Blended learning, virtual reality, learning spaces, and 3-D printing are just a few examples of the myriad ways that technology has recently impacted teaching and learning across all levels of education. Instructional designers (IDs) can help unlock the potential of new and emerging technology to improve the learning experience, and collaboration between IDs in higher education is a driving force behind innovative ideas.
Penn State and EDUCAUSE have teamed up to offer one of the most comprehensive collaborative projects for IDs – the ID2ID mentoring program – and it is set to return for the second year.
“It is a thrill to offer this peer-based mentoring program for instructional designers on an international scale,” said Kyle Bowen, director of education technology with Teaching and Learning with Technology at Penn State. “As a program, ID2ID’s roots trace back to an internal effort at Penn State but now, thanks to our partnership with the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, it has grown to help nearly 300 IDs throughout the world.”
Last year ID2ID brought together participants from the United States, Canada, China, Australia, Columbia, South Africa, Lebanon, and South Korea.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2018-19 edition of ID2ID. The deadline to apply is May 7, 2018.
“Interested IDs can apply to be a mentor, mentee or a buddy,” said Angela Dick, learning design manager at Penn State. “Based on what applicants want to achieve through ID2ID, the advisory committee will match participants with the goal of ensuring an optimal outcome for everyone involved. It will also remain a loosely-guided program so that participants enjoy a great amount of control over what they learn.”
According to Veronica Diaz, director of professional learning with EDUCAUSE, the human connection between mentors, mentees, and buddies within ID2ID is the driving force behind participants’ professional development. She also noted the crucial role that technology, some of the same technology that IDs look to incorporate in the classroom, played in making the program possible.
“It was interesting that participating in ID2ID, although it was virtual, still supported participants making significant professional connections,” said Diaz. “We could not have reached the number of individuals that we did last year without the effective use of technology to support the mentoring and personalized learning that took place through the professional development we offered.”
Flower Darby, senior instructional designer at Northern Arizona University, was matched as a buddy with Heather Garcia, an instructional designer at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, Calif., for the inaugural ID2ID program. She agrees that modern technology was essential to ID2ID’s success.
“The best aspect of the ID2ID program was having sustained conversations and working together toward shared goals over the course of several months,” said Darby. “It was extremely helpful to collaborate with Heather and with the larger group of IDs from across the nation. I can’t imagine how this would take place if we needed to be in the same place at the same time. Effective use of technology is really the linchpin or this impactful program.”
Darby and Garcia maintain their relationship and continue to communicate to this day.
“Conversations with other IDs are a significant part of my career development efforts – especially those outside of my institution. ID2ID fits perfectly with my strategy and was well worth the time and energy investment,” added Darby.
Not only did participants in the inaugural ID2ID program reap the benefits of career development, they also influenced future iterations of ID2ID based on the feedback they provided.
“We received some wonderful suggestions at the conclusion of last year’s program,” noted Dick. “For this year we have added small groups in addition to the mentor/mentee and buddy pairs. This will allow participants to tap into an even broader knowledge base and expand their professional networks even further.”
Additionally, at the conclusion of this year’s ID2ID program, participants will receive digital badges.
“Those badges really speak to the time and effort that participants put forth, along with their accomplishments throughout the program,” said Diaz.
This year’s ID2ID will begin in June of 2018 and conclude in January of 2019. According to Dick, participants who commit roughly seven to 10 hours per month, or more, achieve the most success in the program.
According to ID2ID leadership, applicants and participants can expect a simplified application process, clearer requirements for the badge track, and streamlined communications.
“The main one that I still see is a lack of understanding by stakeholders across institutions with regards to what instructional design is,” said Wilson. “IDs often battle uphill when attempting to work with faculty on course design/redesign simply because faculty may not know what an instructional designer is. ID2ID has allowed for a better understanding of ways that IDs function across multiple institutions.”
Darby is one ID2ID participant who saw the program directly aide her in overcoming that lack of understanding.
“The insights and knowledge I brought back to Northern Arizona from ID2ID helps my campus leadership put our ID team in a position to be as successful as possible,” she said. “This program strengthened my credibility with my team, with faculty, and with leadership.”
At its core, however, ID2ID strives to facilitate community building that allows for instructional designers to make meaningful connections with their peers. Wilson is encouraged by the program’s potential as its number of participants grows.
“Some of the best conversations we saw last year happened at the larger community level,” he said. “Being a part of a larger ID community helps them begin to better define their role and it helps map out their career better.”