Re: Using Rich Media Wisely

A response to Chapter 31, “Using Rich Media Wisely,” in Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology

Question

Suppose you wish to help people learn how to carry out a fitness exercise routine using workout equipment.  Would it be better to use a series of still diagrams, an animation, or a video?  Would it be better to use printed text or spoken text or no text?  Justify your answer in terms of research evidence and a cognitive theory of learning.

Answer

In order to select the best options for training, in terms of rich media, it is best to begin with a learner-centered approach, asking, “How can we adapt rich media to aid human learning?” rather than beginning with the technology-centered question, “How can we use rich media to design instruction” (Clark & Mayer, 2017, pp. 259-260). Using the learner-centered approach means focusing on the facilitation of the learners’ natural learning process in order to gain the most ground in terms of instruction and knowledge construction (p. 260). “Rich media should be used (or not used) in ways that are consistent with what we know about how people learn and with research evidence concerning instructional effectiveness” (p. 260).

In this case, the overall objective is to help people learn how to carry out a fitness exercise routine using workout equipment. Utilizing evidence from research in cognitive theory, a learner-centered plan for effective instruction can be developed. According to cognitive information processing theory, proposed by Atkinson and Shriffin in 1968, there are three types of memory: sensory, working, and long-term (Driscoll, 2017, p. 54; Clark & Mayer, 2017, p. 261). Sensory memory receives external input though audio and visual channels. Next, the information is processed by the working memory, the center of all conscious thinking. Working memory is very limited and susceptible to cognitive overload, when overtaxed. Storage in long-term memory is the goal of learning, where knowledge is retained and can be accessed and built upon. Meaningful learning occurs when selecting, organizing, and integrating of information occurs, which moves that information from working memory into long-term memory (Clark & Mayer, 2017, p. 261).

The amount of mental work imposed on working memory is the cognitive load. “Novice learners with little related knowledge in long-term memory are much more susceptible to cognitive overload” (Clark & Mayer, 2017, p. 261). What differentiates novice learners from experts is how they construct knowledge and their ability to solves problems.” Novices lack “schemas.” These are chunks of information that have been encoded into long-term memory and are used by learners to “interpret events and solve problems” (Driscoll, 2017, p. 54). In fact, “differences in relevant prior knowledge” are recognized as “perhaps the single most important feature to be considered when designing instruction” (Clark & Mayer, 2017, p. 261).

Therefore the first question to ask when developing training for the workout program is, “Are the learners novices or experts?” For the purpose of this discussion, we will assume that the learners targeted by the workout program are novices.

“The major challenge of instructional design is to promote selecting, organizing, and integrating information (cognitive processing), in order to develop or build upon schemas in long-term memory without overloading the working memory” (Clark & Mayer, 2017, p. 261). There are three research-based principles that must be considered to prevent cognitive overload, and promote cognitive processing, during instruction: limited capacity principle, dual-channels principle, and active learning principle (p. 261).

Limited capacity principle

The limited capacity principle says, “People can only process a small amount of information in each channel at any one time” (Clark & Mayer, 2017, p. 261). Supporting research demonstrates that novices benefit from visuals but experts experience the reverse effect. Visuals may depress learning in experts (p. 263). Since our learners are novices, it is important to remember that explanations that use visuals, rather than text only, are better. In terms of visuals, although animated graphics can illustrate processes that cannot be otherwise illustrated, a series of still frames can result in learning as good or better than animated version, usually at a lower cost (p. 263).

Since it is also proven that simple line diagrams more effective than more elaborate ones, especially for novices, the major component moves of each exercise, and the mechanisms of the workout equipment, will be represented by simple line drawings (p. 263). Still drawings are helpful in allowing learners to compare one phase of movement to the next (pp. 263-264). However, since research has shown that physical tasks, particularly those using the hands, are best represented by animation rather than still graphics, our learners will be given several simple animations to bring together the component exercise moves that were illustrated by still visuals (p. 264).

