A Practitioner Guide on Backward Design Application for Online Aviation Training in Higher Education

A Practitioner Guide on Backward Design Application for Online Aviation Training in Higher Education

Felix Brito (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide, USA) and Monica Surrency (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 44
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1306-4.ch009


The aviation industry experienced a significant growth over the years. Such growth was supported by a highly knowledgeable workforce, which presented various skills, including problem-solving and decision-making. The need for a highly skilled workforce led an aviation-focused university located in southeast USA to provide students with learning opportunities to hone those skills to succeed in the industry. This chapter explains the process through which those learning opportunities are created. It presents a practitioner's guide on how that university is designing online courses for the aviation industry. The entire design and development process and the theories supporting it, such as Backward Design and authentic learning, are thoroughly discussed. The chapter also presents several challenges negatively impacting the successful design of those courses and how those challenges can be mitigated so instructionally-sound online courses are created.
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Literature Review

This section of the chapter explores the theoretical foundation upon which the online course development in question is centered. It covers the evolution of the aviation and aerospace industry and the role training played in such evolution. Additionally, this section of the chapter explains how the needs of the industry defined the workforce skills underpinning the industry evolution and how the university developed training focused on those skills. Lastly, this section explains the theories and practices adopted in the design of the university training – including Backward Design, Gagné’s Nine Events of Instruction, Keller’s ARCS Model, and authentic learning – and describes how those theories and practices provide foundation and structure to the instructional design process of aviation training.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Module Objectives (MOs): Granular learning goals for the weekly course modules that are derived from the learning outcomes (LOs)

Learning Outcomes (LOs): The overarching goals of the course which are predetermined and approved in the Master Course Outline (MCO) prior to the course development process.

Kickoff Meeting: Initial meeting of the design process for any new course developers, or course developers who have not developed a course within the past year. Webinar meeting that goes over the main points of the course development process from a big picture perspective.

Course Design Worksheet: Seminal document for the course development process that is based on the Backward Design approach. Course developers complete this worksheet near the beginning of the course development process. The worksheet serves as the foundational outline for the course.

Instructional Technologist: Member of the Instructional Technology and Media team within the Instructional Design and Development (IDD) team. Creates graphics, presentations, and other interactive learning assets for the online courses in collaboration with the course developer and instructional designer.

Academic Review: Quality assurance review conducted by the academic chairs at the midpoint and end of the course development process to ensure the course is meeting the needs of the degree program and expectations of the college dean.

Design Meeting: Brainstorming meeting between the course developer, instructional designer, Sr. Instructional Designer and/or Director, and the academic chairs. The concerned parties in the meeting discuss the details and logistics of the course development process, the course developer’s vision for the course, timeline and important due dates, and the best practices and principles of instructional design models.

ARCS Model: Learning model that consists of four different categories of motivational concepts which include attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction ( Keller, 2008 ).

Master Course Outline (MCO): The official approved document that contains the course description, course goals, and learning outcomes (LOs).

Course Developer: Faculty member that serves as the subject matter expert (SME) and collaborates with the instructional designer to create the online course.

Design Review: Quality assurance review conducted by the Sr. Instructional Designer at the midpoint and end of the course development process to ensure the course is meeting the following: Proper objective and assessment alignment, appropriate workload for the weekly modules, appropriate authentic learning assessments, the course follows sound pedagogical and instructional design best practices, the course functions and flows logically from the student perspective, and the design of the course content and instructional materials adheres to the departmental style guide (which covers accessibility, web design, and multimedia best practices).

Backward Design: Framework to plan and design curriculum by focusing on what the learner will be able to do upon the successful completion of the learning experience ( Wiggins & McTighe, 2006 ).

Instructional Designer: Member of the Instructional Design and Development (IDD) department that collaborates with the course developer to create online courses. Serves as the project manager, coordinator, designer, developer, and provides guidance for pedagogically sound course design based on instructional design principles.

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