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Become an IDOL Podcast 100: Leading is Teaching with Dr. Dwayne Wood

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Guest: Dr. Dwayne Wood

In this episode of the Become an IDOL podcast, Dr. Robin Sargent interviews Dr. Dwayne Wood about leadership and teaching. 

Tune in to find find out:

  • How leadership and teaching are interchangeable concepts based on his military and educational background

  • Examples of leadership principles and qualities that can be applied to effective teaching and instructional design

  • How experiential learning techniques can be used in both leadership development and education, with a focus on practical application and embracing failure as a learning opportunity

Listen to this episode below: 

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Connect with Dr. Dwayne Wood on LinkedIn

Are you looking for a no-nonsense formula for creating engaging courses and training? Check out my new book, The Do It Messy Approach: A Step-by-Step Guide for Instructional Designers and Online Learners (IDOLs) on Amazon.


Enjoy the Episode Transcript below:
   

Dr. Robin Sargent 

Welcome to Become an IDOL. I'm Dr. Robin Sargent, owner of IDOL courses. This is the place where newbies come to learn and veterans share their knowledge. I have here with me today, Dr. Dwayne Wood, and Dr. Dwayne Wood reached out to me, he is a professor and a veteran and so much more so, Dr. Wood, would you please do a better job of introducing yourself and give us a little history of your background and what it is that you do today?

 

Dr. Dwayne Wood 

No, thank you, and I appreciate it. Yeah, so, you know, basically, not to be too full of myself and, you know, but so I did 22 years in the Army as an enlisted soldier. I ended up retiring as a senior enlisted and one of the things that I took away from that, and as I was going through the service, and I'm thinking about transition, I was like, I don't really know what I want to do when I grow up. And I kept reflecting on what I was doing in the service, and what does that mean afterwards and as an NCO or noncommissioned officer, you're a teacher, mentor, coach. And so education just aligned. And so I started pursuing education in education. While the same time I'm practicing it as in uniform and then afterwards, in my last tour, I got a chance to actually teach for the United States Army as an instructor in military science and U.S. military history, which that just solidified my decision to pursue education. And I was very fortunate in that the service has such a profound respect for education and promoting education, that I was able to get those credentials as I was in service, and then afterwards using my GI Bill to actually fund my doctorate, you know. So it was very, very much that aspect that I very much enjoyed. And then I've kind of, I've kind of bounced around. One of the things that I've done quite a bit is fulfill some government contracts as an instructional systems designer. I was actually a government civilian at one point as a curriculum developer, and I've been doing that role and I've been with National University. I was actually a learning experience designer and LXD at one point for them, and then transitioned to an associate professor in the Masters of Instructional Design and Educational Technology, which is, I love that aspect, being able to work with students and talk about education. And recently, I've given, been given the opportunity to actually conduct research working with artificial intelligence and how it gets implemented and used within an educational context. So that's been very, very rewarding. So kind of, in a nutshell, that's kind of, that's kind of, me.

 

Dr. Robin Sargent 

You have such a rich history and so many different aspects of the educational world, right, the education in the military, the formal higher learning education and before we started pressing record, there's something really interesting that you said, and I think this is kind of the overarching theme of what we want to talk about, and that is that leadership and teaching are the same thing. Will you explain what it is that you mean by that, and kind of how you came to that?

 

