My professional journey has certainly been one that has traveled down a winding, some would say perilous, path. From a liberal arts degree in theatre to a Masters in Curriculum & Instruction. From waiting tables, to teaching AP English, to Innovation Specialist, librarian and tech integrator, to PhD student and Instructional Technologist – I have definitely been one of those Robert Frost had in mind when he penned his famous poem about the road less travelled.
But through it all has been a common thread, holding everything together around a thirst for learning. What I have discovered most recently, however, is that my greatest passion lies in helping others to best disseminate their own considerable passions and knowledge. Being able to share the Guided Inquiry Design (GID) framework as a pedagogical cornerstone is something that will forever be an emphasis in my instructional design.
My biggest transition has been from K-12 education to the world of higher-ed. It has definitely been a challenge to transfer my focus from the secondary classroom to the college campus. But, as my concentration has shifted, I have become aware of an exciting new field: one in which GID is desperately needed in order to ensure student engagement and presence in the learning experience.
As technology continues to infiltrate education at every level, Learning Management Systems (LMSs) are matriculating from higher-ed into K-12 classrooms. Full-fledged LMSs, such as Moodle, are finding their way into classrooms. Other LMS solutions, such as EdModo, Google Classroom, EduBlogs, and soon Microsoft, among others, are used by teachers everywhere. Online education is not limited to virtual classrooms or Massive Open Online Courses. In higher education, Blackboard, Canvas, D2L, and many other LMSs are beginning to enhance the traditional face-to-face experience as well as hybrid and online learning environments.
However, in reviewing a recent EDUCAUSE article, “What’s Next for the LMS?,” it is clear that “the LMS has been highly successful in enabling the administration of learning but less so in enabling learning itself.” It seems that, for the most part, these systems have only contributed indirectly to the learning process. “Initial LMS designs have been both course and instructor-centric, which is consonant with the way higher education viewed teaching and learning through the 1990s.”
Without going into too much detail, the EDUCAUSE authors explain that what is next for the LMS is what they term the Next Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE). NGDLEs, they argue, need to be more student-focused. They need to be easily integrated with a variety of learning tools. Personalization should be central to the design. They must allow for extensive learning analytics. Students should be able to collaborate and move easily between private and public digital spaces. And, they should be fundamentally easy to use.
Moving forward, I am in the beginning stages of studying learning systems such as the LMS or NGDLE. In my opinion, GID needs to be central to the design of these systems if we are to engage learners, whether online or face to face.
In my PhD research, I will be studying the interplay of information systems and information and learning theories as well as traditional education theories. I am excited to see where this journey takes me; and, although I am moving out of the K-12 teaching realm, I am confident that my research will be beneficial to all who teach and inspire students.
So, in a sense, this is not an epilogue, but an interlude to the second volume in my story, the furtherance of my passion for teaching and learning, with Guided Inquiry Design playing a prominent role in the development and practice of instructional technology and design.
I have enjoyed being a part of the #52GID community! I look forward to hearing of many more exciting successes from passionate educators who discover and use GID.