Dual-channels principle

The dual-channels principle says that, “People have separate channels for processing visual/pictorial and auditory/verbal information” (Clark & Mayer, 2017, p. 261). The dual-channels principle is true for both sensory and working memory, so if information delivery is divided between auditory and visual channels, cognitive overload (which occurs in working memory) is reduced (p. 266). For the same reason, it is not ideal to use written (text) graphics along with other visual input since that is accessing the same visual channel. Augmenting visuals with verbal or audio instructions is more beneficial. Research shows that, whenever audio is used, it is best for learners to have access to replay or stop/start buttons. (p. 266).

So, when animations are used for our learners, audio narration will be added, though learners will have the ability to stop and start the lesson, as needed.

Active learning principle

The active learning principle explains that people must engage in cognitive processing in order for meaningful learning to occur—attending to relevant information, categorizing/organizing the material, and integrating it with knowledge schemas stored in long-term memory (Clark & Mayer, 2017, pp. 261-262). Utilizing research that supports active learning principle means helping learners to better attend to information, so it can be categorized and integrated with existing knowledge. Studies have shown that there is better learning when a reading precedes a video—learners are more apt to attend to the details in the video that were covered in the reading. In addition, information is better attended when extraneous footage and distracting visuals are eliminated (p. 265). Finally, animations that employ cueing devices—such as arrows on the line drawings and color flows and audio on the animations—draw attention to relevant aspects of the animation (p. 264).

So, our learners will read the directions for each exercise before seeing any animation (Clark & Mayer, 2017, p. 265). Animations will be focused on the exercise moves to eliminate extraneous distractions (p. 265). Finally, cues will be added to the stills, in the forms of arrows, and to the animation in the form of color flows and audio cues (p. 264). Learners will have individual controls that allow stopping and starting as deemed necessary, by the learner (pp. 264-265).

By drawing on cognitive processing research, the design for workout instruction, using machine, aims to provide learner-centered instruction, in order to “accommodate the learner’s limits on information processing and leverage the strengths of the human memory” (Clark & Mayer, 2017, p. 260).


Clark, R.C. & Mayer, R. E. (2017). Using Rich Media Wisely. In Reiser & Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (pp. 259-228). New York, NY: Pearson.

Driscoll, M. P. (2017). Psychological Foundations of Instructional Design. In Reiser & Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (pp. 259-228). New York, NY: Pearson.

Re: Time Continuum Model of Motivation vs. ARCS Model

A response to Chapter 9, “Motivation, Volition, and Performance,” in Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology

Question

Do additional research on Wlodkowski’s Time Continuum Model of Motivation and then describe two or more situations in which his model would provide useful guidance.  When it is time to prepare a list of specific motivational tactics to use in a given situation, how would the decision-making process be different with the ARCS model than with Wlodkowski’s time-continuum model.  Hint: With the ARCS model, what is the process for determining what motivational tactics are appropriate.

Answer

In Wlodkowski’s Time Continuum Model of Motivation, planning is essential in order to select the best motivational tactics for a lecture or learning activity. To have the greatest impact, instruction must be designed with consideration of three particular points in a learning sequence—the beginning, middle, and end. At these times in a lecture or learning activity, specific strategies for motivation are employed to have the most impact: “attitude and needs strategies are most relevant at the beginning of an activity, stimulation and affect strategies during the activity, and competence and reinforcement strategies when ending the activity” (Hodges, 2004, p. 3). In order to design the most beneficial learning experience, the appropriate motivational strategies should be selected and planned in advance to ensure variety, good preparation, and timing (Lowery, 1992, p. 34).

The Time Continuum Model is focused on meeting the needs of the learner during each particular phase of an instructional event—the beginning, during, and end (Hodges, 2004, p. 3). Keller’s ARCS Model of Motivational Design, where ARCS is an acronym for Attention, Relevance, Confidence, Satisfaction, is a contrast to the Time Continuum Model. ARCS is based on analysis of the situation—the course, the teacher, and the students—and number and types of motivational strategies are selected to address the needs of the audience (Keller & Deimann, 2017, p. 82). “The primary difference in the application of Keller’s and Wlodkowski’s strategies is that Keller performs the analysis of his audience before designing motivation…[so it can have] a better fit for the learners. On the other hand, Wlodkowski does not require an implicit stage of audience analysis, thus allowing the motivation to fit the instruction” (Lowery & Young, 1992, p. 41).

