Layers & Last Lectures

I walked into my introduction to instructional design class on Wednesday expecting a lecture on instructional systems design. I had gotten to the point in the semester where I was worn out and although I have loved my first semester of graduate school, it has chewed me up and spit me out in the best way possible. I thought I was going to sit through another lecture on a instructional design models and walk out no different than I walked in. Although not the best attitude to have, we have all been there.

I got to class and we started workshopping some of our ISD projects and after about an hour, we stopped and just decided to talk about design. My instructor, Andy Gibbons, an instructional design guru and major proponent of the layers theory of instructional design, did something so beautiful and shifted our class lesson on design models to what it means to be a designer, an educator, and human being.

I recently read an article by Russ Osguthorpe & others on the moral foundations of instructional design. I got so wrapped up in how to design effectively that I think I forgot to account for how important the teaching and learning we’re designing for truly is. In the article, they quote Fenstermacher (1990) asserting that,

what makes teaching a moral endeavor is that it is, quite centrally, human action undertaken in regard to other human beings. Thus, matters of what is fair, right, just, and virtuous are always present” (p. 133).

We are dealing with human beings! It’s so easy for me to remember this when I’m hanging out with high schoolers all day and planning a lesson for them, but I think I forget this sometimes when I’m designing instruction at a distance from the teaching and learning. Andy really hit home what and who we’re designing for.

He reminded me that teaching is about benefiting the lives of those being taught, that instruction is a moral endeavor, that design is about so much more than making a task analysis, and that the purpose of teaching and learning is that we are all edified together, teacher and student alike.


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