in the backyard into a light saber, Chan has been working on the choreography of his dream. His movies and ideas are much more sophisticated now than they were back then, and he is making progress that could someday make him a star.

Chan watches movies over and over, not just for a story, but to see how lighting, camera angles, and action sequences blend together with soundtracks, visual nuance, and subplots to build a mood. He is a connoisseur of film who loves not only contemporary film, but classics as well.

His favorite genres are Westerns, Action/Adventure, and movies that feature Super-Heroes, like Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, Fantastic Four, and X-Men. John Wayne, Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood, Viggo Mortensen, Ewan McGregor, Orlando Bloom, and Johnny Depp are regularly heard coming from our big screen TV. Late-night film festival feature the entire series of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Carribean, Back to the Future, and The Lord of the Rings.

For his own filming, Chan is currently directing and starring in three major film projects—two action/adventure and one a sci-fi..Kids I’ve never seen before flock into our home to work on sets that have grown in our garage, backyard, or the neighbor’s unfinished basement. Every day Chan comes to me to talk over a new script idea.

In today’s world of technology, all it takes is a digital camera, a computer, and a hosting server, and within no time, a movie is born. This simple set-up is a start for kids like Chan, who could someday take over the theaters of the world.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Rated “R”

One of my students came to me at the end of the school year, absolutely horrified. “Mrs. Staheli, I tried to log onto your podcast at school, and I couldn’t. The message said your podcast was rated R.”

After explaining to him that the R-rating meant simply ‘Restricted’ by our district’s filter, I assured the student that the content of the podcast was completely safe, although I did get a big chuckle out of informing LDS author Jeff Savage that his interview was R-rated.

I’ve had the R rating show up on my school filter before. They system didn’t used to let students even see the blog where the podcast is located. All it took to open that up to my class was an e-mail to the district system administrator, giving them the blog location and purpose. A couple of days later, the blog was accessible every time. I’m sure the same will be true of the podcasts once I send off a message from school.

When you are working with the internet, don’t assume that the computer you are on is filter free, and don’t assume that a filter means the material is forever unreachable. Read the error messages and see if your system administrator can open up your access to the site that is rated R, especially if it’s just the resource your students need.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ripping Music

In my quest to learn everything I can about technology before I move into a school library and have to look like I actually understand what the students are talking about, I’ve added a new talent to my repertoire: I’ve learned how to rip a CD.

Now I know, that doesn’t sound like an easy task. Those silver disks break easy when you smash them against something or step on one with your heel, but to actually be able to rip one with your bare hands? Impossible!

Of course, that’s not at all what it means to rip a CD. Silly me!

To rip a CD means simply to transfer the contents—usually music—from the CD onto your computer files for the purpose of listening to them while you work or so you can load them onto your MP3 player. Since an MP3 will hold a lot more music than a CD will, this transfer allows you to listen to music for a longer time without the interruption of changing the CD.

I won’t go into the details of how to rip a CD. You can find instructions on the internet for your own system. My purpose here is to say, if I can do it, anyone can! Whoever thought a woman who once listened 78 rpm records, reel-to-reel tapes, and had a 8-Track player in her stereo could advance this far into understand the modern world of audio?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

iTunes and American Idol

I am a huge fan of American Idol. Since Season 2, I’ve bought the compilation CD and many of the CDs the finalists have produced.

So this year, I was bugged that AI wasn’t releasing a compilation. How dare they? I wanted my favorites and I wanted them now!

And today, that’s exactly what I got. I celebrated a birthday two weeks ago and my husband bought me an iPod. Today I learned to download music, and I hit the American Idol website first thing, and I’m here to tell you, this is better than any compilation CD.

Not only can I have studio versions of the songs I loved, but I can pick and choose which artists I want—Sorry, Sanjaya. I skipped your tracks.—and I can have more than one song by the performers I most like.

Next stop, iTunes. Welcome to the world of technology!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Adding Tags or Labels to Blogs and Podcasts

I’ve recently attended two technology conferences, and at both of them participants were taught about the importance of using tags, sometimes known as labels.

Tags allow visitors to find your entries more easily. Let’s say you were interested in the reality television show, American Idol. A search on Google will lead you to nearly 24 millions hits, including the connection for the official A.I. site, a daunting task to search through even a fraction of those for the information you might need.

At the top of the Google task bar, click on More, choose blogs and re-enter your search keywords. Although 623,000 hits now appear, you’ll also notice the toolbar down the left side of the screen which lets you to sort entries for the most recent postings, as recent as 2 minutes ago as I write.

Back at Google, a click on Even More will take you to more options for searching including images, videos, and books. Add the word podcasts to the search line, and additional links will be found for you.

Adding labels to a blog page provide another service to readers. Each label not only identifies the subject covered in the entries, but it also tells readers how many blogs contain information of that topic. A click on one of these labels takes readers directly to the topics they are interested in reading. For instance, if you visit and click on the label of my name, you’ll be taken directly to the entries I have made since this blog began.

Explore your favorite blog and podcast sites. Do the authors use tags or labels? Do these labels help you find entries that are of interest to you? How might you use tags and labels on your own blogs and podcasts, either now or in the future? How do you think they will become valuable to you?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Technology is King!

I've had a great time this week learning how to make podcasts, and experimenting with ways to improve my blog, use new programs, and advertise what I'm doing.

I hope you'll visit to read about al that I've learned, but here's a link to the first episode os "The Author's Corner" featuring an interview with Jeff Savage.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Podcasting class reflection

Today I recorded my portion of an interview for my new series, The Author's Corner. I used Audacity to edit the files and add music, making my portion of the first episode complete. I've been trying all week to get Jeff to finish the responses, but he hasn't yet. I'll keep after him, though!

Once I got my part done, I sent it to (who honestly hated me for awhile today!) then I wrote a new blog entry and posted the file.
I also set up my podcast to feed to my second blog files because I may end up with different listeners for each file.

This is where the rubber meets the road, as the saying goes. Will I be able to keep track of all this once I go home? Will I be able to explain it to people who will ask me--I know my writer friends will because we are already playing with adding new technology feeds to the blogs we already have.

In any case, this has been a great experience. I had fun playing with all of this at home, and I can't wait to get home and work on it more. (And, to get Jeff to finish his interview!)


The Author's Corner - Jeffrey S. Savage

The Author's Corner, hosted by Lu Ann Staheli, brings interviews with best-selling authors directly to you.

Today's guest is Jeffrey S. Savage, author of Cutting Edge, Into the Fire, and the Shandra Covington series, including House of Secrets and Dead on Arrival.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Early Technology Memories

Technology changes every day. Never was this more evident than when a group of educators discussed their earliest memories of using a computer. If you'd like to know more, listen to these messages from 6 Utah educators.

Utah Educators Learn Podcasting and Blogging Skills as they recall their early memories of technology.