Instructional Design

Progress, What’s That?

My husband and I both work from home at the moment for the same company. We have different job titles but as I move closer to the end of my MEd. in Instructional Design we tend to find ourselves deep in conversation about design-related topics. Recently, after reading an article my husband began to discuss the difference between motion and progress. It really caught my attention as I could see the connection between what he was saying and what I have learned as an Instructional Designer. 

To take a step back, think of a goal you have at the moment. How long do you think it will take to complete that goal? If your goal is broad and seems daunting to take on it may be because you need to break it down. Just like teaching there is usually an overarching goal but there are tangible objectives within that goal. 

An example of this would be creating an online portfolio. This is a large task and by simply having that as your goal may not drive you toward progress only movement. Take smaller chunks of that goal and give yourself a window of time to get it done in. For instance, this week I will choose a host/domain name. When you complete that it gives your brain the dopamine hit it needs to feel that sense of progress and you’ll want to move on to the next step. 

This can be done for anything, not just professionally. You may want to start working out and losing weight. Many people and professional weight loss companies start by addressing the goal weight but oftentimes it will take months to reach that. If you aim for 5 pounds the first month and you succeed you will feel motivated to keep going instead of defeated every time you step on a scale. 

The main point here is that you should have tangible objectives that help you meet your goal. Can you actually measure or see the progress or have you just been moving linearly in the same direction? 

So that goal you thought about earlier, is it tangible? Or can you break it down to small objectives that you can meet along the way? Take a moment when addressed with a new task to assess. If it seems unmanageable, start brainstorming how to divide the work into objectives and you’ll be meeting that final goal before you even know it. 

One Comment

  • Dorothy VanDeCarr

    Hi Lisa!

    I very much appreciate and can relate to what you say here. Well-structured goal setting is difficult for me in and of itself and I typically feel overwhelmed, and as a result fail to break down the lager tasks into small achievable steps. Ironically, as a community college instructor (helping underserved adults make their way toward college), I try to encourage my students to work one step at a time. Despite my desire to plan everything out, I oftem must improvise and be flexible depending on the day (e.g. who is present and how attentive they are able to be in class).

    Thank you for mentioning the creation of an ePortfolio as an example! I feel like I should be faster & better at ID at this point in my certificate, but I find it very challenging. (the web layout you chose by the way is beautful).I like your example of weight-loss as well, quite the long-term effort which can be very disheartening at times, I’m sure (I am slowly adjusting to my own challenging physical changes as I approach age 52).

    Have you considered authoring a “How to” of sorts outlining (ID) goal planning as you see it?

    Thank you again for your thoughts!

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