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Posts in the "Educational Psychology" category ↓

What is Instructional Design?

If you’ve ever finished a course or class that was really hard to follow, didn’t seem to deliver, was either too easy or too hard — it’s possible that poor instructional design (ID) is to blame. The opposite is of course, also true.

Basically, ID is a set of rules or a process for making training/classes do what they’re supposed to do. With it, we:

Determine our goals with the instruction. (You do have them, don’t you?)
Focusing on meeting those goals efficiently, … Keep reading »

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Google Website Optimizer

We discussed user testing in Intro to Instructional Design last week, and how testing your product or instruction with just one user can dramatically improve your product’s usability and effectiveness.

I found it interesting that around the same time, Google announced the Google Website Optimizer. At first, it sounds like this is made to make your site load faster or somesuch, but it’s actually much more than that. GWO is a free tool for conducting experiments and testing conversion rate … Keep reading »

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Web interfaces: how not to confuse your visitors away

Though it can be easy to think otherwise, web design is much more than just putting content on a site and calling it a day. And, because people interact differently with the web than with printed materials such as newspapers and magazines, we can’t treat it the same when we design for it. There are many facets to good web design, and this article is about one of the most important we need to think about when we design…. Keep reading »

Posted under: Educational Psychology, Web Design | 1 Comment »

Organizing Information

Last week’s discussion about visuals and interfaces really got me thinking about user interfaces. One of the biggest and most important challenges of user interface design is to organize your information in the best possible way—you can’t just put it on the screen and assume your visitors will know what to do with it.

Reading on the Web is Different
For instance, studies show that the majority of web users don’t stop to read every word on the screen. (See this … Keep reading »

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Media vs. Method

We recently debated an argument between two brilliant people: Richard E. Clark and Robert B. Kozma. The issue was the usefulness of media as an instructional tool. On the one side, Clark et al. believe that “media (video, computers, technology) will never influence instruction.” In a nutshell:

Media is not a replacement for quality instruction.
Media is interchangeable; method is not.
Media are delivery vehicles for instruction and do not directly influence learning.
Media are not directly responsible for motivating learning.
Therefore, … Keep reading »

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Testing, testing?

Last week we discussed the importance of developing assessments appropriate for the instruction we create.

During the lecture, I realized that often, a certain assessment may be assessing more than what I think it is going to. I spaced out (sorry, Prof. Monson) and started thinking about the math assessments I took while in school. Usually, I was assessed on my knowledge of, say, equations — but I was also assessed on my reading comprehension. If I’d had a conversation with … Keep reading »

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Do we need technology to reach today’s learners?

This was a forum posting for one of my classes. My response started becoming so long that I decided to put it here. After all, it’s a question worth exploring. Here’s the full question:

Do we need technology to reach today’s learners? Is a chalk board enough? How did we ever learn before the computer?

I would say yes, we do need it — but not necessarily because low-tech methods don’t/didn’t work. Just look at some of the advances made … Keep reading »

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Ed Psych: Gestalt Psychology Trick

On Tuesday in class we went over a simple trick in class. It’s one you might have seen before:

In your head (no calculators or pens, etc.), take 1000 and add 40 to it. Now add another 1000. Now add 30. Add another 1000. Now add 20. Now add another 1000. Now add 10. What did you get?

Most people say 5000, but it’s really 4100. Even though it wasn’t specifically related to Instructional Design, I wanted to learn the … Keep reading »

Posted under: Educational Psychology | 3 Comments »

Measure while you saw

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “measure twice, cut once.” It’s good advice, and it works very well for wood/plastic/metal. But what about instruction? Well, it’s pretty much the same–but with one major difference. The beauty of computer-aided learning is that a product is often never “finished” — meaning we have a final product that we’re stuck with. Especially with Internet-connected instruction, we have the ability to update, fix, and adjust all the time. An update to this post will show … Keep reading »

Posted under: Educational Psychology | 2 Comments »

What is Instructional Design?

So I’ve started the Instructional Design & Educational Technology graduate program at the University of Utah. The typical response when I tell people this is a momentary blank look, then a comment along the lines of, “Oh, good. We need more of those.” It’s true, we do. But why? What does “instructional design” even mean? Those are good questions with complicated answers. Let’s see if I can begin to articulate an answer here:

Ever had a class where you … Keep reading »

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