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The Accidental Instructional Designer by Cammy Bean: My 5 Star Amazon Review

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Cammy Bean has written a highly engaging guide to a field of endeavor that helps people learn new things better and faster. Instructional design brings learning science, visual expression, design traditions and techniques together. Instructional designers also develop competence using a wide variety of technologies to engage and inspire their users. They conduct analyses to identify learner needs and create the experiences where learning can be modeled, measured and improved.

HOWEVER – sometimes, people with no experience whatsoever with any of these kinds of activities will find themselves in a role where they must create courses or other varieties of learning experiences. They need to figure this out even if they they know nothing of learning theory, media production methods or models that guide the development process.

If you happen to be THAT person, congratulations! This is a book written specifically for you.

In a little under 250 pages, this highly readable collection of knowledge, examples and experiences will share the ins and outs of what you need to know and do to establish yourself as a competent, respected instructional designer. The first section, consisting of three chapters, reviews the basics of what instructional design is. It also talks about all of the activities that need to be part of the instructional design process IF YOU WANT TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN PRACTICE. Our author also explains why Design is so important to this systematic creative process.

Cammy follows that with a second Section of 10 chapters that take you through all the components of her “Learning Pie” model for ID success (See Chapter 2). Cammy counsels on topics as diverse as how to work with subject matter experts to learning about the range of technology tools being used. Perhaps most importantly, she advises about ALL the things you need to be thinking about when developing a commercially viable learning product, not just the instructional design part. (Sometimes even instructional designers with multiple degrees are shocked to discover that there are business requirements for successful instructional designs.)

Part 3 summarizes her thoughts on taking ID forward. She offers her favorite practice tested resources, a discussion guide with questions to get your designer-to-be thinking about their work, and a selected collection of books and articles with evidence for why these suggested techniques work as they do.

Anyone with an interest in instructional designer will enjoy reading this.

Ellen Wagner

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