I have attempted to approach the development of my early literacy intervention from a design thinking perspective. While I have not yet had the opportunity to formally assess my audience needs, my personal experience as a youth services librarian and my experience as an instructor and mentor to many current youth services librarians should provide me with some insight and empathy into my audience’s needs. I know my audience will have varying levels of experience, expertise, formal education and access to professional development. I know they are working adults who should be intrinsically motivated to improve their practice, but who may have limited time and may be looking for a model in which they can skip over sections they have already “mastered” to focus on content that is new or less familiar. Understanding this has driven the development of my modules. I also knew, from research, that there is a need to deliver early literacy training to youth services librarians and a need to bolster their sense of efficacy, particularly in their role as teachers.
I entered the “define” phase and began thinking about how I could address my learner’s needs through both content and design. On the one hand, I needed a way to introduce my learners to the basics of both infant brain development and early literacy skills as outlined by ECRR (which are both content heavy and within the cognitive domain). On the other, I need to support their efficacy (which is in the affective domain). For this reason, there will likely be a combination of instruction strategies used over the intervention as a whole, while individual modules might rely heavily on one specific strategy.
I entered the ideate phase and began generating different outlines of how I could structure this module to allow for learners with differing levels of expertise and to allow for different approaches to particular content types. I knew I would be working with a set of online learning modules that could function asynchronously and I had to think about how I could structure them in a way that they built on each other without limiting a learner to a single pace or path through the content. I sketched out several outlines of how the content could be structured to accomplish this before moving on to creating a prototype.
My prototype consists of a welcome page that introduces the structure of the workshop to the learner. Each topical module will have it’s own landing page that will consist of an introduction to the topic as a whole, links that go into more detail, and a quiz. The learner may choose to look over the topic overview and take the quiz immediately, or they may pursue the more in-depth content and activities as a more leisurely pace. Once the quiz is successfully completed, the learner may move on to the next module. This should offer learners the opportunity to be introduced to new content, review less familiar content, and skip over content that they have “mastered.” This approach will hopefully cut down on feelings of frustration that could be caused if I make assumptions about the baseline level of familiarity within the audience and force all the learners to move at the same pace through content that might be unfamiliar to some and too familiar to others. The next phase is testing and feedback, where I hope my classmates will be able to assist me.
While I anticipate that I will use a variety of instructional methods in the intervention as a whole, the modules I have developed so far rely somewhat heavily upon direct instruction given that the goal is for the learner to absorb content. I am keeping UDL principles in mind, and I am looking for ways to deliver that content in multiple ways (through text and through videos with captions). I am also keeping Cognitive Load theory in mind, by making sure each sub-module is focused on one topic and that the videos or readings are not overlong. I will also be incorporating some scenarios into the modules, particularly in the affective section that is addressing efficacy, to have the learners think about themselves in real-life situations. The whole structure of the intervention is meant to provide a more personalized learning approach, or at least something akin to it, given the limitations of the online/asynchronous format.