M.S. in Learning Design and Technology

I earned my M.S. in Learning Design and Technology at University of Maryland Global Campus in December of 2019. In the program I explored how to use emerging technologies, learning analytics, and learning theory to design adaptive and personalized online learning experiences. The program emphasizes eight core competencies in order to promote a holistic learning experience.

Core Competencies

It is important to convey your ideas clearly both in written and verbal communication. An example of something I developed that demonstrates my mastery of this competency is my paper on “An Agile Approach to Learning Design”. In this paper I explore how the agile approach, which is a common approach for developing software, could be applied to learning design. In doing so, I had to clearly convey my research so that others can learn how to apply this approach to their learning design needs if they so desire.

Critical Thinking and Analysis
Being able to analyze and evaluate information through a critical lens is essential. The poster I created about The Future of Learning Design demonstrates my mastery of this competency. The goal of the poster was to develop my own learning framework. In order to do this I had to explore several areas of learning design and chose ones that could be tied together cohesively. I also had to find tools that could be used to support my learning framework.

The Future of Learning Design Poster

Quantitative Reasoning
It is crucial to be able to work with mathematical data and visualize the data in a way that makes it easy for others to understand. One project I worked on that demonstrates my mastery of this competency was my Research Analysis Presentation. For that project, I had to conduct a survey and then create a presentation including data visualizations to explain the results. I chose to conduct my survey on the topic of Student Engagement to learn more about the best ways to keep learners engaged.

Leadership, Facilitation, and Collaboration
Instructional designers often need to work with colleagues and subject matter experts when developing courses. For this reason, communication and leaderships skills are imperative to foster effective collaboration. The proposal presentation I created with my partner for the course module we developed about container farming demonstrates my mastery of this competency. We each took on leadership roles for different aspects of the video. In the end, we had to collaborate and bring our individual parts together to form a cohesive presentation for the client.

Learning Design
Learning theories and instructional design models are the foundation of instructional design. It is vital to be able to apply them to different situations in order to solve instructional problems and effectively teach a variety of concepts. The pre-test I created for the course module my partner and I developed about container farming demonstrates my mastery of this competency. I created a drag-and-drop activity for the pre-test in order to let students students see what they already knew about container farming (this specific lesson was about growing blueberries in containers). This served as an interactive way to introduce students to the lesson and prepare them for what was to come.

You have just purchased a blueberry bush and need to transplant it to its permanent container. Put all the items you will need to accomplish this in the box on the right.

Learning Analytics
It is useful to collect feedback from learning experiences and use the data from that feedback to optimize said learning experiences in order to facilitate continuous improvement. My paper on “The Value of Analytics for Learning Design” demonstrates my mastery of this competency. In the paper, I reflect on the importance of learning analytics and explain how analytics can be useful to different people in within the education hierarchy. I also review the analytics tools available in popular LMSs.

Technology and Media
Technology enables instructional designers to create interactive and engaging learning experiences. An example of my mastery of this competency can be seen in the virtual tour of a blueberry farm that I developed. The tour was created using Google Tour Creator and is meant to be viewed using a Google Cardboard headset with a smartphone. It is meant to serve as a virtual field trip and was part of an online course in which taking all the students to an actual blueberry farm would be impractical. The tour has various points of interest and narration to help students learn about all the important areas of a blueberry farm. It also has ambient noise in order to make the experience more immersive. The narration and ambient noise can be turned on using the settings gear in the upper right corner.

Project Management
As an instructional designer, failure to manage budget, stakeholder needs, and the project schedule could lead to missed deliverables and unhappy clients. The Project Management Plan I wrote with my partner for the course module we developed on container farming demonstrates my mastery of this competency. In our Project Management Plan, we ensured that all the details of the project were fully outlined and explained. This allowed us to have something to refer back to during the project if we had any questions about the project requirements or the client’s needs.

Complete Courses/Modules

  • Programming with JavaScript – This module is intended to be part of the onboarding training for a front end developer. It contains three levels of training with each level covering progressively more advanced JavaScript-related topics. The final level covers how to use the Angular framework to build web applications. There are two versions of each level, one with text-based content and one with video-based content in order to cater to different learning styles. The module features adaptive learning using Mastery Paths in Canvas. It starts with a pre-test and the learner’s score on the pre-test determines which level they start at. Then as they work through the levels, they have the opportunity to skip a level if their score exceeds a certain threshold. Note: You may need to create a free Canvas account and login to access certain features such as assessments.
  • Growing Blueberries in Containers – This module was developed with a partner for my advanced practicum. It was intended to be part of a larger agricultural education curriculum for 5th grades. It focuses on container farming by exploring how to grow blueberries in containers. The module contains a lot of interactive activities including a virtual tour of a blueberry farm and drag-and-drop activities. The module ends with a final quiz to assess the learner’s mastery of the learning objectives. Note: You may need to create a free Canvas account and login to access certain features such as assessments.

Capstone Project

As part of the final seminar course for my degree, I completed a consultancy project with WorkWave in which I developed training materials for their PestPac Support Training Program. I mainly created tutorial videos using Camtasia to help new-hires learn how to use WorkWave’s product called PestPac so that they could provide support for customers. I went through the entire learning design process for this project following the ADDIE framework. For each video, I started by creating a storyboard and then I recorded and edited the video myself. Each video I created had to pass a through review by an SME. I am still working with WorkWave to determine the best way to share the work I did for my capstone while protecting their intellectual property, but I hope to be able do so soon.