Distance Education

Instructional Design Part 5 of 5 Multimedia Menagerie: Identifying the value of adding multimedia

The trend toward the addition of multimedia elements to websites is on the rise due to increased access to the tools available for creation of such elements, the ability of the Internet to support media, and the demand of the user for “bells and whistles.” But, before you make the decision to add multimedia to your website, it is very important to identify whether or not media will add “value” to the design by accentuating the content for the benefit of the user.

Instructional System Design (Part 4 of a 5 part series)

How, What, and Why We Evaluate

“If there is not an inherent attracting power in the material, then… the teacher will either attempt to surround the material with foreign attractiveness, making a bid or offering a bribe for attention by ‘making the lesson interesting’; or else will resort to…low marks, threats of non-promotion, staying after school…. But the attention thus gained…always remains dependent upon something external….True, reflective attention, on the other hand, always involves judging, reasoning, deliberation; it means that the child has a question of his own and is actively engaged in seeking and selecting relevant material with which to answer it.” –John Dewey, 1915

like to think about how far education might come if instruction is built more around Dewey’s words and less around standardized testing. We must often build instruction upon the needs of our organizations rather than the needs of our learners. As you begin to pull everything together for your project, remember Dewey’s image: the child with a question of his own, seeking answers. Will that describe your learners?

Instructional System Design (part 3 of a 5 part learning series)

“The Internet is perhaps the most transformative technology in history, reshaping business, media, entertainment, and society in astonishing ways. But for all its power, it is just now being tapped to transform education… There is no going back. The traditional classroom has been transformed”.
Report of the Web-based Education Commission to the President and the Congress of the United States, December, 2000

Lesson design presents that difficult melding of technology, curriculum, and learner needs and styles (along with countless other things). It involves the demanding delicacy of making everything work together for the learning of the student.

Instructional System Design ( part 2 of a 5 part Learning Series)

“It’s not what the vision is, it’s what the vision does.”— Peter Senge —

“If you don’t know where you’re going,” the Scarecrow said to Dorothy,
“it doesn’t matter which road you take.”— The Wizard of Oz —

In their book The Systematic Design of Instruction, Walter Dick and Lou Carey list three reasons for using a systems approach to design.

Exploring Learning Theories (Part 1 of a 5 part series)

In my more jaded and skeptical years, I saw discussions of learning theories in the same light as the early theological discussions concerning the number of angels that could dance on the head of a pin. It was often hard to see the relevance to actual teaching and learning.

Having been sufficiently socialized, however, I now feel a good theory provides insight into the learning process, and it provides a useful working metaphor. As Moore & Kearsley (1996) point out in Distance Education: A Systems View:

“A theory is a representation of everything that we know about something. Theory gives us a common framework, a common perspective, and a common vocabulary that help us ask questions in a sensible way and make sense of problems.”

So what changed my mind?