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Introducing Undergraduates to Instructional Design in a Graduate Studio: An Experiential, Model-Centered Approach

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This case study describes a combined graduate and undergraduate instructional design studio that introduced undergraduate students to instructional design in a multifaceted, holistic, and applied way. Reviewing the experience of the undergraduates in the course, this design case describes four learning interventions used to create this applied experience: (1) instructional design team projects-one non-profit and the other in higher education, (2) weekly seminars and biweekly training sessions from field experts, (3) an experiential out-of-state trip, and (4) weekly reflection journals. These studio-based learning interventions are presented within the context of the Experiential Learning Theory and Model-Centered Instruction. Overall, the course introduced the undergraduate students to the field of instructional design in an applied and experiential format.
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Introducing Undergraduates to
Instructional Design in a Graduate Studio:
An Experiential, Model-Centered
Approach
Rebecca Stull Zundel, William Sowards, Scott L. Howell, & Jason
K. McDonald
This case study describes a combined graduate and undergraduate instructional
design studio that introduced undergraduate students to instructional design in a
multifaceted, holistic, and applied way. Reviewing the experience of the
undergraduates in the course, this design case describes four learning
interventions used to create this applied experience: (1) instructional design team
projects—one non-profit and the other in higher education, (2) weekly seminars
and biweekly training sessions from field experts, (3) an experiential out-of-state
trip, and (4) weekly reflection journals. These studio-based learning interventions
are presented within the context of the Experiential Learning Theory and Model-
Centered Instruction. Overall, the course introduced the undergraduate students
to the field of instructional design in an applied and experiential format.
Keywords: Coaching, Design Thinking, experiential learning, Instructional Design,
Instructional Design Models
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IntroductionIntroduction
This case study describes a learning experience at Brigham Young University (BYU) offered
in a course, “Interdisciplinary Product Design for Education, and describes how
undergraduate students were introduced to instructional design using a multifaceted,
holistic, and applied approach. This course provided undergraduate students with an
opportunity to work closely with graduate students in the Instructional Psychology and
Technology (IP&T) program as part of an advanced instructional design studio described in
an earlier issue of this journal (McDonald et al., 2022). During fall semester, the graduate
students in the advanced course selected two clientele from six interested parties,
conducted user analyses and background research, and formed plans to prototype real-life
instructional design projects. In the following spring semester, the undergraduates joined
the graduates to complete the designated projects. These authentic design team projects
acted as one of four learning interventions used in the course. The other interventions
included training sessions and seminars from experts in the field of instructional design, an
experiential grant trip to San Francisco, and reflection journals completed throughout the
semester.
While the goal of the course was to introduce undergraduates to instructional design,
students enrolled in the course for a variety of reasons and personal goals. Some students
hoped to expand their connections, resume, and knowledge while experiencing the actual
work of instructional designers. Others wanted to learn instructional principles to apply to
their professional pursuits in entrepreneurship or engineering. Some students used the
course as a starting point in pursuing graduate school in instructional design. Finally, the
course acted as a capstone for the undergraduate students who were completing the
Design Thinking minor at BYU.
Three professors facilitated the four learning interventions for these students: One
professor oversaw the graduate students in the course, while another focused on the
undergraduate students and experience. The third instructor prepared and led the
experiential grant trip to San Francisco. With the guidance of these three professors, this
course provided a holistic, multifaceted, and applied learning experience for the
undergraduate students. This design case describes the four interventions of the course
within the framework of two learning models. It also reviews the undergraduates’
experience with each intervention.
Pedagogical ApproachesPedagogical Approaches
The learning interventions used in this instructional design course were contextualized by
aspects of two pedagogical frameworks: Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) and Model-
Centered Instruction (MCI). The ELT was introduced in 1984 by David Kolb and is widely
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used by scholars and educators today (Morris, 2020). Kolb (1984) defined experiential
learning as a four-part cycle, which consists of (1) concrete experience, (2) reflective
observation, (3) abstract conceptualization, and (4) active experimentation (see Figure 1).
