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Instructional Design for Inclusive Creativity, Engagement and Achievement

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 204C

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Professor Emeritus. Lehigh University
Garrigan Foundation
Scott has worked with students and teachers as K-12 teacher, district tech director, and university professor of instructional technology. He's presented over 35 sessions at ISTE/NECC and 70 others helping thousands of teachers from Seattle to Shanghai. He specializes in introducing teachers to new technologies and in helping them integrate free and flexible technologies into their classrooms. Scott has a long interest in how children learn, and he infuses his technology approach with cognitive neuroscience discoveries. He is Emeritus Professor of Instructional Technology at Lehigh University. He also is the founder of the Garrigan Foundation.

Session description

Traditional instructional design hasn’t engaged or raised achievement for diverse students. The presenter, a K-12 teacher and instructional design professor, demonstrates practical approaches combining instructional design with cognitive neuroscience about how kids learn. He’s used techniques of the “teacher as designer” to promote creativity and engagement from elementary to grad school.

Purpose & objective

Purpose: Instructional Design is generally taught to teachers and curriculum designers as a theory of a sequence of “design” steps. The focus has traditionally been on the CONTENT and not on the STUDENT. Traditional instructional design has been highly effective in military training and in business/industrial training of well-defined skills for adults, but it has never met our expectations in the K-12. Using a “pretest” doesn’t adequately categorize the differences in learning abilities and background knowledge that a good teacher uses automatically. Wiggins & McTighe attempted to address this issue with backward design, but the focus still made the student subservient to the content. This session will share teacher-designed methods for creating successful learning activities built on student engagement and creativity that produce dramatic academic achievement. The specific techniques and tools will be those I teach my grad students and those which I have used successfully in my teaching career.

Objectives: Participants will …
1. … recognize alternatives to traditional instructional design theories that focus on student differences and needs.
2. … experience specific examples they can apply to the design of their own activities, lessons, and units.
3. … consider elements of personal and cultural meaning for students in their instructional design.
4. … consider creative and student-produced elements in the design of their learning activities and assessments.

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3 min - Introduction
5 min - The incomplete state of contemporary instructional design (doesn’t include cognitive neuroscience)
8 min - The neuroscience of meaning that requires students to be at center of instructional design
8 min - Case studies of specific institutions from Pennsylvania and Washington to Middle East and Africa whose unique approach to instructional design results in dramatic student engagement and achievement
10 min - Specific demonstrations from elementary math, reading, social studies, and spelling
8 min - Specific demonstrations from secondary math, vocabulary, and other areas where students have difficulty
5 min - Specific examples from graduate course assignments and projects.
10 min - Q & A, evaluation

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Supporting research

I’ve taught Master’s and Doctoral Level courses in Instructional Design and have develop materials for classroom and industry based on these principles. I was trained on the models of Gagné, Dick & Cary, Keller, Reigeluth, Merril, and Wiggins & McTighe. The best reference for these theories is “Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology,” Reiser and Dempsey, 2017. Sadly, the only instructional design theorist who tried to break out into a better model was Dave Jonassen, who passed away too early. I build on Julie Dirksen’s model from her book, “Design for How People Learn,” and from a personal interview with her. To this background, I add a broad knowledge of cognitive learning science and experiences from 50 years of teaching from the elementary to doctoral level. What I will share is not a specific model, but rather successful approaches that really focus on student needs. I also published the following guide for instructional design of online activities: Garrigan, S. R., (July, 2018). “Evolving practice for training online designers and instructors.” In Handbook of Research on Virtual Training and Mentoring of Online Instructors. Keengwe, K. (Ed.), IGI. A contemporary reference for cognitive neuroscience contributions is Young’s “10 Mental Models for Learning Anything:”

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Session specifications

Instructional design & delivery
Grade level:
Skill level:
Curriculum/district specialists, Principals/head teachers, Teachers
Attendee devices:
Devices useful
Attendee device specification:
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
Nothing needs to be loaded in advance. If participants want to experience some hands-on activities, everything is a web-click away. Participant links will be provided but are not necessary.
Subject area:
ISTE Standards:
For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.