As a student in the Master’s in Education – Training and Development Program at North Carolina State University, I completed several projects and papers, many of which are displayed in this portfolio. As I reflect upon my coursework, I have realized that these projects and papers could be grouped into themes. These themes include culture and diversity, ethics, instructional strategies, needs assessment and task analysis, and social change. Several theorists I studied during the program offer insight into these themes.
Culture and Diversity
Russ-Eft, Preskill, Morrison, Ross and Kemp all believe that culture has a significant impact on instructional design. According to Russ-Eft and Preskill (2005), we must display cultural competence, which they define as “the ability to effectively operate in different cultures” (p.54) in the instructional design process. Morrison, Ross, and Kemp (2007) stress that as instructional designers, we must consider culture in the instructional design process because “learner groups may include members of ethnic cultures with backgrounds and behaviors that differ markedly from those of the majority of learners or trainees” (p.59).
Hatcher (2002) states that “companies without a moral compass will be left adrift in a sea of organizations charting an ethical course” (p.3), and argues that “with globalization, high-speed technological changes, wildly fluctuating economies, a changing workforce, an unstable environmental climate, and erratic politics, corporate ethics and social responsibility are needed now more than ever before” (p.7). A firm grasp of ethics is a critical component of my position as the Finance Training Specialist and CPE Program Manager at the University of Colorado, Office of University Controller, as I design and deliver Continuing Professional Education (CPE) courses on ethics.
This portfolio also contains papers that demonstrate the use of two different instructional strategies; role-playing and using social media. Mackeracker and Silberman discuss items to consider in selecting the appropriate instructional strategy, particularly, characteristics of adult learners. Mackeracker (2004) describes a common characteristic of adult learners as being self-directed (p.44), therefore, we must select instructional strategies that allow for self-direction from adult learners, such as the use of social media. Mackeracker (2004) also states that “the majority of adults live in contexts where they must apply what they have learned in practical situations” (p.14). Silberman would then argue that an instructional strategy for adults to apply what they have learned in practical situations would be role-playing, as part of the premise of active training, which “promotes learning by doing”. Role-playing, according to Silberman (2006), is an interaction involving realistic behavior under artificial conditions.
Needs Assessment and Task Analysis
I have included an example of both a needs assessment and a task analysis in this portfolio. Swanson, Morrison, Ross and Kemp all discuss the importance of needs assessment and task analysis to the instructional design process, and they also discuss the various data collection methods, such as interviews, surveys, and a review of organizational records, used to complete the needs assessment and task analysis. Morrison, Ross, and Kemp (2007) describe a needs assessment as being used to identify gaps in performance, and then determining if the gap is worth addressing through an intervention (p.32). They also categorize the types of needs assessments as normative, comparative, felt, expressed, anticipated, or critical incident. Swanson (2007) describes a task inventory as “a list of the discrete activities that make up a specific job in a specific organization” (p.143), however, his recommended process-referenced task inventory approach “goes beyond the traditional job and task inventory approach” (p.155) by detailing procedural tasks, system tasks, and knowledge tasks.
Creswell, Russ-Eft, and Preskill discuss quantitative research and evaluating training programs. I have included an analysis of quantitative research in social change and an evaluation of a social change training program in this portfolio. Creswell (2009) defines quantitative research as a “means for testing objective theories by examining the relationship among variables. These variables, in turn, can be measured, typically on instruments, so that numbered data can be analyzed using statistical procedures” (p.4). Russ-Eft and Preskill (2009) cite Rossi, Freeman, and Lipsey when describing evaluation in the social context; “program evaluation is the use of social research procedures to systematically investigate the effectiveness of social intervention programs to improve social conditions” (p.3). Russ-Eft and Preskill (2009) believe evaluation should be integrated into an organization’s work practice because it can improve quality, can contribute to increased knowledge, can help prioritize resources, can help plan and deliver organizational initiatives, and can help organization members be accountable. Both quantitative research and evaluation play a role in social change.
Throughout my participation in the Master’s in Education in Training in Development Program at North Carolina State University, I have acquired several new skills and talents that will enable me to achieve my professional goals. The majority of these skills relate to the practical application of the instructional design process, beginning with a needs assessment and task analysis, continuing through to the evaluation process.
As demonstrated in this portfolio, I have learned how to use various data collection methods, such as interviews, surveys, and reviews of organization records, to complete both needs assessments and task analysis; critical components of instructional design. I have also learned how to select and apply instructional strategies that are effective for my target audience, such as role-playing and the use of social media, and how to develop, distribute, and analyze a training evaluation, based on developed evaluation objectives. I now understand how ethics influence both research and instructional design, and I understand my role as a change agent within my organization.
When I began the Master’s in Education in Training and Development Program at North Carolina State University, I had no practical experience in training and development. As I progressed through the program, I was able to apply the knowledge and skills I learned to my role as a training professional. For example, I used surveys and interviews to conduct a needs assessment for an Ethics Continuing Professional Education Course that I designed. I also used my knowledge of the instructional design process to develop a detailed course development guide to be used by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) as part of the Office of University Controller, University of Colorado’s Continuing Professional Education Program. I used my understanding of the evaluation of transfer of training process to develop evaluation instruments for our CPE courses. I use the knowledge and skills gained in the M. Ed. in Training and Development program to provide detailed reviews of all developed CPE courses, and to provide recommendations for course enhancements.
There are seven main sections of this portfolio; the Introduction, Course Materials, Plan for the Future, Concluding Essay, Resume, Presentation Proposal, and References. As this portfolio is web-based, you may use your web browser navigation to proceed through the portfolio. However, each page will provide you with links to follow as you progress through the portfolio. Each of the main sections will contain a heading on this website, if you prefer to navigate through each section individually.