By Andrew L McGuffee
When posed with the task of comparing and contrasting different forms of instructional design and media I had to first establish their intended objective. The conclusion I came to was that all of these different forms of instruction are intended to engage and inform the learner above all. If you don’t stray too far from that path then your design will have a solid foundation no matter the form it takes.
Giving a Facelift to Tradition Learning Content
That said, I’ve learned that the use of different forms of media when tactically placed inside of learning material can make all the difference. When scrolling through countless pages of text on research that the learner may or may not be interested in it’s important to maintain attention. This can be achieved quite effectively by adding audio-visual elements and hyperlinks in between paragraphs. I also found that having an easy-to-navigate menu in your “live” or “online content is crucial for a quality delivery. It’s really based on how the ID (instructional designer) thinks they can best impart knowledge.
[TEDx Talks]. (Jan 10, 2013).Reimagining Learning: Richard Culatta at TEDxBeaconStreet [Video File] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0uAuonMXrg&list=PLRf-8s1vnepcXuJ8Z3vMGKGSoAV9fWidC
Working with Adobe Premiere has been an eye opening experience for me when it comes to learning how to incorporate video-based media. Like most of the Adobe software I’ve worked with, there is a pretty high learning curve and it can be easy to be overwhelmed at times. Once you get the hang of it though Premiere can be very useful and dare I say even a bit fun to work with. The editing process can take up the majority of your time but it can also be where you turn a plane video in to an eye-catching one.
Overall, the use of video media does seem to benefit my instructional design as a whole. As a visual learner myself I love video-based instruction and is something I think future generations will continue to gravitate towards as appose to conventional text-based instruction. This isn’t to say traditional methods are not needed but the combination of video media to instructions will most likely be a trend that will continue to grow. In my opinion video media is the closest thing to hands-on training a distance learner can get. The content itself is more time consuming and challenging to create for the instructor but ultimately can make the biggest impact on learners ability to learn.
In my personal experience working with Adobe’s Creative Cloud ’17, I found the options of how to design and deliver multimedia content to be overwhelming at times. There are countless ways to create what you want and just as many ways to implement them. Every design software program offers the user another way to create content and you could honestly spend several hours a-day for an entire semester and still not be able to cover all Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
I believe that multimedia-based instructions (Specifically Audio-visual) are going to become the norm in many modern curriculums in the years to come and it would be best to prepare accordingly. Understanding how the duel coding theory maintains that we process information in both verbal and nonverbal ways can help simplify the rationale behind this paradigm shift in instruction.
The drawbacks… Well, if I have any criticism about all this, its that just like Adobe’s CC, audio-visual + other multimedia content can cause sensory overload. The main objective of teaching someone something is that your learner grasps the material. If you have too much of it in your design then it might be counterproductive to your intended outcome.
My eye-opening experience dealing with developing audio content was one I had dreading for a while. I had zero to little experience with formatting mp3 files, let alone recording, layering, manipulating, and editing my own recorded audio content. Like most of Adobe Software, I found myself overwhelmed with layout of Adobe Audition 2017. After a lot of trial and error I became familiar with the basic functions of Audition and found myself enjoying it immensely.
I found that audio-based instructional content can be a challenge to make and requires a lot of time to do correctly. Taking a 3-layered audio file, reformatting it to an mp3 and then embedding it into a pdf can’t be much more fun than it sounds. However, once I became comfortable with the many aspects of developing audio files I started to understand just how much of an impact they can make. It provides a brand new range of possibilities, enhances the content, and ultimately improves the student’s experience and comprehension.
Modern day instructional design takes advantage of several different methods of delivery. One of these methods includes the use of audio-only instruction that can be implemented in everything from books-on-tape to language development. Like everything else I’ve covered in this blog, there are both benefits and drawbacks to each delivery method. Audio-based instruction is no different, the benefits of this approach are direct and straightforward in their nature to say the least.
Again, I think it’s important to point out that all students are different and learn in different ways, but I personally am a big fan of “audio-based” instruction. Maybe that’s because I have such a naturally appealing voice with which to narrate. (very much joking!) All jokes aside I do think that audio- only instruction does add a “personal touch” to the learning process and that can sometimes be helpful. So overall I would say the biggest appeal for me when it comes to audio-based content is the personalization attributes that come along with it.
Obviously, there are downfalls as mentioned before but they shouldn’t take away from the benefits that were previously mentioned. Anytime I use a singular media (1 form of media) in my instructional design I tend to find that it limits what I can teach my intended audience. With audio-only based instruction I would have a very tough time describing complex scenarios that are up for interpretation.
Audio content is an extremely important piece to the instructional puzzle in my opinion. As someone who is still new to designing, constructing, and publishing web pages I will do my best to diversify my instruction as much as possible. Whether it’s a digital image, hyperlink to another page, video, or an mp3 I think implementing multimedia enriches any form of instruction!
