Arguably the most important step in the LEARN model is envisioning.  This is what we like to call the “Blue Sky” step, and it illustrates the idea that we “start with yes” better than any other step in the model.

When we envision, we think about what the course can be, what we want it to be. What we wish it to be.

An engineering professor at Wichita State recently asked the instructional design team if they could build a course that would be as good as the MIT courses he’s taken online.  Rather than saying “wow, um, no…they have MIT support and MIT tools,” our design team said “tell me what that means to you.”

It turns out that he wanted two things above all: algorithmic functionality for math-based testing and a dynamic “feel” in the course.  He especially wanted to do things to foster student-to-student engagement.  And both of those requests are something that the IDT team can work with.

Photo by Bradley Witham
Photo by Bradley Witham

The envisioning step is fun.  It lets your team and your professors think about the very best possible outcome first.  Once that is sketched out, it becomes a goal.  More pragmatically, these blue sky designs help you identify possible tool needs, and the instructor requests become justifications for acquiring them.  So don’t skip envisioning.  It allows you to imagine the very best you can be, and that is an excellent place to start any conversation.