Dr. Dwayne Wood 

Yeah, you know, so again, you know, my military background and my military experience kind of formulated that very much so in that, you know, when I was a young leader, one of the things that I looked for was a mentor, and how do I shape my leadership philosophy so I can be the most effective in my leadership? And one of the individuals that I kind of latch on to was George C. Marshall. Most people know him from the World War II era, was the General of the Army and then Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, but he had nine principles of leadership, and one of those aspects was a leader as a teacher. And that started me thinking, especially as I was going through experience and thinking, you know, that's not just one way. That's reciprocal. You know, a leader is a teacher, and a teacher is a leader. And then when I started thinking about, especially in military terms, and trying to, like, figure this out, in my head, I'm like, you know, that third grade teacher that's in the classroom, that's your tactical leader, right? They're there where the rubber meets the road, they're getting the job done, and they're exercising those leadership skills. And then we, of course, we have leaders of leaders, right? Your principal is the leader of the- I mean, that kind of makes a little more sense, but if you think about it, I think in the broader terms, and you back out a little bit and think this is a bigger picture, what's the goal of leadership and what's the goal of teaching and I think you'll come to the realization that they're both a change in behavior. So how do you achieve that change in behavior? Well, if you think about some leadership tools and stuff you've seen or practiced, think about well that could be used in a classroom. Very much the same and same way, so if I'm a teacher and I've been trained and educated all these different techniques and how to transmit knowledge and application. Well, I can use that as a leader. The techniques are slightly modified and you know, you and I had talked about, I said I had developed my leadership philosophy, and then I made my transition, and I become an educator, and I have to develop my teaching philosophy, or in my instructional design, my instructional design philosophy. And I looked at it, I was like, I just got to change a few words here. And my leadership philosophy became my instructional philosophy. Give you an example. One of my leadership philosophies is, I'm going to be, well, this was a military one, so I was, I'm going to be soldier centered. I'm focused on the well being of my soldier or person, individual, however you want to say it, you know now. Well, that easily translated to student centered, and then all the things that that means, right? So to me, they're exactly the same. We use different terminology to delay it, different methodologies. But you can take methodologies from either and I guarantee you can apply them in either context, and they will be just as effective.

 

Dr. Robin Sargent 

I want to know a little bit more, and I bet our listeners do too, Dr. Wood, what are some of those leadership principles or qualities that we can learn from you and then just see for ourselves, like how much they relate to-

 

Dr. Dwayne Wood 

Okay.

 

Dr. Robin Sargent 

Teaching and designing instruction?

 

Dr. Dwayne Wood 

No, that's fantastic. And some of this has to maybe do a little bit of philosophy, right? Where's my position in my leadership philosophy? And again, I kind of told you, all right, I'm person centered. And if I think about leadership, that's the way I think about it. Leadership is about people. That's separating it from management, which is about processes. I'm not worried about processes, right here, I'm worried about people. So in teaching, that's the same thing, right? It's people. I'm worried about the actual people. So it's, how do I change the behavior right that we're trying to get to to meet an objective. I have an objective right as a leader that I'm trying to get to, as a teacher, I have objectives that I'm trying to achieve. So it's the same way. I just have to apply a technique, and some of the philosophy is, well, I want my subordinate or my student to be able to do these tasks on their own right, with less and less guidance, so they can build self efficacy, be able to encourage that and do that. That's what I want to do. I want to build capacity in my leadership so my subordinates are able to advance and improve. It's the same thing, right? I'm doing the same thing. So one of the things, well, give them a task, and we could use the term of zone of proximal development, right? I'm going to give them a task that's well within their circle, and they may need a little bit of support from me as the leader, right? So because I want to challenge them, I want to get them a little bit outside that comfort zone, because what happens if they go outside their comfort zone and they don't get the support, they run back into the circle, and now they're afraid to go outside the circle again. We don't want that to happen. So I provide those supports as a leader to get them outside their comfort zone, and then what happens is I expand their comfort zone. Well, so let's take that same idea and apply it to a student. I give them a task that's within or just outside of their knowledge or skill base so they can practice and get better. I provide the supports scaffolding, right? Would be the educational term, so that they can expand their knowledge and skill circle. It's the exact same thing. And we could get into even more specific techniques in the classroom, type of things, and how I do that, but it's the same. I can apply the exact same thing in my leadership context. And how do I improve that individual in what they're doing? And I like to take again, I'm very much oriented towards the experiential learning aspect of it, in that I want to make not only in the classroom, but in the leadership one and it's, honestly, it's easier in the leadership one to make it truly authentic. You know, if I'm giving a task to somebody in my leadership scenario, it's probably work oriented, or what we're trying to achieve, right, so it's super authentic there. I need to be able to be, again, be available for supports to happen. In the teaching context. I got to make it more authentic, and I'm probably not going to be able to make it exactly, but I got to get it as close as I can, right, so we can make those connections. I like to say, and again, in adult education, right, this idea of transfer of training, or transfer of education, transfer knowledge, right, whatever you want to call it. I like to think of it as if it's if we're on the ground and there's a big canyon in front of us, right? That's the gap. It's hard for students to transfer, to get across, right? So my job is to fill in some of that, so it's easier for them to transfer that or get across that gap, and being as authentic as we can is one way to do that, right? I'm not going to completely close the gap. The student's still going to have to get a running start and jump, but they're more likely to make it.