In this case study, concrete experience refers to learners’ active participation in situated,
novel, and real-world experiences (Morris, 2020). Reflective observation is the opportunity
for learners to critically review the experience and find or create meaning from it (Burns &
Danyluk, 2017; Davitadze et al., 2022; Schön, 1987). Abstract conceptualization refers to
the learners’ attempts at drawing conclusions from the experience; they form new or
modified ideas about the information at hand (Burns & Danyluk, 2017; Davitadze et al.,
2022; Kolb, 1984). Finally, active experimentation is the learners’ chance to apply their new
understanding to further experiences (Burns & Danyluk, 2017; Kolb, 1984). Aspects of
Kolb’s four-part ELT cycle were observed in each of the four interventions.
Figure 1Figure 1
The four stages of the Experiential Learning Cycle as described by Kolb (1984)
Figure 1. Experiential Learning Cycle: concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, active
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experimentation
MCI was developed by Andrew Gibbons (Gibbons, 2008) in 2001 as a way of carrying out
dynamic model content. Dynamic simply refers to the constantly changing nature of the
content that then necessitates adaptation (Gibbons, 2008). The purpose of MCI is to take
these complex and dynamic situations and simplify them into consumable interactions that
allow the learner to investigate, experiment, and practice skills (McDonald, 2018). Gibbons
defined the process of MCI through seven principles (Gibbons, 2001). The seven principles
of MCI are (1) experience with models, (2) problem solving, (3) denaturing, (4) sequence,
(5) goal orientation, (6) resourcing, and (7) instructional augmentation (see Figure 2).
In this case study, experience with models refers to the modeling of a real-world design
studio with clients, products, and feedback from instructors and graduate students
(McDonald, 2018). Problem solving refers to being presented with a problem or observing a
problem that requires solving. Denaturing is the modification of a model or scenario to
facilitate learning. Sequence refers to the ordering of problems by task, size, or another
hierarchy to facilitate learning (McDonald, 2018). Goal orientation is achieved by selecting
problems that support specific learning goals or outcomes. Resourcing is providing the
appropriate resources to support the achievement of the goals for instruction (McDonald,
2018). Instructional augmentation is the implementation of additional learning activities
and materials that help the learner through the learning process. These are sometimes
referred to as learning companions (McDonald, 2018). Portions of each of these seven
principles are used throughout the interventions.
Figure 2Figure 2
The seven principles of Model-Centered Instruction as described by Gibbons (2001, 2008)
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Figure 2. Model-Centered Instruction: models, problem solving, denaturing, sequence, goals, resourcing,
augmentation
InterventionsInterventions
The course, Interdisciplinary Product Design for Education, included four main instructional
interventions, contextualized with the ELT cycle and MCI approach. These interventions
include (1) the two design teams, (2) training sessions and seminars from field experts, (3)
an experiential grant trip to San Francisco, and (4) the students’ reflection journals. This
section will detail how the four interventions fit in the ELT and MCI approaches, describe
what the students did, and highlight learning outcomes for the students.
Design Teams
The No More a Stranger (NOMAS) design team and the Business design team were the
primary setting for the students’ learning experience (see Figure 3). In terms of the ELT
cycle, the design teams acted as both concrete experiences and active experimentation.
Students were actively engaged in a novel, real-world experience, and the design teams
acted as an opportunity for the students to apply instructional design concepts. Similarly,
the principles of problem solving, denaturing, sequencing, goal orientation, and experience
with models from MCI were implemented. The teams set goals and deadlines while
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prioritizing tasks and deliverables. The teams also modeled real design teams working
under the direction of project managers with constant communication between the clients
and the teams. Denaturing was achieved through the unrealistic, semester-long length of
each project (both projects would have been accomplished much faster in a real-world
setting), giving students opportunities to experiment and learn new skills.
Figure 3Figure 3
The two design teams, NOMAS (left) and Business Team (right), meet to work on their
projects
Figure 3. Pictures of the NOMAS and Business Team, both at tables working on laptops
No More a Stranger (NOMAS)
The first team designed and prototyped a micro-learning instructional product for a non-
profit foundation called No More A Stranger (NOMAS). NOMAS is an organization that
assists individuals seeking entry into the United States and provides guidance through the
various methods of entry that individuals can pursue. NOMAS’ mission is to “advocate on
behalf of and together with individuals from immigrant, migrant, and refugee backgrounds
to strengthen our communities” (NOMAS, n.d.). NOMAS fulfills this mission through the
work of volunteers and a team of legal representatives.
