May 12, 2022

Hacking Instructional Design, a must-read for any educational leader (Opinion)

As instructional leaders, it is our duty to know how best to lead our learners. Often we get bogged down in content-related challenges when ultimately the adjustments need to be instructional.

Whether you are an educational coach, a teacher or a leader, Hacking Instructional Design: 33 Amazing Ways to Create a Contemporary Curriculum is a great book to keep on your desk handy when it comes time to provide feedback or take a risk with a new strategy.

This easy-to-read book takes a slightly different spin on a familiar structure to maximize its usefulness. You don’t have to read this book for it to make sense, but it doesn’t hurt if you do.

The book is organized by “hacktions” or “a range of Hacks that seek to simplify a previously complicated thing or act” (Fisher and Fisher 21).

Foundational hacktions focus on the foundations of the curriculum like understanding the standards and aligning instruction and assessment to the appropriate standards to develop excellent learning goals and targets before students even arrive.

Instructional hacktions are those that occur with course design such as prior knowledge, multiple modalities, inquiry design, assessments, and course experiences.

Engaging hacktions focus on motivation, wonder, and creativity to ensure the deepest level of learning for all students.

Contemporary hacktions focus on what interests the modern student and give teachers the opportunity to discover new things.

Blueprint hacktions work on building plans and developing new “cultures around curriculum and assessment.”

The book covers 33 distinct hacks to improve student learning. Each hack addresses a specific problem teachers may have and provides a simple solution to make learning more robust in every teacher’s space. The various strategies and solutions are research-based, involving many well-known leaders in their fields: Bloom, Jacobs, Marzano, etc. (There’s a great list of references at the end for future reading if you want to dig deeper.)

Plus, Anglers is offering bonus materials filled with reprintable templates for teachers and students, and a study guide to help read the book with a small group. Some of my favorite organizers and templates are for breaking norms and setting goals. Depending on your particular needs, the book is sure to have something different for every reader.

As an educational coach and leader, it’s always great to have a resource that can sit on your desk and answer so many questions, just from a scan. The chapters are short and readable even for the busiest educators.

Instructional design doesn’t have to be complicated; it is sometimes deceptively simple. Do what is necessary and don’t complicate things.

So if you’re looking for an easy-to-read, reference must-have, pick up a copy of this valuable book.

Where do you need a fresh perspective on instructional design? Please share