 

Dr. Robin Sargent 

Yeah, those are good. And I also, like, kind of what you we were talking about earlier, too, and I really latched on to this. And I think it goes back to talking about the experiential learning and how important that is, and all the different roles that you had. And one of the things that you said, and I really want to capture it on this episode is training scars. Can we talk about- can you just tell our audience about training scars and what that means and how that relates to experiential learning and-

 

Dr. Dwayne Wood 

Yeah, so again, I picked up that term, and I can't remember I picked that term, but again, it stuck with me too so I was like, you know, I'm just, I'm just going to use it. So, the idea is that we want training always to be beneficial, right? We're trying to move towards providing you the skills and, you know, in military training, we're trying to get to that aspect of what we would call muscle memory, right? I don't have to put a lot of thinking involved in it, I'm not engaging my prefrontal cortex, I'm just performing the action or skill, because time is of essence, right? So when we think about that aspect, that's what we're trying to- but how we do the training can inject problems into that, not applying thinking. So one of the stories that's that I found, again, it may be apocryphal, but I think it illustrates what we're trying to do, and then I'll provide a real world example in my own experience too. The story goes that back in the 1970s there was two police officers that respond to a domestic response. It ends up being a shootout, and both police officers are killed. In the following investigation, they find that the police officers have spent brass casings, you know, spent rounds in their pockets, and it confused everybody, like, Why? Why did they stop during a firefight and pick up their spent casings and put them in their pocket. Come to find out, or at least, what the how the story goes is on their range, when they're doing training and engaging targets, as if they were engaging the bad guy or use of force, they have to stop and pick up their brass and put it in their pocket. That became a training scar that became ingrained in that process that bypasses the thinking part of the brain so it just happens. There's no thought to it. That was a negative consequence of that actual training event. In my own experience, when I was trained as a general combat soldier, we didn't change magazines unless every round was expended. Well, that can be a detriment, depending on your context. If I am supposed to provide covering fire for somebody to move, and my magazine's not completely empty, and my buddy starts to move, and I'm supposed to fire, and then I have to change a magazine. I've just let down my buddy. So I need to change the magazine when I need to change the magazine, not when it's empty. But that initial training I have taught me, I had to spend every round of my magazine, and that produced this kind of training scar that I had to be retaught later on, when it became when we actually were, that was a peacetime, when I was taught that it was combat time, when I was retaught to actually change a magazine, when you need to change it. So, you know, I think we have to be really careful and when we design this because especially in our higher risk education and training environments, right, where there's safety concerns, we have to have safety protocols and stuff, but we have to ensure there's a balance, right, and we have to ensure that what we're doing on the safety side is not going to negatively influence the actions when somebody actually has to perform it in the real world. And that's always a tricky balance to do. Now in our less higher risk or risk things again, try to make it as authentic as possible, so we don't produce in those aspects, those hiccups or training scars that someone will carry over to the real world, and it'll be a negative aspect of that training, instead of achieving the objective we're trying to achieve.

Dr. Robin Sargent 

Whenever you are designing your own instruction, are there any kind of methods that you use to look for training scars? Are you just aware of them? Like, do they really need to know this, or do they really, actually need to do this? What is it that you look for?

