e-Learning Instructional Design Course

I thought I would brush up on my e-Learning Instructional Design skills so I took the ATSD e-Learning Instructional Design cbd products course taught by the wonderful Ethan Edwards of Allen Interactions.  One of the reasons I wanted to take it was I know Allen Interactions has some very great ideas about how e-Learning should be more engaging and participative for the learner.  I also wanted to learn more about “Leaving ADDIE for SAM” which is their Successful Approximation Model was of Instructional Design project management.  I had a wonderful time and below are my notes:

Successful e-Learning

Less is more, but don’t over simplify

Overwhelming negative feeling about e-Learning

Give the user control over the screen (i.e. Check screen with pop-ups is more efficient than several linear pages describing the content)

Learners want to finish as soon as possible

Design must focus on the learner, not the organization

A great learning environment should be experimental

Interactions designed for learning versus interactions designed for testing

Interactions designed for problem solving

Safety—Making mistakes

Individualization—how do I create an environment that listens to the learner?

Success = the right people to do the right thing at the right time

Practice, practice, practice to remember

3 Success Factors

    • Enhance the learner’s Motivation to learn
    • Focus learners on Behavior-enhancing tasks
    • Create Meaningful and Memorable experiences

You don’t learn until you know you need to learn about it

Let people figure out the interactive experience vice telling them all about it

100% assessment is good—achieve mastery

Make assessments active interactions that “do”

Chunking is good

5 Components of e-Learning

    • Learner Motivation
    • Learner Interface
    • Content Structure and Sequencing
    • Navigation
    • Instructional Interactivity

Boring is bad


Instructional Interactivity

Interactivity that actively stimulates the learner’s mind to do those things that improve ability and readiness to perform effectively

Define the expectations

4 Essential Elements of Instructional Activity—Create a Higher Expectation

    • Context
    • Challenge
    • Activity (Action)
    • Feedback

Make your learners DO things

Give contextual feedback, not just “correct/incorrect”

It’s not about getting it right, it’s about learning (working through the process)

Tell a story

Just putting words on a screen sucks

Just putting a video on the screen is NOT Instructional Interactivity

Just putting an animation on the screen is NOT Instructional Interactivity

Just clicking a button to open a dialogue box is NOT Instructional Interactivity

Paint a picture visually of the work to be done

Take reading away as the main activity

Sometimes the Activity is the easiest place to start

Read Feedback aloud to see if it makes sense

Memory Map—repetition, repetition, repetition

Linear thinking is not necessarily the best way to think


Why Doesn’t Our Industry Focus on Instructional Activity?

E-Learning is NOT a TECNOLOGY solution

Instruction remains a teaching and design problem, regardless of the medium

The money is in selling the software, not in using the software

Telling is easier than doing

Just SAY less

It’s about performance outcomes, not presenting content

We are not trying to create experts, just people minimally competent

10-20-70 Aim for the 10

Do NOT turn off next button until narration is not done—do not take away choice

Work from Hard-To-Easy, not scaffolding, go for the 10%

Content-centered: Tell & Test

Learner-centered: Test & Tell

Programming Tools:

  • Flash
  • Authorware
  • Toolbook
  • ZebaZapps
Other Tools:

  • Camtasia
  • PowerPoint
  • SimWriter
  • Dreamweaver
  • Raptivity
  • SwishMax Pro
  • Fireworks
Development Tools:

  • Lectora
  • Captivate
  • Storyline
Productivity Tool:

  • Articulate
  • Adobe Presenter
  • Unison (RapidIntake)

 Need complete graphic control

Graphics: I do it, acquire the images, contract out for it

Need variables


Learner Motivation

Motivation is more important than content

7 Magic Keys to Motivating e-Learning

    • Anticipated outcomes (WIFM)—How it could impact the learner.  What really matters about the objective?  Address the objective without formally stating it as a LO.
      • Pay
      • Power
      • Self-esteem
      • Freedom
      • Success
    • Risk—Set of consequences to what the learner does
      • Challenge: not too much, not too little
      • Flow: not too hard, not too easy
    • Content—select ONLY the content that only has REAL value (Meaningful & New)
    • Context—Use an appealing context
      • Relevant
      • Novel
      • Suspenseful
      • Attractive
      • So much of good e-Learning is theater…look behind the curtain
    • Tasks—Make them actually DO something!
      • Multiple step tasks better, single step bad
    • Feedback
      • Extrinsic feedback bad: external to the activity (correct/incorrect  good job/try again)
      • Intrinsic feedback good: learners see for themselves the consequences—helps in transfer
    • Judgment—you are done with the exercise
      • Immediate is bad (except rote memorization)
      • Delayed is good

What is the KEY experience the learner needs?

Deconstruct Interactions

Media use—have a purpose for every piece of media (Excess noise gets in the way)

Narration: easy to ignore. Do NOT narrate the exact text. Do not put the transcript on the screen. Except, possibly ESL. Give a choice between audio and/or text.

If there is a reason to have narration, inject emotion

Learner-centric is about learner Instructional Interaction and that does not lend itself to narration

Good audio: supplements something visual

Senses can work simultaneously, but each sense can only process one thing at a time

Our pace of reading changes to better process the content

“Have you set aside the time to do this lesson?” “Have you turned off your phone for this lesson?”  “Need a cup of coffee before this lesson starts?”  Be a good host to the learner.


Getting There Through Successive Approximation

No e-Learning is ever PERFECT

Prototypes are better than storyboards

Quick and Dirty is Beautiful

Savvy Start is most important

What does the learner need to DO?

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