Time Continuum Model of Motivation, Example 1: It is the purpose of dental hygiene education to educate learner’s, who have little to no background in the field of healthcare, so that after two years of specialized training, they will be equipped to enter the dental hygiene profession as caregivers. One important concept that all dental professionals must grasp is the nature of the chain of infection. During every instance of patient care, the potential for cross contamination of the dental operatory and for contamination of the dental operator is extremely high. At the beginning of their first semester, long before they enter the clinical facilities, first year dental hygiene students are given a lecture on the chain of asepsis, the measures needed to protect themselves and patients from contamination. Because there is little to no margin for error in implementing the chain of asepsis, students often shown a particular video at the beginning of instruction, called, “If Saliva Were Red” (O’Keefe, 2015). In this film, a patient is given a medication to stain the saliva in the mouth. As the dentist and his assistant provide routine dental care, the film captures the red liquid being carried throughout the operatory—on various surfaces, on the patient, and on both dental professionals. This short film is legendary in dental hygiene education for its shock value. Students are repulsed and revolted, which creates a very memorable message about the significance of proper aseptic technique. This important lecture is typically considered to be a very boring topic, but showing this video at the beginning makes students much more attentive to the minute details of infection control.

The placement of this film in the lecture, and in the curriculum, is an application of the Time Continuum Model of Motivation, by Wlodkowski, who advocates using the time continuum of instruction as a guide for selection of particular motivational strategies. In this case, placement of the film at the beginning is a strategy to create a positive attitude toward an unpopular topic. In addition, this is an appeal to the feelings of the learner in order to create a positive attitude toward the instruction and to demonstrate the value of learning the material (Lowery & Young, 1992, p. 32; Brophy, 2010).

Time Continuum Model of Motivation, Example 2: Dental hygiene students receive hundreds of hours of instruction pertaining to various disciplines within the field of dentistry. The dental radiology course is both didactic and clinical in nature. Students are more apt to attend to the clinical instruction since they see direct application to patient care. The didactic portion can be more difficult in terms of engaging learners, but the content is extremely important in relation to passing the Dental Hygiene National Board examination, which allows students to apply for a state or regional license to practice dental hygiene.

The following is an real-life example of the use of a stimulation strategy to engage waning attention, in the middle of a lecture full of complicated and difficult concepts: During a particularly tedious lesson on the principles of shadow casting, Dr. Sean Hubar, a dead-wringer for Woody Allen, unexpectedly injected humor with a prop in order to explain the concept “penumbra” and “object to film distance.” Dr. Hubar retrieved a gigantic foam cowboy hat from below the slide carousel and placed it on his head. As he marched toward the screen, amidst uproarious laughter, the shadow that he and his cowboy hat cast became both smaller and darker, with more distinct edges. The lesson was, the shorter the distance between the object (hat) and the screen (or between the tooth and the x-ray film), the more accurate and clear the shadow (or dental radiograph) becomes. Since the middle of a lecture can be a time when students disengage and lose motivation, Wlodkowski suggests that this is the optimal time to employ a stimulation strategy such as using humor, spontaneity, and props (Brophy, 2010, p. 384).