 

Dr. Dwayne Wood 

So, and I look at it, you know, and we could, we could talk like, you know, I'm gonna do this formal learning task analysis on top of this hierarchical procedural task analysis. Step one says, do this step two in the real world, that doesn't usually work. The context is so different. But I don't mean to say that it's not important to learn those things and understand those. I would actually say you need to have a deep understanding of those because you need to be able to modify those techniques to the real world context to still achieve the objective. So, and this is a little offside, but I'll get back. But one of the tenets that I like to say is that, what's the difference between an expert instructional designer and a novice? And the expert will tell you why they did something and how it influences the student achieving the objective. The novice just follows a process, right? So what I mean by that is, if you have this understanding when you approach any different context, you can factor in all those things. So, I like to start with the context. What does the context tell me? This could be stuff like organizational norms. What's the culture? Right. On top of the other things, like what we would typically understand in a learner analysis, right? What's prior knowledge, prior experience, the backgrounds and stuff. So we can use that in when we're designing to the specific aspect. But when it comes to the task, I like to know how it actually plays out in the real world. And I say that because there's sometimes this cognitive dissonance between how it's taught and the real world, and it's the idea of theory to practice. So I like to be practitioner focused. Yes, theories are great, but they're rarely ever gonna fit your context, right? I had one person tell me says, you know, every model's wrong. And I kind of think like, well, you know, there's maybe some truth there it. The models provide us a way to think about our context that we're in. Even teaching, I like to say someone says, you know, how many times have you taught this course? I'll say once. Because my audience has changed. I have to modify what I'm doing to meet the student where they're at, and that changes every course. So I've only taught this course once, right? It's the same idea in when I approach an instructional design project, what's the context? What am I working with? And if you tell me we're developing a training program for salesmen to interact with customers, right? Well, I want to see this happen in real life. Show me what happens. What are the cultural norms for the organization? How those get implemented in practice? Yes, I understand what theory says, and I'm going to apply that theory, and I'm going to make sure our students understand the theory, but I'm going to be focused on practition. How are we applying theory to practice? And to me, that is the challenge in education. I can give you all kinds of knowledge, and we could talk all day about all kinds of stuff, but it really means nothing if I haven't given you the tools to put it into practice. So that's what I like to look at. And honestly, sometimes when you think about training scars, we know a lot more now, just because you know research is much more, we doing this much more. But they're a lot of times they're completely unintended. So if you have a evaluation program, you have techniques that you've put in place to collect data, to interpret that data, to go back and revise. I  am a huge champion of the iterative agile approaches. You're never going to get a product right the first time. But get it into play, collect your data, interpret your data, make adjustments. Data driven decision making. That's what we have to get to, and that's something I would have in place. And a lot of places I've been, they don't do that. It's usually designing, design, what you're putting, put it into play, and we're good. And honestly, in a lot of a lot of organizations, they lean on training to solve problems that might not be a training problem. A lot of times it's a culture problem, but they lean on training because it's easier, right? It's a lot easier to do. So we're going to provide this training, and it briefs really well, but you don't see the behavioral changes afterwards, right? Because it's a culture issue. So there's some deeper things that have to be evolved in, and I like to talk about that as an instructional designer, sometimes you're delving into that and your needs and analysis and assessment, right? You're starting to find out, like the root cause of this is really not a knowledge or skill problem. This is a culture or leadership, right, leadership problem. So maybe we need to shift this a different way. And by all means, we're ready to support any kind of training or education capacity, but this is really more of a leadership organizational aspect. I got really off topic. I'm sorry.

 

Dr. Robin Sargent 

You did not. And as a matter of fact, I want you to share some of those things that people don't really hear about, like when you talked about the SERE school, and some of those experiential programs and methods that you've been exposed to, and that just if you share some examples, just, can help us even just see some examples of that application and the and the transfer.

