There are five program outcomes for the Instructional Design and Technology Masters program at the University of Cincinnati. The work samples and documents in this portfolio were selected to demonstrate my growth and learning throughout the course of the program. Below, you will find my reflections on each of the five program outcomes and how they have affected me as an instructional designer.

Outcome 1: Apply learning theories and sound pedagogical practices to the instructional design and development process.

Prior to beginning this program, I had very little formal understanding of learning theory and relied on my personal experiences as a teacher in the classroom to understand how learning happened. While learning theory and their pedagogical applications were a continual thread throughout the program, the course that most impacted my knowledge of learning theories and how to apply them was IDT 8020: Learning Sciences and Technology. Through the readings and activities in the course, I developed a solid foundational understanding of the different theories of how people learn and the ways that learning activities can be structured to deepen a learner’s understanding.

Concept map showing the components of how people learn
How People Learn Concept Map, Emma Farrow (2021)

Activities throughout the course were designed to give learners the opportunity to develop their own understanding of different learning theories and how they were connected, such as in the How People Learn Concept Map (above). In the final course project for IDT 8020, we were tasked with creating an instructional design in a technology-based learning environment. For my project, I developed a video game concept that used constructivist learning theory and goal-based scenarios to address the challenge with long-term retention and transfer of personal finance skills and concepts. The project was an opportunity to take the learning theories we had examined and discussed throughout the course and apply them to a learning design based on an identified need and learning environment.

Outcome 2: Apply a systematic approach to design instructional strategies that meet identified learning contexts and needs.

In order to design instructional strategies and develop instructional activities, it is essential to first understand the learning contexts and instructional needs. While each instructional design models approach this process in slightly different ways, regardless of whether one is applying the Dick & Carey Instructional Design Model, ADDIE, or another model, identifying the learning context and the learner characteristics and needs are foundational elements. Since it is so fundamental, applying instructional design models have been a major component of multiple IDT courses. For example, in IDT 8010: Instructional Design, we examined and applied each element of the Dick & Carey Instructional Design Model throughout the course before developing our own model. The model I created, the Proof-Writing Instructional Design Model, was developed to address the fact that the designer and the instructor in the typical Geometry classroom are usually the same person, something that was not taken into consideration in the Dick & Carey ID Model. The Proof-Writing Instructional Design Model is included in this portfolio as a work sample.

Picture of the Proof-Writing Instructional Design Model
The Proof-Writing Instructional Design Model, Emma Farrow (2021)

Additionally, for my IDT Masters Project, I designed, executed, and analyzed an evaluation process based on the Evaluate component of ADDIE. Using the Integer Multiplication Learning Object that I had previously analyzed, designed, and developed, through implementation and the evaluation process I was able to identify several evidence-based areas of improvement which I then used to revise the Integer Multiplication Learning Object.

Outcome 3: Create authentic, technology-mediated learning experiences.

Many courses in the IDT Masters program have given me the opportunity to design technology-based learning experiences that are authentic to the learning contexts. In IDT 7150: Educational Game Design, I worked with a team of other students to develop a math game that gave the player control of their learning while making a frequently challenging concept (solving equations) into a quest-like experience. In IDT 7120: Tools for Online Learning, I used Articulate Storyline to create an Integer Multiplication Learning Object about integer multiplication to deepen learners’ conceptual understanding through application-based scenarios while also provided for additional procedural fluency practice.

I have also developed learning experiences using the Canvas LMS. For IDT 7110: Universal Design for Learning in Blended and Online Contexts, I modified an existing lesson on hourly wages to create the Hourly Wages Canvas Module that allowed all users to access the content using a variety of technology tools including EdPuzzle, Nearpod, and Boom Cards. In IDT 8030: Design of Blended Online Learning Environments, I am currently working with a subject matter expert at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to design a Canvas course that will be used by all residents completing their required rotation in developmental and behavioral pediatrics. As the instructional designer, my role is to develop the authentic technology-mediated activities to meet the learning objectives for the residency rotation. These courses and technology-based learning experiences gave me the opportunity to apply my knowledge of learning theory and pedagogical practices in a systematic way to authentic learning experiences.

Screenshot from Hourly Wages Canvas Module
Screenshot from Hourly Wages Canvas Module, Emma Farrow (2021)

Outcome 4: Evaluate learning technologies and strategies using a variety of methods.

Applying the principles of Universal Design for Learning and ensuring the accessibility of learning is a key role of the instructional designer. Throughout my courses, accessibility has been a key feature, from learning about how to incorporate different Articulate Storyline accessibility features in IDT 7120 to creating accessible portfolios in IDT 7080: Creating Digital Portfolios and identifying accessibility features of common apps and software in IDT 7110. While accessibility has been emphasized during the program, I have also evaluated learning technologies and strategies through technology showcases about different technology tools in IDT 7130: Applications and Issues of Teaching with Technology and IDT 7100: Designing Online Assessments for Data-Driven Decisions. These showcases allowed me to identify both the strengths and limitations of learning technologies as well as potential applications.

Evaluation in the IDT program has not only focused on the technologies themselves, but has also included coursework on user experience questionnaires in IDT 7085: User Experience Questionnaires and usability evaluations in IDT 7090: Conducting Usability Evaluations. These courses exposed me to the different methods that can be used to evaluate learning tools as well as how to analyze the results. The questionnaire I developed for IDT 7085 was expanded and then used as part of the evaluation process of the Integer Multiplication Learning Object.

Screenshot of beginning screen of Integer Multiplication Learning Object
Screenshot from Integer Multiplication Learning Object, Emma Farrow (2020)

Outcome 5: Analyze current research and emerging trends in the area of learning technologies.

As technologies continue to develop, learning technologies are also ever-evolving. In IDT 7150, we examined the current trends in educational game design, as well as how learning theories are applied in game development and design. My team and I incorporated these trends and current research findings to create a math educational game. Emerging trends were also an important area of focus in IDT 7110, where we discussed how new technologies can make learning more accessible to all users as well as the potential limitations of technology. Current learning technologies were used in the development of the Hourly Wages Canvas Module which incorporated various current learning technologies to give learners multiple means of engaging with the content.

In IDT 7100, I developed an ePortfolio which used current research and technology for assessment to develop my own personal understanding of assessment in online and blended learning environments, as well as applications of learning technologies for assessment. Similarly, in IDT 7130, I collaborated with classmates to create an online textbook on the effectiveness, emerging trends, and issues of educational technologies. My entry discussed recent evidence about the effectiveness of blogging as an educational tool, especially in higher education. Through peer reviews and critiques, I also furthered my understanding of current trends in digital games, flipped classrooms, and mobile apps in education.

Screenshot of online textbook chapter about Blogging
Screenshot of IDT 7130 Online Textbook, Emma Farrow (2021)