Residence Life

Mod(u)le the Way

One of my favorite things about designing trainings within a learning management system is the ability to break the learning process down in modular form. In my previous post, I wrote about instructional design, but now, I am going to show you a little bit of what I put together.

This is the first module that student will see. This module explains the why and some of the features of Roompact and the learning outcomes of this training.

Start with the WHY and Begin with the End in Mind

As a professional working in student affairs, these two prompts are what I am consistently trying to do with everything item I work with. Similarly, in the Instructional Design world, the are the most helpful paths when working on a project: why am I doing this and what do I want the end result to be. In my project of creating a training tool for student staff members, the why (to fill a training need for student staff) and the end (to have them be able to successful navigate this new software) were the two things I kept in my mind as I tried to figure out the best way to fulfill both needs.

Building the module

In Canvas, IU’s learning management system, I thought about what would be the most engaging elements for this group of students. Sure, I could have done a powerpoint in a lecture setting, but that’s the way they’ve always done it here, and we all know I just simply couldn’t do that. So, I decided to create engagement tools to scaffold as student go through the training module. In my modules, there are typically several elements: a video, a do it yourself in test mode, and a short reflection or activity that they need to upload. I also programmed the module so that students MUST complete module 1 before moving onto the next.


Accountability is my favorite word in student affairs land and luckily, Canvas already comes with that piece. When a supervisor (this case, a Residence Life Coordinator) logs on to this Canvas site, they will be able to ”grade” modules and offer feedback to the student staff member who submitted their assignments. They can also see who has accessed the assignment and who did not.


  1. Write out your modules in story-board form. This really helps to capture the whole “begin with the end in mind” concept. For this module, I wrote out an outline/storyboard and it helped me to visualize my outcomes.

  2. Make the activities in this module as engaging as possible and try to be creative. I needed to create several videos using Adobe Spark and Kaltura (both courtesy of IU) because I needed to walk student through how to complete a task. In one of the modules, I requested that students practice facilitating a roommate contract in trios and then uploading that video as an assignment.

Have you created a module for training? Share some awesome ideas that you’ve done to make your trainings more engaging!

What the h*ck is Instructional Design

What the h*ck is Instructional Design

Simply put, Instructional Design (ID) is a systematic way of creating an instructional tool (trainings) to make learning more efficient and ensure the highest quality of learning. Not a tall order at all.

Instructional designers are the professionals who are responsible for creating these tools. Working with a business or a division, they can create training to fill in performance gaps or to rethink the way training was done within an organization.

Why should I care about Instructional Design

Take a moment to think about a training that you had to map out and execute. What process did you take to get there? How did you know what you were placing in the training actually works? How did you know it was engaging? Many of us in student affairs are responsible for mapping out trainings for our students and staff members. However, how exactly do we know how to create an efficient training and ensure the highest quality of learning?

Let’s face it, most of us learned how to execute a training process by using the same template as the year before, which may or may not have been the best. An Instructional Design approach can help bolster your trainings by being intentional about how to engage the specific audience.

Example: Creating a module for teaching Roompact

If you head on over to the “About Me” tab and hit the “Projects” link on this page, you will see an exploratory map of a training I put together to introduce new software to our Student Staff members. This map is built into Indiana University’s Learning Management System (LMS), Canvas. Each point on the map is a different module, which scaffolds exercises within each module. This way, a student will garner foundational information that will help guide them as they move through out the module. By the end, the student should have a clear understanding of how to use the software. There is an assessment piece in the last module (the treasure chest) so that I can know what worked and what did not work. This is an example of how instructional design can be beneficial and engaging to teach our students in an engaging manner.

ID can be a very useful tool when working with trainings. I am beginning my journey to figure out how to fill in performance gaps in some of the trainings that we do in order to best meet the goals of my department and to ensure an engaging training for students.