Random Thoughts on Instructional Design
To keep students interested and reach students who process information visually, an instructor can use various multimedia techniques. Multimedia tools like PowerPoint can serve as a teleprompter to give new instructors a visible outline from which to work. PowerPoint can also be used to assist students with note taking. Keep in mind that poor slides can detract from rather than enhance student learning, so make sure that slides are well designed.
In general, lectures, or any learning experiences, need to be evaluated based on what they are intended to achieve. Sitting in a classroom, and having an instructor lecture (with limited discussion) is not sufficiently valuable to justify confining it to a physical medium. If the intent is mainly content presentation, we would recommend podcasting, video logging, or advanced readings. Podcasts have gained attention recently as an additional tool available to instructors. Podcasting augments, or adds an additional facet, to the learning experience. It’s not about replacing a process that works well…it’s about providing an alternative to processes that aren’t working well. iPods as classroom tools are growing trend among national college campuses.
Another technique that is easy to use and assists with student empowerment is harvesting the â€œliving webâ€ of podcasts and RSS feeds for learning materials. These materials can be used to support lectures, and assist students in preparing for class discussions and team exercises.
Students’ cell phones can also be put to educational use by providing them with and list of mobile web materials that support the content being studied.
If you would like more information on the educational noted on this page click on the hyperlinked words. Each of the links will take you to either articles that explain the technique or to a pool of resources available for adoption.
Games (not only video games) can be effective learning tools. The adaptive nature of many gaming environments mimics real life – we make a decision and it changes things, which means our next decision is based on an altered environment. Many learning approaches often fail to capture the "altered state" because decisions are made in a vacuum. Games change as we change. Gaming for Education is a wonderful collection of games, research, books, and web sites.
The University of Texas at Austin created a series of teaching and learning resources for their College of Engineering that demonstrate a number of best practices in classroom and online curriculum design. If you don’t have time to explore the entire site, view the 4 minute video on "best practices in delivering online course materials" — it contains a number of helpful hits for designing PowerPoint presentations and using document cameras in the classroom.