Instructional design in children’s ministries

The term “electracy” was a foreign term to me prior to this unit. However, I have been cognizant of its influence on education for quite some time. Electracy is defined as, “an ability to use technology to gather and reflect on the use of information for different purposes” (Erstad, 2003). Proficiency in this “literacy for a post-typographic world” that Erstad refers to is becoming a requirement for learners in the twenty-first century.

While learning domains remain constant, the modes in which concepts are learned certainly can be tailored to a given topic or lesson. As an instructional designer, I seek to continually evaluate and identify the most effective learning processes that I’ve used. I look to present content in the most relevant and applicable means possible. I agree whole-heartedly with the statement that Randy Christensen made this last week at the Assemblies of God National Children’s Ministries Conference when he said, “People equate the relevancy of the message with the relevancy of the method.” In the realm of religious education especially, now more than ever, relevancy is a crucial element to effective instruction. A relevant and balanced approach in instructional design is imperative.

Erstad summarized the necessary balance between formal learning contexts and more informal learning processes by stating, “The relationship between formal and informal ways of learning needs to be highlighted more strongly to create meaningful learning environments for students” (Erstad, 2003, p.26). The task for any instructional designer is to look to develop balance in the design and then for educators to maintain that balanced approach through the instruction. The reality is that there is no single design or approach that will meet the needs of all students. Flexibility on the part of all parties in the instructional design and delivery processes will ensure that an environment of customization is available.

Reference:

Erstad, O. (2003). Electracy as empowerment: Student activities in learning environments using technology. Nordic Journal of Youth Research, 11(1), 11-28.

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