NOMAS’s Challenge: ELT Concrete Experience. NOMAS’s Challenge: ELT Concrete Experience. In realizing this mission, NOMAS faces
the challenge of training new volunteers in immigration legal practices, so, in turn, they may
train those interested in their services. In the past, NOMAS held an eight-week training
course (both in-person and using video conferencing software) in which a member of the
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full-time staff trained new volunteers on skills and knowledge. With increased demands on
the full-time staff, it became difficult to balance teaching with other responsibilities.
Members of the NOMAS staff approached BYU’s IP&T department seeking help in
designing asynchronous instructional materials to facilitate the training of new volunteers
while also alleviating pressure from full-time staff.
Addressing the Challenge: MCI Problem Solving, Sequencing, and Resourcing. Addressing the Challenge: MCI Problem Solving, Sequencing, and Resourcing. The
first design team addressed the NOMAS challenge by developing an asynchronous eight-
week course. Prior to the inclusion of the undergraduate students, graduate students
developed learning and performance outcomes for each lesson built on an analysis of the
previous course content and in collaboration with NOMAS staff. All pre-development
analysis and development work was created by the graduate students and stored in a
Google Drive folder. Workflow was managed using the workflow software application Trello
(Trello, n.d.) and a Gantt chart created using Trello (see Figure 4).
Figure 4Figure 4
NOMAS Gantt chart for organizing lessons and workflow
Figure 4. A Gantt chart with the organization and workflow of the NOMAS group
Through Trello, all team members (undergraduates included) were able to monitor the
development of lessons and select which lessons to develop themselves (see Figure 5).
Initially, undergraduates were assigned lessons based on the simplicity of the lessons
content because they did not have the background knowledge of the graduate students. All
development work utilized rapid prototyping (Dong, 2021) and peer review—two team
members reviewed every lesson to ensure the quality of each lesson. A content
development checklist was used to standardize the approach each team member had
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when developing their assigned lessons. After various learning management software
(LMS) was researched, EdApp (EdApp, n.d.) was selected as the ideal learning platform to
deliver the instructional material.
Figure 5Figure 5
NOMAS Trello sheet for organizing and assigning work between different team members
Figure 5. A Trello sheet with tasks assigned to different NOMAS group members
Undergraduate Participation: ELT Active Experimentation. Undergraduate Participation: ELT Active Experimentation. As the semester
progressed, the undergraduate students engaged in more skill-specific tasks. One student’s
background in film, as well as her access to filming equipment and locations, enabled her
to work with a graduate student to film mock interviews and clinic sessions. This student
was the primary editor for the final versions of the videos used in three weeks’ worth of
lessons. Another undergraduate with considerable experience in video conferencing
developed a training sheet for volunteers using Zoom, a video conferencing software
(Zoom, n.d.). This sheet used videos to teach NOMAS volunteers how to navigate Zoom in
a professional setting. This was necessary as the personas developed by the
aforementioned design team represented some who struggle using technology. This sheet
also met accessibility standards and was included in the resources portion of the final
online class. These undergraduates worked as equal partners with the graduate students
and each developed multiple lessons for the eight-week course. The graduate students
mentored the undergraduates to provide guidance and support while still allowing them to
work independently.
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Business Course
The second team formed an instructional product for BYU’s Marriott School of Business
(MSB). The MSB sponsors a nationally ranked education to thousands of students each
year (BYU Marriott School of Business, n.d.) and offers a variety of undergraduate and
graduate business-related degrees in fields like accounting, information systems, human
resources, and more. The MSB also offers a minor in business.
The Business School’s Challenge: ELT Concrete Experience. The Business School’s Challenge: ELT Concrete Experience. However, the MSB lacks
an integrative, introductory business course that could address two issues faced by some
students at BYU. First, certain non-business major students are interested in learning
business principles and skills to apply to their professional interests and widen their career
options. Second, some business students begin their education in a business discipline
major with little to no background experience in the field. These students may feel stuck
and regret their decision. In both cases, an integrative, introductory survey course would
expose these students to the disciplines of business and help them develop business skills
to use in their professional lives. The MSB approached BYU’s IP&T program hoping for
assistance in completing the design and construction of this introductory, survey course for
non-majors.