 

Dr. Dwayne Wood 

Yeah. So again, I told you, I'm very like, I like the experiential learning model. And again, it's a model, not the model, right? So you need to make sure that whatever you're choosing fits the context and the content in the learner, right? All those things have to factor in. There's, there's an old model called the PRAT model that actually looks like the fire triangle, right? You know, in order to have a fire, you got to have a fuel source, oxygen and addiction, ignition. Well, the PRAT model says you got to have, you know, there's certain teacher context, context and that you got to have in order to have effective learning. So, I mean, when I think about, there is all these things we have to factor in to when we're doing this. But the experiential model, to me, especially in adult education, is so much more powerful, because every one of your students comes with experience. And it's a powerful learning tool. And it's already in their long term memory. It serves as a staging to hang new knowledge and experience. And so to give you an example, and if anybody's curious, is kind of listening, or Kolb is the researcher, the main researcher in experiential learning, you'll find, like his experiential learning model, there's some things that are a little I'm like, okay, yeah, he talks about the four quadrants and different learning preferences and stuff like that. But the actual sequences of how to accomplish a experiential learning cycle, I've found very effective. And it's flexible, so you can adapt it to whatever context and resources, right? And I'm going to give you extreme example. You mentioned SERE school, which in the Department of Defense. That's your survival of Asian resistance and escape. So that's your how to survive as a prisoner of war or as a hostage, right? You know, as a service member. So they take it in a very extreme experiential learning cycle, and I'll kind of just walk through that, and then we can kind of talk maybe specifics about each area. But the first thing you want to do in an experiential learning cycle is what they call a concrete experience. So being a POW was not a common experience among anybody, right? It's a good thing. That's a good thing, right? So we have to provide that experience. So what they do is your first thing you do, without training or anything, you're put into a POW scenario, full on scenario, you are in the role as a POW, and there's people with a role as your captor. And there's safeguards and safeties in place, right? It's not gonna, it's not replicating the Stanford Prison Experiment here. There are safety protocols and all that type of stuff. But what it does is it provides you the experience as close as we can within our safety, that balance right between safety and and authenticity. It provides that balance. So when we get done the second part of that is the reflection. And I like to think about and trying to think of the person's name. I think Edmund Burke said this. He said reading without reflection is like eating without digestion. So I would tell you, just replace reading with experience, right? So you have to have a reflective aspect. The student needs to reflect on what just happened. And this has so many benefits. You know, we talk about, like, differentiated instruction, like, how do I adjust the instruction so every student gets exactly what they need and challenges and stuff? Well, if you think about that experience, everyone's going to experience that a little bit differently based upon their pre experience coming into that. You know, their personalities, all that stuff comes into play, and they're going to develop their own personal lessons learned during that reflection period.That's going to get them aligned now, with everybody still meeting the same goal at the end. So this reflection period is really important. What I like to do, and when I use this model is I cycle through that reflection period multiple times. And some of that is, and I'm going to use a terrible analogy here, but you know, if you think about how the brain, right, they say neurons that fire together, wire together, right? And you know, how do you get, how do you get information to stay in the brain after it's wired? Well, I like to think about that is, if you, if I'm making a path between point A and point B in the jungle, and A is a knowledge piece, and B is a knowledge piece. I got to machete my way between the two points. Well, if I don't walk that path again, it overgrows. But if I walk it multiple times, that path stays, becomes enduring. So I like to think about that same way, with like concepts, right? So this reflection period's a great way to do that, because now it's an individual reflection on what happened. You've already differentiated instruction just by using that technique. And then the third phase is what they call GNI, or general new information. And that sounds pretty simple, right? I'm just going to provide you a bunch of information. It's a little more than that, because you need to make connections between the students experience and the reflection and this new information. Because what you're doing is you're forming those connections. There's this very- a lot of times concrete experience works the best if there's an emotional aspect to it, or maybe a psychomotor aspect to it, because now you've got more parts of the brain firing at the same time. So it's, it's the same concept, like, you know, you hear a song and a memory comes up. It's because that auditory was linked to that experience, right? It's the same kind of, you know, thought there. I went to SERE school 22 years ago, no more than that now, 28 years ago, I still remember it, right? It's still part, right? So that's how effective that was. But again, extreme example. The other part that kind of gets missed a lot of times when people put very nicely, people, when instructional designers, educators, try to use this model, they tend to skip what's called the develop. And the develop is really a simple, simple technique. It's, how are you going to use this in the future? How are you going to apply this? Make the student take ownership of it, right? Because if they take ownership of it, it's going to stay with them. And that's an important step, and I've seen it done. Novice users of this experience usually just pose that question, right? They just pose the question like, oh, how you think you're going to use this? And, well, that's okay, but it's not going to produce what you want. But what if you put in a no stakes scenario, or maybe there's a true, authentic aspect of a project that's a piece of this, right? And you can build into that, that which you build on further and other lessons and applications. So be a little more holistic in how you're achieving an objective. That's where I think you can really get your bang for your buck, and not just asking for that initial reflection. Yes, that's a great step. That's a great way to start, but it needs to be fully integrated now where the student goes from realization of how they're going to use it. To using it in that capacity that they described. That's that transfer of training. I've just closed that gap for more, so that it's easier to transfer to the real world.

