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Reality Check by I.D.: IT Titans

Reality Check by I.D.: IT Titans

Reality Check is a monthly look at the humorous side of e-learning. Contributed by I.D, an anonymous instructional designer. This month's column looks at the "messianic complex" of IT managers: They feel they are gifted geniuses and (more ominously for e-learning designers and developers) they come to feel that they have expert-level knowledge in every field, not just IT.
[thanks Stephen's Web]

Don Morrision: What Do Instructional Designers Design?

Don Morrision: What Do Instructional Designers Design?

I really enjoyed reading Don's presentation on the above topic. He touches many aspects of ID, like sequencing, that rarely get analyzed. Here's an anecdote from the article that I will be using often: Back in the 60s, French director, Jon-Luc Goddard was sitting on a panel of film luminaries at some or other film festival. A film critic on the panel felt obliged to defend traditional film narrative in the face of an onslaught by the French Nouvelle Vague, "Surely, Mr. Goddard", opined the critic, "A film needs a beginning, a middle and an end."

Pausing only long enough to flick the accumulated ash from his Gauloise, Goddard retorted, "... naturally I think a film should have a beginning, middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order."

This article is filled with such refreshing insights, including why Google is the best learning tool ever, and why ideas are more important in ID than the straight jacket fill-in-the-ADDIE-model process.
Note: Zip file (600Kb).

elearn Magazine: Predictions for 2004

elearn Magazine: Predictions for 2004

Instructional design will become learning design, bringing innovation and creativity to online courses much like the best teachers do in the classroom. Online courses will provide layers of information to encourage exploration, use rewards, surprises, and humor to increase engagement and enjoyment, and support peer learning so that students learn together as well as from each other. -- Lisa Neal

Contentious: Strong Finish: Writing Effective Conclusions

Contentious: Strong Finish: Writing Effective Conclusions

"In order to make things happen, people must read your document and thendo something with your information. For instance, they might use your document in making decisions, forming opinions, or influencing the opinions and decisions of others. They may follow your instructions to complete a task or assess a situation or option. They may alter their priorities. They may recognize new opportunities, problems, or risks. And so on. The "...and then do something" part is where your document's conclusion comes in. Your conclusion should move readers from information to action."

Workforce: What’s in Store for 2004

Workforce: What's in Store for 2004

"Although individual pieces of the puzzle in training and development have long existed--including classroom instruction, online training, applications for performance management and knowledge-management systems--it

Grant McEvan College: Criteria for Evaluating the Quality of Online Courses

Grant McEvan College: Criteria for Evaluating the Quality of Online Courses

"The criteria presented in this guide are based on the national and international experiences of staff in the Instructional Media and Design department at Grant MacEwan College. Although they were developed to assist educators in evaluating the effectiveness of online courses, they may also be used as guidelines for course developers."

Utah State Univ: Pitch Journal

Utah State Univ: Pitch Journal

"Pitch is a peer reviewed online journal in Instructional and Learning Technology. Articles in Pitch focus on pedagogical, technological, sociological, legal, and moral issues related to opening access to educational opportunity. Example topics include reusable media/learning objects, scalability issues, informal social networks for supporting learning, legal schemes for the sharing of open educational materials, and the right to education. Pitch is run by the OSLO Research Group at Utah State University."

Academic Technologies for Learning: The Web: Design for Active Learning

Academic Technologies for Learning: The Web: Design for Active Learning

"This handbook will present the idea of interactivity as it applies to a cohesive design including high interface, content, and instructional design."
[thanks elearnspace]

BodyWorlds and Learning

BodyWorlds and Learning

I went for Prof. Gunter Von Hagens' fabulous BodyWorlds exhibition yesterday and was amazed at his work and his collection. Most of what I knew only through words and descriptions were laid out explicitly in front of me. For example, I only knew through imagination what a knee cap prosthesis might look like, but looking at a knee cap prosthesis in front of me, along with all the muscle, bone, and tissue, gave me a different insight. But even with the explicit exhibits and the information cards, I would not have captured the entire essence of some exhibits if I did not happen to listen in to a doctor explaining the exhibits to his girlfriend. I found his explanations so interesting that I took his route and followed him till he became conscious of my omnipresence. Instruction and experience seem to take different routes in explaining. The informality of experience just seems to explain things a lot better, and at a higher plane too. We can call it the power of the narrative, or it just could be that we humans (me at least) are hardwired to make sense of the informal. We are sense-making creatures and thus thrive on fuzzy conditions that force us to make sense of the situation. Maybe that's why we consider the formal to be mundane. Maybe this is just another rant.