Addressing the Challenge: MCI Problem Solving, Goal Orienting, and Resourcing.Addressing the Challenge: MCI Problem Solving, Goal Orienting, and Resourcing.
Addressing the needs of their clientele, the second design team created a semester-long,
asynchronous course that will introduce business minor or non-business major students to
the principles and skills of business. The course is presented using the Canvas LMS
(Canvas, n.d.) and follows the basis of three learning outcomes identified by the clients’
requests and a learner analysis conducted by the graduate students in the previous
semester. The learning outcomes are to (1) understand key business principles in a variety
of settings, (2) apply business skills to improve real organizations, products, or services,
and (3) demonstrate integrative thinking of business topics to address real problem-solving
experiences. Throughout the semester, this design team worked with subject-matter
experts (SME) from the MSB to form content, assignments, and projects that would assist
the students in meeting these learning outcomes. This process was guided by a project
manager—one of the graduate students—and the assistance of Trello boards, a Gantt chart,
and two team meetings each week during the semester.
Undergraduate Participation: ELT Active Experimentation. Undergraduate Participation: ELT Active Experimentation. The undergraduate
students on this team participated in the design process in two main ways. First, each
team member designed content and created assignments for their discipline with the help
of a subject-matter expert (SME), who was typically a faculty member in the MSB. As an
example, one undergraduate formed the content for human resource management and
organizational behavior (HR/OB). To do so, this student worked closely with an HR/OB
professor, as SME, to create content and assignments that would meet the needs of the
clientele and help future students meet the course learning outcomes (see Figure 6). The
second way in which the undergraduates participated in the design process was by
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addressing different needs of the course as a whole. For example, the undergraduate
students on this team worked together to create a Canvas structure that would
accommodate the unique needs of the different business topics while maintaining
uniformity and integration throughout the course. Overall, the undergraduates in this group
were given opportunities to experience instructional design in a real-world setting.
Figure 6Figure 6
One part of the business team's final product on as viewed on mobile
Figure 6. Mobile screenshots of a Canvas module and pages
Outcomes
As the undergraduate students participated in these instructional design projects, at least
five outcomes were realized as reported in the undergraduate students’ reflection journals
and researchers’ observation notes. First, the students experienced the kind of work that
many instructional designers do in non-profit, corporate, and university settings. It helped
them to see the outcomes and challenges of working in teams and with clients and SMEs.
Second, designing courseware helped the undergraduates apply a variety of learning and
instructional theories beyond learning these concepts abstractly. Third, the students
created an actual instructional product that can be added to their design portfolios and
resumes. Fourth, building the course encouraged the students to use design-thinking
processes. In doing so, they came to better understand the need for continual empathy,
rapid prototyping, testing for feedback, and other parts of the instructional design process
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(Doorley et al., 2018). Finally, working in this concrete experience introduced the students
to learning management systems as well as a variety of project management techniques
and tools they will use later in their careers.
The undergraduates’ learning experience was positive overall, but they felt that it took some
time for the graduate students to fully embrace and integrate the undergraduate students
into their teams. In retrospect, this should have been better anticipated—the graduate
students had already spent the previous semester working together on their respective
design projects. While one group successfully integrated the undergraduate students into
the team’s workflow, the other group struggled to find a place for the undergraduate
students, especially early on in the project. This left these undergraduates with little work
and limited learning opportunities until later in the semester. In future iterations of the
course, the undergraduates could be offered the opportunity to join the graduate students
for their capstone experience the first semester, rather than the second, or change the
capstone experience for the undergraduate students to a two-semester class, as it is for
the graduate students. Conversely, faculty could help the graduate students better prepare
to welcome and integrate the undergraduate students into their teams and add a measure
of accountability to the expectation.
Seminars and Training Sessions
A second intervention used in the course included biweekly training sessions and weekly
seminars from experts in the field. These opportunities acted as a second concrete
experience in the ELT cycle; the undergraduate students were invited to participate in
discussion and lecture-based experiences covering a variety of topics. This then led to
reflection, contextualization, and experimentation of those topics in their design team
projects. These trainings served to support instructional augmentation when analyzed
using MCI principles as additional instruction was given to the students outside of the
project workspace. These skills, while pertinent to instructional design, were not always
directly related to the work that they were engaged in within their respective design teams
but served to expose students to a broader understanding of instructional design.
