There is no doubt that online learning is synonymous with the use of technology, after all, one must at least use the internet and some device to connect with it to access the course. The question is how much technology should Instructional Designers (IDs) incorporate into their training designs?
Drs. Boettcher and Conrad (2016) explain that we must select technology tools based on pedagogy. In other words, on how these tools will help students achieve the learning objectives. With so many available tools like blogs, wikis, video aggregate websites, social media, etc. IDs have a plethora of technology to choose from that can help create an engaging online learning environment. This can make us go overboard with the use of technologies, which will actually hinder the learning process. It is vital to focus on the content of your lessons and use only technologies that will enhance learning that content (Boettcher, 2011).
The use of multimedia (audio and video, games, interactive learning objects, etc.) in instructional design can engage learners and facilitate their learning process by increasing their ability to retain the information presented. However, the use of multimedia has to be purposeful to convey the message in a way that the learner can assimilate the information. In other words, the focus of multimedia in instructional design must also be the lesson content (Pappas, 2014).
The visual appearance of the learning environment is also a crucial consideration for IDs who want to create engaging learning experiences. Dr. Mayer’s Theory of Multimedia Learning (2013) explains that poorly designed interfaces that forces learners to search for information, have too much visual clutter, or too many buttons and movements can hamper the learning process by creating cognitive overload. To avoid developing these ineffective interfaces, IDs should learn the basic principles of good visual design for online environments (learn more here and here).
My goal as an e-learning designer is to create appealing learning environments that supports learners to engage in their lessons in a way that grabs their attention and keeps their interest, but ultimately transfers the knowledge so they can achieve the learning objectives.
Boettcher, J. V. (2011). Ten best practices for teaching online: quick guide for new online faculty. Retrieved from: http://www.designingforlearning.info/services/writing/ecoach/tenbest.html
Boettcher, J. V., Conrad, R.M. (2016). The Online Teaching Survival Guide: Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips, 2nd Edition. Jossey-Bass, 2016-09-12.
Mayer, R.E. and Clark, R. (2013). 10 brilliant design rules for e-learning. Retrieved from: http://donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.ca/2013/01/mayer-clark-10-brilliant-design-rules.html
Pappas, C. (2014). 10 eLearning Design and Development Mistakes. Retrieved from: http://www.efrontlearning.net/blog/2014/10/elearning-design-and-development-mistakes.html
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