 

Dr. Robin Sargent 

What are some of the ways that you get people to take ownership of continuing their application?

 

Dr. Dwayne Wood 

So again, this is going to sound maybe a little it's to be hands off. Is not the right word, but it's not to be the knowledge transmission. I like the idea of there's a spectrum. And I get this from, again, my military experience, we used to call it to call this a situated leadership style, right? You base your leadership style based upon the person you're trying to lead. And there's different categories. I think the same thing in teaching. Again, another connection between leadership and right? So if I evaluate my student, and I know that they don't have a lot of self direction, right, their their zone of proximal development is really small, I'm going to be more of an instructor. More of a facilitator. But if I've done the analysis, and I know that somebody's got a larger circle, they're a little more comfortable that I might shift to coach. And then maybe I got somebody that's pretty, pretty good with this. I'm going to shift the mentor, right? So, and each one of those has a different kind of what is needed from me to get you to the objective. Now this, this sounds like this. This is, this is fantastic. What do you do in practice? It's hard to do, especially if you got a class of 30, right? How do you do that in a class of 30, right? It requires more from the instructor, teacher, facilitator. However, we want to do it. And I used to tell my- at one point, I used to train army instructors, and had groups of instructors and, you know, and I used to tell them, look, if you feel like that, you are not doing anything in the classroom. You're probably doing something wrong, right? Because instructor has to be fully engaged all the time, right? To get those objectives to be truly student centered. We like to say that sometimes, but if you watch an action, we again theory to practice, right? Can you put your philosophy that you've stated in practice? That sometimes that's a lot easier said than actual done right, an actual application in the classroom, and I feel like I got off track. So please redirect me.

 

Dr. Robin Sargent 

You're not getting off track. And I also want to just point out, just so many times I think a lot of people think, oh, I have to give my learners a bunch of information. And then I have to put them in the practice opportunities. But just like the example that you show, and I think you even talked about it as you've got a room, but when you put them in the experience, you build a closet, and now you have a place to hang the information. And I just wanted to make sure that people really got that because, you know, it's something that I preach as well, and I love hearing you talk about, and, of course, seeing the examples from the different military schools and things like that. But put your people in the experience, or in whatever real world context that they're going to be in, and then you can hang the information on their experience, and they can reflect on it. And so I just wanted to summarize what you said.

 

Dr. Dwayne Wood 

Yeah, no, that's perfect. You said it much more articulate than I did, I think. But you know, to add to that, you know, one of the things that our culture, I think, that we grow up in, and how we're how we're educated stuff, is we're afraid of failure. And there's actually a fantastic book, and I wish I could just remember the name of the name in the book, but it's the idea of, like, we need to accept failure because it's a learning event. And I like the idea of this thing called productive failure. And I like to use productive failure as my concrete experience. I know the students are going to fail, but I want them to fail. Because we're going to build on that that just produced an emotional experience within the context that we can build on. It's the idea of, actually, I'm stealing this from another military member, General McChrystal. He's got a TED Talk that he talks about this. It's how to fail and not be a failure. Because in the older- when I first joined the military, we were the zero tolerance learning through humiliation type aspect, and it shifted. It changed. They figured out that that doesn't work. You can't lead through fear or teach through fear for very long, right? It's not sustainable. So he talks about this idea of building capacity and leadership, and one of the ways to do that is be able to accept failure but not accept that you're going to fail but not be a failure, and to build from there. And I think that's really powerful, not only in leadership, but in teaching. Because, again, right? The same thing. Sometimes, though, we have to be careful. Again, we have to fully understand our target audience. Maybe we have a target audience that can't really accept failure really well.