The weekly seminars are part of a half-credit hour class offered by the IP&T department for
faculty and graduate students, which the four undergraduate students were encouraged to
attend each week. A sample of some of the presentations given by other professors and
experts included the following: “Chigen-iku: A universal performance improvement
method, “Learning Engineering . . ., “Conversational Instruction and Message Layer
Design, “Learning Experience Design: Why Content Alone Isn't Enough,” and “Improving
STEM Teaching and Learning.
For the four undergraduate students enrolled, the professors also provided 30-minute,
biweekly training sessions offered by experts in the field on topics relevant to their
instructional design work for the design team projects (see Figure 7). The titles of training
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sessions included “User Interface Design,” “Methods of Design,“Microlearning,” “Blended
Learning,” “Graphic Design for Learning,” and “Adaptive Comparative Judgment.
Figure 7Figure 7
Undergraduate students participating in one of the bi-weekly trainings offered by a field
expert
Figure 7. Guest instructor presenting to four students
Based on the undergraduate students’ reflection journals and researchers’ observation
notes, the weekly seminars and biweekly training sessions led to three main outcomes for
the undergraduate students in the course. First, the students were able to interact with
faculty and students currently in the IP&T graduate program. As some of the
undergraduates are interested in the program, this helped form relationships and
connections to assist their educational futures. A second outcome from training sessions
and seminars was students were able to gain further knowledge about the processes,
theories, and research surrounding instructional design. This helped students better apply
instructional design topics to their own design projects. Finally, the training sessions and
seminars acted as an opportunity to network with and learn from professional experts in
the field of instructional design. These connections will help the students in their
professional pursuits and give the students insights into the many ways that an IP&T
education can be employed.
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However, one challenge came with the timing of the biweekly training sessions. Each
training was given during class time, which is when the design teams worked on their
projects. Only the undergraduate students attended these training sessions, so the
graduate students on the design teams would oftentimes continue their planning and work
while the undergraduates attended the training. This sometimes left the undergraduates
behind on the decisions and progress made on the team projects. This challenge might be
easily resolved by including the graduate students in the training; they, too, would benefit
from these training sessions, if for no other reason than to further network with other
professionals in the field.
Experiential Grant Trip
The third intervention for student learning was an experiential grant trip to California.
Thanks to generous donors, some students—including the four undergraduate students—
were given the opportunity to participate in a field trip to San Francisco, California, where
they observed design processes in action in the unique instructional design elements of
Alcatraz Island (Boling, 2014) and the Exploratorium (King et al., 2018). They also
participated in instructor-led, reflective discussions about their experiences. In this way, the
field trip facilitated reflective observation and abstract conceptualization in Kolb's (1984)
ELT cycle. Within MCI, field trips act as a way for students to experience models outside of
those in the studio. Students can also see various instructional models in action and
consider ways of implementing them within their own designs. This was an example of
instructional augmentation as students participated in an activity outside of the original
scope of their project that provided them with additional learning opportunities.
Alcatraz Tour
Alcatraz has been transformed from the United States’ first high-security prison to an
innovative museum experience that takes patrons through the lives of many of the
prisoners that stayed behind its walls (Boling, 2014). Students were given an afternoon to
explore and interact not only with the cellhouse tour, but with the many other exhibits and
locations found on the island (see Figure 8). Students were then brought back together, in
larger group settings, and discussed what they learned from Alcatraz; specifically, how
what they learned could relate to the projects they were currently engaged in. Students
found that the Alcatraz experience, while initially not having much to do with their projects
(NOMAS and the business course), had more in common with them than they thought. The
Alcatraz designers had the same basic goal as the two groups: to help learners relate to the
information presented and understand how it could apply to them. Some pointed out that
this gave them new ideas and expanded their view of what learning could look like in
different settings.
Figure 8Figure 8
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Members of the design teams (both undergraduate and graduate) and faculty at Alcatraz
Island
Figure 8. Members of the design teams (both undergraduate and graduate) and faculty at Alcatraz Island
The Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is an innovative collection of interactive science exhibits ranging from
physics to life sciences to psychology (King et al., 2018). The students were given the
morning to explore and interact with the exhibits in small groups of two to four (see Figure
9). Within their small groups, and later with the instructors, the students were encouraged
to discuss how different design experiences in the Exploratorium could relate to their
design team projects (NOMAS or the business course), work problems, or projects for other
classes. For example, some students discussed how they could prototype more interactive
content into their design projects. Others mentioned how they wanted to add more
authenticity to their project. In short, the students' time at the Exploratorium allowed them
to observe how the design process resulted in real-life products and experiences like what
they were doing to create instructional products and experiences for their clients in their
design studio.
