• Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
    Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
    by David Allen
  • Preparing Instructional Objectives: A Critical Tool in the Development of Effective Instruction
    Preparing Instructional Objectives: A Critical Tool in the Development of Effective Instruction
    by Robert F. Mager
  • The Perfect Puppy: How to Choose Your Dog by Its Behavior
    The Perfect Puppy: How to Choose Your Dog by Its Behavior
    by Benjamin L. Hart, Lynette A. Hart

    This book includes super helpful graphs describing 56 common dog breeds in terms of 13 traits, including playfulness.

  • Mother Knows Best: The Natural Way to Train Your Dog
    Mother Knows Best: The Natural Way to Train Your Dog
    by Carol Lea Benjamin

    My favorite book on dog training.

Thoughts on instructional design, my dog, and life

Entries in stuck (2)

Tuesday
Jan012019

Endless Rewriting

You may have noticed I haven’t published a new post in a while. What happened?

I was writing a blog post on how to adopt an orchid plant. I researched, rewrote, researched, rewrote. Weeks, then months, went by without publishing anything. Recriminations abounded. Blog posts are supposed to be more frequent and less time consuming.

I was stuck.

Here it is over two years later and I’ve picked up my blogging notebook. Reading over the last draft of the orchid article, I’m struck by how much work I put into it, and how much better it is than how my memory branded it.

What have I learned from this experience?

  1. Pay attention to that small quiet voice that tells you you’re stuck.
  2. When you’re stuck, force yourself to set the piece aside.
    That other voice, the one that urges you to check just one more thing, isn’t a friend. You can’t climb out of the hole. Instead, transport yourself to another place for a while. When you come back, the hole is much shallower, maybe even astonishingly so.
Monday
Feb222016

Getting Unstuck

Mager's The Performance SystemWhen I look at the tasks I brainstormed while writing about enticing teenagers, I feel stuck. That’s when I reach for the instructional design job aids I keep in my planner: Mager’s The Performance System, and Practical Management’s Design Sequence. Design Sequence job aid

Now, I can start to extract order from chaos. My list goes from this:

  • How do you make a class on managing your money exciting to a teenager?
  • Change the course name
  • Consider a window shopping field trip
  • Make sure students have money and some sort of bank account
  • Break down main learning objectives/draw skills hierarchy
  • Fill out a final student performance worksheet

To this:

Brainstormed List Organized List
How do you make a class on managing your money exciting to such a teenager? Determine/test relevance
i.e., analysis: target population
Change the course name Experiment/test course name
i.e., design/development: try out/revise
Consider a window shopping field trip Get as close to real life tasks as possible
i.e., analysis: task
Make sure students have money and some sort of bank account Determine prerequisites
i.e., design/development: describe learning environment
Break down main learning objectives/draw skills hierarchy Determine learning objectives
i.e., design/development: derive instructional outcomes

Draft skills hierarchy
i.e., analysis: task

Fill out a final student performance worksheet Complete Final Student Performance worksheet
i.e., analysis: performance, content

From this, I can tell that my next actions should be:

  1. Do a target population analysis
  2. Do a task analysis
  3. Draft a skills hierarchy
  4. Do performance & content analyses, document on Final Student Performance worksheet
  5. Derive instructional outcomes
  6. Describe the learning environment
  7. Try out/revise the course name

(That is, analysis tasks, then design tasks, then development tasks, etc.)

Of course, I’ve found that committing to more than about three tasks doesn’t make sense because so many things change in the course of time and/or completing the earlier tasks, but at least having gone through this process, I feel confident I’m working on the best three tasks.