So, I admit it. I am sometimes quick to judge, particularly when it comes to a subject as dear to me as instructional design. I created a reading list for myself at the beginning of the year that included some heavy focus on design, from Dan Roam’s Blah Blah Blah to my current read, Julie Dirksen’s Design for How People Learn.
I really did not care for the book at first. I judged it based on a cursory glance and an exploration of chapter 1. I deemed it a poor substitute to my own amazing ideas for design. I scoffed at fellow superteacher Alex Rister‘s praise for the book. Then, I had a come to Chi Chi moment. This is my term for a one on one moment of nurturing yet firm honesty. I usually have them with students. I really needed this one.
Teachers, students, and business folk scoff at my approach to visual design almost on a daily basis. They refuse to see any other way to convey information besides vague bullets; they devote little time to preparation–preparation that leads to active learning in the classroom as opposed to passive information bombardment; they rely on their slides as a safety net and security blanket and lucky rabbit’s foot and mask to hide behind. I did the same thing with Dirksen and her ideas. I dismissed it without really absorbing it. Alex’s very wise statement…
…has led me to give this book and Dirksen, an authority in the field of instructional design and a passionate advocate for design in education, its due respect. So, this week, as the students enjoy spring break, I’ll be taking Dirksen’s book to the beach and really doing a bit of course-related instructional design soul searching. I am stoked.