Figure 9Figure 9
Design team students interact with an educational exhibit in the Exploratorium
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Figure 9. Students interacting with a musical exhibit at the Exploratorium
Outcomes
Research shows that field trips are uncommon in higher education, yet when they take
place, they assist student learning in a variety of ways. These include a greater sense of
connection between their peers and instructors, increased intrinsic motivation, and more
opportunities for non-traditional learning (Fedesco et al., 2020). Students from the 2018,
2019, and 2022 experiential trips reported similar results along with a few other outcomes
in a qualitative survey that they completed shortly after their trips. For example, some of
the students who observed design processes firsthand mentioned how valuable it was to
see their studies contextualized and applied in a real-world setting. It also helped inform
the direction and plans of others concerning their future schooling, research, and career.
While not surprising, one challenge was that the experiential grant trip exacted extensive
planning and preparation. One of the professors did all the work—from application to
arranging venues, transportation, and housing, and then leading the two-day trip. To
address this challenge, future professors might employ students (even students in the
course) to help with planning and logistics. This would be another concrete experience for
the students.
Reflection Journals
The final intervention of the instructional design course included reflective journal entries
that the four undergraduates completed each week. Journaling acted as another
opportunity for reflective observation as part of the ELT cycle. Each student was
encouraged to reflect on their experiences thoughtfully and critically throughout the week
and construct meaning from their own experiences as part of (or participants in) the
graduate-led design teams, expert training, and the experiential trip to San Francisco. While
the MCI model lacks a specific principle of reflection and feedback, the case can be made
that the principles of instructional augmentation and goal orientation include reflection and
feedback.
In this course, the students were asked to write and submit a half- to one-page reflection
each week. These reflection entries were to include a thoughtful reflection of the students’
experiences and lessons learned in their team project and related learning activities. For
example, parts of one student’s final reflection entry are shared below:
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It’s not often that you end a course feeling truly accomplished and proud . . . I felt like
every class period was productive and useful and I learned like I would on a job. I think
skills are best taught when students are trusted to figure things out while also
providing them with support systems. By the end of this course, I was able to do as
much as the graduate students in developing and creating content . . . We worked so
well because we worked as a team rather than as a class. I think that classes work to
achieve the low-hanging fruit or the bare minimum. A team has a clear understanding
of what they want to do and sets standards to ensure that the final product is quality
and even goes beyond what was asked . . . I feel like this class was the best way to
recognize what skills I had and what skills I wanted to develop.
This student was able to use reflective journaling to assess their progress in the course,
evaluate progress, and construct meaning from their learning experience.
Such use of reflective journaling as an academic exercise to promote deeper learning and
lifelong learning is an accepted teaching practice and assessment activity (Allan & Driscoll,
2014). An important outcome for the teacher is that the journaling activity provides insight
on how the student is doing, how the class is going, and what things the teacher can do to
improve the learning experience—if not with the current class, then in a future class. An
important outcome for students who are encouraged to journal as part of the learning (and
design) experience is that it helps them learn by improving their metacognitive skills and
deepening their critical thinking as they write and reflect (Sternberg, 1998). Along with
these outcomes, the undergraduates felt reflective journaling helped them assess their
progress, fill or connect gaps in their knowledge, and set personal learning goals.
ConclusionConclusion
This design case described a graduate instructional design studio that was used to
introduce undergraduate students to instructional design with a multifaceted, holistic, and
applied approach. First, the course was analyzed through the lens of two pedagogical
frameworks. The first was Kolb’s ELT, which includes concrete experience, reflective
observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation (Burns & Danyluk,
2017; Cherrez & Nadolny, 2017; Davitadze et al., 2022; Kolb, 1984; Morris, 2020). The
second was Gibbon’s (2001, 2008) seven principles of the MCI, such as experience with
models, problem solving, denaturing, sequence, goal orientation, resourcing, and
instructional augmentation (McDonald, 2018).
