S. Hayes project portfolio


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Instructional Design Project: Developing Learning Communities Through Blended Learning Activities

Instructional Problem

My institution has a long tradition in which the majority of faculty has traditionally worked with adult students via guided independent study. These faculty typically meet with their students every two or three weeks throughout the term. With the advent of new technologies for teaching and learning, there is an opportunity to encourage faculty to begin to explore how blended learning can be used to design and integrate selected online learning activities to enhance and enrich their students’ learning experiences outside of scheduled meetings.

Needs Assessment

  • About the learners: This information is based upon interviews with faculty chairs and deans, at the college’s seven regional centers and conversations with the director of the college’s Center for Mentoring and Learning, as well as faculty feedback from previous workshops on the topic of blended learning. Workshop participants come from a wide range of subject disciplines, have different experiences in using technology to support teaching and learning. Participants will be drawn from the college’s regional centers located throughout NY. These faculty typically have full schedules, limited travel budgets, and are unable to commit to a multi-day workshops. By making this a voluntary workshop, that combines face to face and online sessions, we hope to attract intrinsically motivated participants.
  • The nature of what will be learned: Participants will become familiar with the principles of learning communities, and the basic principles and practices of blended learning. They will use this knowledge to work with a faculty instructional technologist to plan and develop a learning activity that integrates both sets of concepts. At the same time, participants will be encouraged to examine their beliefs and attitudes as a way to draw connections between their current practice, the values of the college and new ways to engage and deepen student learning.
  • Choice of learning methods: This course is grounded in constructivist approaches. Participants are provided with the opportunity to solve a problem within an authentic context; explore a solution within the context of a “big idea” namely, learning communities while using blended learning instructional design principles. Further, given the different disciplinary expertise among the faculty, there are rich opportunities for multiple viewpoints and solutions to emerge through group interaction, collaboration and reflection.

Task Analysis

Purpose: To introduce participants to the principles and practices of learning communities and blended learning as a way to guide the design of online learning activities to support and sustain the learning of these students who either work alone, or meet infrequently through study groups or residencies during the term.

By the End of This Course Participants Will:

  • Demonstrate use of concepts of learning communities and blended learning to guide the creation of an online learning activities to increase student interaction and deepen learning
  • Consider further exploration of similar activities to create a blended study that complements the college’s primary modes of study

Target Objectives

Unit One: What are Learning Communities?

  • Identify and use principles and practices of learning communities
  • Explore the shift in roles for instructors and students in learning communities

Unit Two: Designing for Blended Learning

  • Understand blended learning as an instructional delivery mode
  • Identify the benefits of blended learning and how this approach can enrich the college’s regional center modes of study
  • Identify and use basic principles of instructional design as they relate to learning objectives and assessment.

Unit Three:How Can Learning Activities and_Technology Contribute to Building Community?

  • Understand how different types of learning activities can be adapted to build learning communities and support collaboration
  • Examine how technology can be used to enrich learning activities and enable student interaction
  • Begin to apply these principles to planning an online learning activity

Unit Four: Wrap Up

  • Apply knowledge of learning communities, blended learning design and learning activities to develop one online learning activity in consultation with a faculty instructional technologist
  • Consider further exploration and use of similar learning activities to develop a full blended study in the future.

Entry Prerequisites

  • Familiarity with using a web browser, accessing Internet and navigating to a web address
  • Basic keyboarding skills to navigate an online Wiki course
  • Prior experience with teaching at least one of the regional center’s modes of study: guided independent study, study groups or residency.

Instructional Curriculum Map

File:Hayes ICM Rev4.pdf


  • Bielaczyc, K., & Collins, A. (1999). Learning communities in classrooms: A reconceptualization of educational practice. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional design theories and models, Vol. II. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Brooks, Catherine E. (2010). Toward "Hybridised" Faculty Development for the Twenty-First Century: Blending Online Communities of Practice and Face-to-Face Meetings in Instructional and Professional Support Programmes. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 47(3), 261-270.
  • Diaz, V., Garrett, P., Kinley, E. Moore, J., Schwartz, C. & Kohrman, P. (2009). Faculty Development for the 21st Century, EDUCAUSE Review, 44(3) 46-55.
  • Misanchuk, M. & Anderson, T. (2001). Building community in an online learning environment: communication, cooperation and collaboration. Mid-South Instructional Technology Conference, 8 – 10, April 2001, Murfreesboro, TN.
  • Palloff & Pratt. (2005). Collaborating online: Learning together in community. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.