 

Dr. Robin Sargent 

Yeah.

 

Dr. Dwayne Wood 

So we have to know that, because if we go ahead and execute that, we may actually cause harm. And we don't want to do that right, so we have to be careful that maybe we have to build, we have to scaffold, right to get to that point. So again, we talk about all these different techniques and all these things we can do and strategies you can apply. Again, it comes down to knowing your context, understanding this- you got a toolbox that's got a lot of tools and understanding that I can pull the tools that'll work for the context that I'm working on, right? And I'm working on a car, which is my context. I know that this is metric, and I'm going to need X, Y and Z tools to work on this. That, to me, is the most powerful and probably in your experience. I know in my experience, a lot of times the needs assessment, needs analysis is skipped, right? Like, we don't need to spend the time and energy on that. We know we need this, and this is what we want students to do. Well, is it actually going to fix our problem? And I think there's a misconception there, and I'm kind of getting off topic again, but a misconception that a needs analysis, all that stuff, takes a lot of time. It has to be formal. It doesn't.

 

Dr. Robin Sargent 

Yeah.

 

Dr. Dwayne Wood 

It can be done. You and I talking for 30 minutes, and we just did a needs assessment, right? And now we have some context, and I like to take the difference of, is it an actual need, or is it a perceived need? Because in my experience, a lot of times perceived needs get head of the head of the class, and they get developed, and then you don't get the result you're looking for on your behavior or learning outcomes, because it was perceived. It wasn't an actual need. We didn't do the- we didn't pull the data and had the discussions to under truly understand where our students need was. Technology is a perfect example of this. How many times across school districts and organizations, they're like, we need this technology, they get it and then nobody uses it. One is because they don't understand how to use it, again here's a teaching leadership connection too. There's an old saying, motivation equals understanding, and it's reciprocal. So if I understand what I need to do, I'm more motivated to do it. And if I'm motivated to do it, I'm going to produce understanding, right? So it's a reciprocal kind of concept there. It's the same way when you talk about implementing these new things, there's got to be, you got to get buy in. It's a simple change management, right? Principal, there's got to be buy in or no one's going to do it. I had a student, tell me again, K through 12 student tell me, yeah, we, our school district, spent all this money on smart boards, and nobody uses them. Like, yeah. Because why? You know, we started, why didn't they use it? Well, there was no training on them, like they had no idea what. There was no like, hey, maybe you could be doing this in your classroom, this little more active learning versus a passive aspect. And you could do this, this, this, none of that happened. No one was asked. Again, the idea is, and this is an instructional design concept, at least in my mind, is you don't integrate technology just to integrate technology.

 

Dr. Robin Sargent 

Right.

 

Dr. Dwayne Wood 

Technology has to be integrated directly into the curriculum and have an impact on achieving the objective. And you know, in my military time, yes, we had some technology to do teaching and stuff, but it wasn't as effective as going outside and scratching in the dirt. Because that's what we were going to do in the real world. So authenticity, again. If that technology is not- you can't make those parallels. You can't make those connections to the authenticity or how it's improving the objective, the student learning objectives, again, being student centered when you're evaluating this, it's probably not going to be effective. It's going to be a waste of resources.

 

Dr. Robin Sargent 

Well, I have just really enjoyed hearing your stories and your thoughts Dr. Wood, so I always like to wrap up the episode with what is your best and final advice for those who want to become an IDOL? Those who want to become instructional designers and e-learning developers. I think you've talked a little bit about it, but I want you to give your, you know, your sage wisdom.