Within the context of these theories, this article described four learning interventions used
in the course to create a holistic experience: (1) authentic instructional design team
projects for clients, (2) training from field experts, (3) an experiential out-of-state trip, and
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(4) reflection journals. These interventions, along with the opportunity for undergraduates
to work with graduates, allowed this course to fulfill the expected outcome of introducing
undergraduate students to instructional design in a multifaceted, holistic, and applied way.
Each of these interventions also led to their own specific outcomes. The design teams, for
instance, introduced the students to the work of instructional designers, helped them apply
learning theories to their own designs, and allowed them to create an authentic product for
clients. The training sessions and seminars gave the students opportunities to network
with and learn from experts in the field on a variety of topics. The experiential grant trip to
San Francisco helped the students form relationships with their classmates and
professors, find inspiration for their professional futures, and contextualize design theories.
Finally, the reflective journaling helped the undergraduates assess their progress, construct
meaning, and improve their writing and critical thinking skills.
Working with graduate students provided a rich learning experience for each of the
undergraduate students, as well as two other opportunities—namely, the opportunity for
graduate students to mentor undergraduate students and the opportunity for faculty to
take feedback to improve future offerings of the course. This class, capstone experience,
and learning studio experience not only introduced the undergraduate students to
instructional design principles and practices, but also linked them to fellow students
(undergraduate and graduate) and faculty, with whom they spent a semester working on
real-world instructional products. The student experiences described give motive to provide
future students with similar applied and experiential learning opportunities that draw from
multiple learning frameworks.
AcknowledgementsAcknowledgements
We thank the BYU McKay School of Education for providing the setting, technology,
and other resources needed to make the learning environment created in the course a
reality. Additionally, we acknowledge the mentoring by and support of Jason
McDonald, Peter Rich, Charles Graham, and Scott Howell. They put in countless hours
of research and devotion to creating this unique learning experience and are already
planning to make refinements as a result of this case study the next time they teach it.
Finally, we would like to thank the gracious donors that provided the funds for the
experiential grant trip to California. Their contributions allow students to experience
learning in novel and meaningful ways. 
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Stull Zundel, R., Sowards, W., Howell, S. L., & McDonald, J. K. (2022). Introducing
Undergraduates to Instructional Design in a Graduate Studio: An Experiential,
Model-Centered Approach.
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https://dx.doi.org/10.51869/113/zshm123
William SowardsWilliam Sowards
William Sowards is a master’s student at Brigham Young University’s Instructional
Psychology and Technology program. He is interested in the application of
gamification to increase motivation in learning among various age groups.
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Scott L. HowellScott L. Howell
Scott L. Howell is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Brigham Young University.
He has previously served as the Director of the Salt Lake Center and the Director
of Evening Classes at BYU.
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Jason K. McDonaldJason K. McDonald
Dr. Jason K. McDonald is a Professor of Instructional Psychology & Technology
at Brigham Young University. He brings over twenty years of experience in
industry and academia, with a career spanning a wide-variety of roles connected
to instructional design: face-to-face training; faculty development; corporate
eLearning; story development for instructional films; and museum/exhibit design.
He gained this experience as a university instructional designer; an executive for
a large, international non-profit; a digital product director for a publishing
company; and as an independent consultant.
Dr. McDonald's research focuses around advancing design practice and design
education. He studies design as an expression of certain types of relationships
with others and with the world, how designers experience rich and authentic ways
of being human, the contingent and changeable nature of design, and design as a
human accomplishment (meaning how design is not a natural process but is
created by designers and so is open to continually being recreated by designers).
At BYU, Dr. McDonald has taught courses in instructional design, media and
culture change, project management, learning psychology, and design theory. His
work can be found at his website: http://jkmcdonald.com/
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  • L Nadolny
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Model-centered instruction
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Gibbons, A. S. (2001). Model-centered instruction. Journal of Structural Learning and Intelligent Systems, 14(4), 511-540.
Model-centered instruction, the design, and the designer
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Howell is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Brigham Young University. He has previously served as the Director of the Salt Lake Center and the Director of Evening Classes at BYU
  • L Scott
Scott L. Howell is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Brigham Young University. He has previously served as the Director of the Salt Lake Center and the Director of Evening Classes at BYU.