Brophy, J. E. (2010). Motivating students to learn. New York: Routledge. Retrieved from https://www.questia.com/library/104334427/motivating-students-to-learn

Francom, G., & Reeves T.C. (2010) John M. Keller: Significant contributor to the field of educational technology. [PDF file]. Educational Technology 50(3), 56-58. Retrieved from https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/8596b6_52421b72d50c08350906269932a6f36c.pdf

Hodges, C. (2004). Designing to motivate: Motivational techniques to incorporate in e-learning experiences. [PDF file]. The Journal of Interactive Online Learning. 2(3). Retrieved from http://www.ncolr.org/jiol/issues/PDF/2.3.1.pdf

Keller, J. M. (1987). Development and use of the ARCS model of motivational design. [PDF file]. Journal of Instructional Development, 10(3), 2-10. Retrieved from http://ocw.metu.edu.tr/pluginfile.php/8620/mod_resource/content/1/Keller%20Development%20%20Use%20of%20ARCS.pdf

Keller, J. M. (n.d.). ARCS Design Process. Retrieved September 07, 2017, from https://www.arcsmodel.com/arcs-design-process?utm_campaign=elearningindustry.com&utm_medium=link&utm_source=%2Farcs-model-of-motivation.

Keller, J.M. & Deimann, M. (2017). Motivation, volition and performance. In Reiser & Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (pp. 259-228). New York, NY: Pearson.

Longfield, J. (2015). Integrate motivation planning into lesson planning. Teaching Academy, 34. http://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/teaching-academy/34

Lowery, B., & Young, D. (1992). Designing motivational instruction for developmental education. Research and Teaching in Developmental Education, 9(1), 29-44. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/42801846

O’Keefe, J. [Dr. John O’Keefe]. (2015, March 4). If Saliva Were Red from OSAP [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/eZnuqBc-NfI

 

Re: The Seven Characteristics of Instructional Design

A response to Chapter 3, “Characteristics of Foundational Instructional Design Models,” in Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology

Question

According to chapter 3, Instructional Design:

  1. is a student-centered process
  2. is a goal-oriented process
  3. is a creative process
  4. focuses on meaningful experiences
  5. assumes outcomes are measurable. reliable, and valid
  6. is an empirical, iterative, and self-correcting process
  7. typically is a team effort

You have recently been hired by a large plumbing company to design a course to train recent high school graduates how to perform some basic plumbing skills. Describe how you might use each of the seven characteristics of instructional design that were described in chapter 3 to help you design an effective course.

Answer

For the group of recent high school graduates in need of basic plumbing skills, the program of training must be student centered. Students will come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Baseline knowledge of plumbing and hardware should be assessed to determine how familiar students are with the subject. In order to develop this evaluation, the instructional design team will consult with subject matter experts. Using this preliminary assessment, student groups can be formed so that students who are less knowledgeable may be paired with those who are more knowledgeable. A collaborative environment will encourage learning and personal development in students, with some leading or teaching and others growing their knowledge and developing trust in the team.

Teams of students will have very specific goals and be given measurable standards of performance. Though the teams will work apart from one another, the teams will be encouraged to help one another in a spirit of general cooperation. This sort of setting is meant to create a sense of community, as might be found in a workplace setting or a neighborhood. The skills, in terms of plumbing knowledge and teamwork, are meaningful life skills that students can share with others in the future. Individually, students must be able to perform proficiently to the given standards, repeatedly demonstrating the correct procedures according to the rubric specified in the course syllabus. Smaller, more frequent skill evaluations, both formal and informal, will be given throughout the course.

The design of the course will rely on the expertise of subject matter experts, technicians, and technology developers. Subject matter experts, the professional plumbers, will help determine the order of instruction, creation of learning experiences, and specifications of the learning objectives. Technicians will be instrumental in providing practical resources by constructing a series of sinks and toilets in the classroom to allow students to work simultaneously, in real-world situations, with immediate feedback from instructors and other students. Technology developers will create content-rich modules, using recorded lectures from experts, computer simulations of skills, and live close-up video demonstrations so all the students can watch in real-time as the on-site instructor performs important tasks.

The initial drafts of the course outline and the construction of classroom will be reviewed by subject matter experts at each phase of production. A small cohort, three teams of students, will test the modules of the training, providing feedback and allowing for correction, before the course is finalized and a full class of students is accepted. Each course will end with student and teacher evaluation of the course so that changes can be made to improve shortcomings before beginning a new class.


Branch, R. M. (2017). Characteristics of foundational instructional design models. In Reiser & Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (pp.8-22). New York, NY: Pearson.