There are several traditionalists out there that would probably prefer to have instructional delivery stick to a strictly text-based format. However, I believe that in this day and age we have to adapt with the times. Most students these days have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or some form of social media account. These social media platforms stimulate their audiences with both textual and visual content and are boasting great success in doing so. I am of the mind that the academic industries across the globe are starting to all come to the same conclusion, “we need to start capitalizing on this!” Now I’m not saying that we need to start teaching Physics 101 on Facebook but I do think the academic community could take a few notes from social media. When I started developing instruction with both images and text I realized that even I was more interested in the content I had created. It doesn’t necessarily have to change the way you instruct someone but I think in some cases it will enhance the delivery process. Generally speaking, we are still in the infant stages of the “tech-age” so claiming massive benefits and limitations is a bit premature in my eyes. If I had to guess though I would wager that this new hybrid delivery of multimedia-based instruction will help far more than it could ever hurt.
Multimedia is something that is becoming more and more integrated into the delivery of instruction across almost every industry. I believe that it has become a detrimental skill for the modern day educator to learn how best to insert different forms of media in order to enhance the learning experience. From gamification to virtual classrooms, there is an undeniable shift towards the use and implementation of various forms of media. There are always issues when transitioning to a new format but overall I think the use of digital media, hyperlinks, video, and audio content will improve learning. Visual-text instruction allows the student to learn in different ways which ultimately develops and promotes cognitive growth. Using several forms of media is great but at the same time may overwhelm the student. When designing content you have to really make sure that you’re not distracting the learner and allow for easy transitions when introducing new forms of media. A single medium can be appropriate for some subject matter but for advanced topics, I firmly believe multiple forms of media will be the standard in the days to come.
Multimedia in the classroom
I have discovered that the use of single media-based instruction can be very useful when taking a direct approach to teaching. When I am attempting to design a particular set of instructions with a singular goal this seems to be a great route to take. For instance, in the case of my step-by-step visual instructions for constructing a paper airplane simple graphics do the trick. On the other hand, if I was attempting to teach someone how to exercise something like weapons safety this may not be the best choice. My point is that it really comes down to the subject matter of your material. There are somethings that are actually improved when simplified, and others that are not.
Of course, single media-based instruction is not without its drawbacks. There are a number of reasons why this is but perhaps the most prevalent one is the fact that it doesn’t always cover what’s needed. This in itself is a simplified way of saying that a design that employs a single media limits the student in the ways they can learn. Needless to say there is not a one-size-fits-all way of teaching and anytime an instructor decides to limit the method of delivery they put the student’s intellectual growth at risk. As Clark mentioned in his piece, perhaps one of the biggest obstacles preventing a full description of materials is lack of space itself. To me, this experience of designing instructions through singular and multiple forms of media has taught me how better to tailor my content.
Clark, R. E. (1994). Media and method. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(3), 7-10.
The importance of color and visual design in instruction
By: Andrew McGuffee
One of the key pillars to instructional design is the use and implementation of color. As far back as three hundred years ago, educators have used the color wheel and other color charts like it to understand how colors work together. Typically, a color wheel consists of twelve colors that are divided into what are known as warm or cool colors. Then, there are three primary colors, six secondary, and twelve tertiary. Each of these combinations can be used to pull the audience in or steer them in another direction entirely. How the designer uses color is up to them and the specific message they are ultimately trying to convey.
As visual design has become more and more complex through the emergence of technology based media and instruction, so has the way we use color itself. From hospitals to schools the use of color in visual design and instruction has never been more central to how view the world. Complementary colors and the juxtaposition of elements tend clash colors and can embolden the delivery of the material. On the other hand, harmonious color schemes can add a more calming or docile element to content. Each has their purpose, but I tend to find the neutral schemes (browns and tans) as well as achromatic (black, white, grey) to be overwhelming docile. While harmony can be good in some instances, I believe it to lead to complacency and boredom in a instructional capacity. The secret to creating a good instructional and visually stimulating platform is the balancing or layering of both contrasting colors and analogous color schemes. Too much stimulation and the audience can be distracted, while not having enough could lead to them loosing interest. Ultimately, I think color theory and visual design transcend most media formats and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Comparing online web design interfaces and features, what to look for when building your own site
By: Andrew McGuffee
Building your own website or blog has never been more attainable than it is today. There are a number of different programs competing for the right to host and help you along your journey of creating online content. Everything from hosting small businesses to eye-catching travel blogs, there is a program that boasts to be the best at it. So when I went looking to find which web design program I would use, I had to consider what I was trying to convey to my audience.
Continue reading “LTEC 5200 Week 2: Choosing the Right Web Design Program for You.”