My dream of wanting to earn my Master’s degree in Instructional Design has been in the works for at least 10 years (or more). It seemed that the timing was always a little off for various reasons. One day, a couple of years before my Dad passed away, he looked at me with his bright and beautiful blue eyes and stated very matter-of-factly, “Dana, you should get your Master’s degree.” From that moment on, I knew what my goal was and put a plan in place to reach this highly rewarding goal. Unfortunately he passed away before he could know that I enrolled in a Master’s program, but I know that he is cheering me on, supporting me, and proud of me from afar.
My Selection Process
Once I was ready to take the leap, I had already narrowed my research down to either the MSIDT program and CSUF or the program at San Diego State University. Both schools continued to appear in my searches as having great Instructional Design programs, and both were local. The more I contemplated about which school to choose, I went with CSUF for a few reasons:
- I loved the curriculum and its order displayed on their website (click here for info)
- Everytime I mentioned the thought of going to CSUF, people could not wait to tell me what a great MSIDT program they offered
- My online research kept leading me back to CSUF
- I wanted a local school with a goal of building a network of fellow instructional designers.
I am so glad that I made the decision to enter into the MSIDT program at CSUF. It has been a rewarding and inspiring experience. I am halfway through the program and I have learned so much about instructional design that I may have overlooked before. The curriculum allows you to explore all different areas of instructional design and instructional technologies that are available to help build dynamic and meaningful training courses and programs.
My Career and the MSIDT Program at CSUF
The MSIDT program has provided me many tools and resources to add to my instructional design toolbox. With those tools, I have already branched out into a consultant/contractor position. As a contractor, I am treated as an expert, where my clients are seeking my help and asking for advice about all things training. In my experience, people treat me with a more respectful tone as a contractor than that of an employee. It is an interesting experiment, and one that I may write about later.
There are two main topics that I have learned within the MSIDT program:
- Qualitative and Quantitative Research
- Different teaching strategies from the book, The Strategic Teacher
Qualitative Research: This is a research style that is exploratory in nature. The researcher will observe a group’s activity in an open non-controlled environment. Typically the observer or researcher will enter into an environment and record all of the people and activities that take place within that environment, without disrupting the natural flow of things.
Quantitative Research: This type of research is data driven with statistics, measurements, and numbers to show if a hypothesis is true based on the data conllected or not proven beyond a certain threshhold. This type of research can be done through a simple survey or can be a more complex process where data is gathered through forums, test groups, and pilot programs.
Each type of research is important and necessary to allow us to understand our world better.
The Strategic Teacher is a book written by Harvey F. Silver, Richard W. Strong, and Matthew J. Perini. It is a refreshing approach to teaching students in a variety of interactive ways.
Even though it is directed more towards teaching strategies in the K-12 classroom envionrments, I think Corporate L&D programs could benefit from these teaching strategies as well. It offers new research-based teaching strategies to help students think about new content using a critical-thinking approach to new content. It is a book that I definitely want to buy in hardback vs. the virtual version.
My Advice to future students of the MSIDT Program
In closing, my advice to future MSIDT students at CSUF is to enjoy the journey. You will experience stress, challenges, and successes, which is all part of the process. The professors are always willing to offer a helping hand. They want you to succeed. Sometimes, you may need to move out of your own way to get the project done. Sometimes, you may surprise yourself in what you can accomplish. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to breathe. 🙂