Open Source LCMS: ATutor

Open Source LCMS: ATutor

"Tutor is a Standards Compliant Open Source Web-based Learning Content Management System (LCMS) designed with accessibility and adaptability in mind. Administrators can install or update ATutor in minutes. Educators can quickly assemble, package, and redistribute Web-based instructional content, and conduct their courses online. Students learn in an adaptive learning environment."

Xerox PARC: Stolen Knowledge

Xerox PARC: Stolen Knowledge

Here's a quote from the classic paper by John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid on the difference between learning and instruction: "The alternative view sees learning as part of an inevitably unfinished, but continuous process that goes on throughout life. Each event, circumstance, or interaction is not discrete. Rather, each is assimilated or appropriated in terms of what has gone before. The process is not, then, like the addition of a brick to a building-where the brick remains as distinct and self-contained as it was in the builder's hand. Instead, it is a little like the addition of color to color in a painting, where the color that is added becomes inseparably a part of the color that was there before and both are transformed in the process. Thus, what is learned can never be judged solely in terms of what is taught."

David Wiley: The Future of Learning Objects

David Wiley: The Future of Learning Objects

Just attended a workshop by David Wiley titled, The Future of Learning Objects. David's presentation was, clean, simple, and surprising to many, very easy to follow. Most LO presentations tend to be very arcane, but his was very entertaining and engaging. Guess this says a lot of the person himself. Here are my takeaways:

Revised Category List

Revised Category List

I've revised the category listing on elearningpost -- found the last listing too narrow. Here's the new listing:

Denham Grey: Mapping knowledge

Denham Grey: Mapping knowledge

Denham Grey is sparking some interesting conversations at his blog, knowledge-at-work. The Knowledge Mapping piece strikes a chord with my own beliefs about "immersion"...

To appreciate knowledge gaps, you need to understand the personal networks and work context - This is impossible to get via a survey - it requires immersion

I recently took part in a sharing session at the E-learning Competency Center in Singapore. I tried to emphasize the need for Instructional Designers (I think 'Learning Designers' is a more fitting title) to do more "elicitation" during the analysis phase -- meaning that we should spend more time doing some first-hand information gathering and analysis rather than just repurposing raw PowerPoints and Word documents (second-hand material). I drew upon work done by David Snowden and Gary Klein on the difference between 'complex' and 'complicated' phenomena -- complicated acts can be analyzed piecemeal but complex acts like learning have to be experienced holistically.
Click here to view a recorded webcast of my presentation. (The second part of my presentation is about linking visual journalism to instructional design).

Stanford: Designing Effective Step-By-Step Assembly Instructions

Stanford: Designing Effective Step-By-Step Assembly Instructions

The "Design Principles for Assembly Instruction" in the PDF text are useful. The rest of the article describes a system for developing visual assembly instructions.

elearn Magazine: Is Instructional Design Becoming a Commodity?

elearn Magazine: Is Instructional Design Becoming a Commodity?

"Like some architects, IDs may have become their own worst enemies by spending too much of their time (and their clients

elearningpost: Interactive Visual Explainers

elearningpost: Interactive Visual Explainers

Peter J. Bogaards: The underlying thinking of how people learn, acquire knowledge, and understand

Peter J. Bogaards: The underlying thinking of how people learn, acquire knowledge, and understand

"The field of instructional design and technology is also valuable to the UX community, providing theories and knowledge on important aspects of human behaviour and the role technology plays influencing that behaviour. Two theories on how people learn with (information) artifacts we design, 'instructionalism' versus 'constructionism', are directly germane and very valuable for the UX community."

Learning Circuits: Strategies for Building Blended Learning

Learning Circuits: Strategies for Building Blended Learning

"There

elearnspace: If I Wanted to Make Money in Elearning… Here’s what I’d Do

elearnspace: If I Wanted to Make Money in Elearning... Here's what I'd Do

"A great product alone did not result in success. Neither did public awareness. Or superior instruction. Yet, people and organizations are making money in elearning. The revenue models are emerging - many innovative approaches have resulted in profits and promising careers. A strong commitment to listening to the "customer", experimenting with new ideas, going with the stream of how things work in the online culture, and a willingness to fail and learn are all needed. These are areas that I would explore if I were to focus on making money in elearning."

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