My design philosophy is simple and easy to follow, inclusive user experience. Far too often I see convoluted online courseware that is both lengthy and hard to navigate; my philosophy is to reduce the clicks and have elegant design features.
Another priority of mine is making sure the client, faculty, or subject matter expert receives the course they envisioned. That sometimes means knowing where to push for changes and when to accept design or pedagogical choices that I do not agree with. When the client or faculty is pleased with the outcome, I feel that my job is half complete; the other half is how the end users feel about the learning product. I strongly believe in making updates to content and honing the courseware after it is implemented based on user feedback and data.
I am also a strong advocate of Universal Design for Learning. Being a subject matter expert in designing eLearning for people with disabilities, I have seen the benefits of inclusive designs. Traditional classroom education is often geared toward specific learning styles. Through the use of technology, I believe that we can design courseware that is more inline with the principles of Universal Design for Learning. I have been a representative for UC Online with University of California Electronic Accessibility Leadership Team for the past 3 years. Our mission is to ensure that online content is accessible to all students, including those with physical and learning disabilities. Our goal is to have all online content accessible to 508 level AA compliance.
Online education will never fully replace the traditional classroom, but I believe that for certain learners, it is a better fit than the classroom. Through the use of multimedia, video, interactive learning modules, and live conferencing tools, I believe that technology enhanced courses and can better serve a wider range of learning styles. For example, computer simulations can yield better learning outcomes for visual graphic learners. Videos with captions can help non-native English speakers understand the content of a lecture, and help students who are deaf or with hearing impairments. Text-to-speech technology in an LMS can help students who are blind, low vision, or students with dyslexia. My goal as an instructional designer is to improve learning outcomes for a wider range of learning styles, and for students with learning or physical disabilities through the use of technology.