 

Dr. Dwayne Wood 

I would say, understand why you want to do it. And I'm going to say this, and this is going to sound it's going to sound bad, but people don't get into teaching and instruction because it makes a lot of money. You have to have- understand the why you're doing this and the why is your student? Well, at least in my mind, it's the student and it's making them successful. So I would say, reflect on why you want to do this, because that your reasoning. I would tell you to write out an instructional design philosophy, right? It doesn't have to be super specific and state, you know, I'm a construction trust, cognitive approach. It doesn't have to be any of that. It can be what is important to you and how instruction- reflect on things you've done in the past, education you've attended, what was good, what was bad, honestly, we learn most from sometimes our bad experiences, right? I'm never going to do that again, right? How do I- why is my philosophy different from that? And then think of how you would have put that philosophy in action. Then I would say, start approaching the professional development stuff. Once you have a concept of like, this is what I want to do, and this is why I want to do it, then start learning about all the different techniques and things. And there are a lot. I've been doing this for a couple decades, and I probably have a small percentage in my mind, of things that are available, especially in the technology space. Moore's Law, I think, is thrown out the window. It's not 18 months anymore. It might be 10 months. You know, the technology advances, and it's just going to get faster. So trying to keep up with that stuff is a difficult challenge, especially in our space as educators and instructional designers, especially instructional designers. I mean, think about LMSs in the last like five years. Look, look at the differences that happened just in the last five years, going from just a place to hang information to interactivity, right? And now we're talking about integrating AI, where a student will be able to interact with an AI bot, chat bot within the LMS.

 

Dr. Robin Sargent 

It's already there.

 

Dr. Dwayne Wood 

Yeah? So I mean this, well, yeah, Khan Academy has a Khanmigo. I don't know if I pronounce it right, but they have already put some of those, those again- It's just going to get faster and trying to keep up with that stuff. I'm sorry. That was again, another long winded answer. I'm sorry.

 

Dr. Robin Sargent 

No, don't apologize. No, I think it's really important, absolutely, that's one of the things that we teach as well in IDOL Academy, and that you have to find your why. Now I will disagree with you that some people do get into corporate instructional design for the money.

 

Dr. Dwayne Wood 

You're right. You're right.

 

Dr. Robin Sargent 

They're not going to higher education for the money.

 

Dr. Dwayne Wood 

Or K through 12. Well, you're right in the learning and development space. And honestly, I think sometimes in those those type of jobs, you also got to maybe have a little bit of human resource and business aspects. So, you know, when we talk about is maybe have some some, you know, now, I'm not telling talking about specifics, but understand the basic business process and basic human resource aspects, because a lot of those positions will fall under a human resource director, right? And you're oriented meeting versus learning objectives. You're oriented toward meeting organizational goals, which can equate to an ROI return on investment, right? That's where some of those differences, I think, play out.

 

Dr. Robin Sargent 

Oh yeah, for sure. We also focus on corporate understanding and business operations and those kinds of things, because I agree with you, it's absolutely important at sitting in that position, and a lot of times they're right underneath human resources and the learning and development. So, Dr. Wood, thank you so much for enlightening us about those comparisons between leading is teaching and just so much of what you've shared about experiential. Where can people find you? Like they want to learn more, they want to talk to you. They want to connect with you. Where should they find you?

 

Dr. Dwayne Wood 

So again, I'm an Associate Professor with NU, so you can find me there. You find me on LinkedIn, connect with me. More than willing to talk with anybody, especially about instructional design or education and teaching. Again, I started in teaching and then switched to instructional design, which I think is kind of important, because there's nuances, especially if you're an Instructional Designer for an in-person type training, there's nuances to transferring the design to the classroom. So you know, if you've done in the classroom, you kind of understand those nuances, and you can better prepare your whoever's going to teach whatever you're preparing, and you can provide for those nuances. So I think that's kind of important, but please, yeah, LinkedIn is probably the easiest way to connect with me.

 

Dr. Robin Sargent 

All right, thank you again, Dr. Wood. Thank you so much for listening. You can find the show notes for this episode at idolcourses.com. If you like this podcast and you want to become an instructional designer an online learning developer, join me in the IDOL courses Academy, where you'll learn to build all the assets you need to land your first instructional design job. Early access to this podcast, tutorials for how to use the e-learning authoring tools, templates for everything course building and paid instructional design experience opportunities go to idolcourses.com/academy and enroll or get on the wait list. Now get out there and build transcendent courses.


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