Foundations of IDT – A Final Reflection

What I enjoyed most about LT 8000:  Foundations of Instructional Design and Technology was blogging, an activity I had not experienced prior to this course.

Blogging has helped me immensely on many levels and I think of it sort of like journaling – a way of helping me collect my thoughts and ideas and/or disseminating my research reports.  It has also helped me to “get my arms around” the concept of IDT and I found myself becoming more and more confident in my understanding of the field as I continued to add to my blog as well follow other colleagues and other IDT blogs.  Contributing to my blog, Kellye’s IDT Blog, is something that I enjoy so much that I am sure I will continue the practice well beyond this course.

I reviewed my first blog where defined IDT as “being involved with the use of technology to maximize the effectiveness, efficiency and appeal of instruction and other learning experiences.”  Having now completed the course there are two IDT approaches that we discussed at length throughout the semester that resonated most with me and they are:

  • Learner-centered approach which means that the focus should be on the learner to facilitate the learner’s natural learning process to serve his/her needs and not the other way around; and
  • Evidence-based practice approach which means that we should seek to make design decisions be based on research evidence shown to work from the kinds of learners and learning objectives at hand;

As the semester comes to a close and I reflect on my first week or so of classes, to be totally honest, I had no idea from a theoretical standpoint what ID was all about.  I was excited and nervous all at the same time.  I did not know what to expect from the course or my professor.  The class, LT8000: Foundations of Instructional Design and Technology, was going to be my very first ID course.  I am happy to say that I am ending the semester feeling extremely confident that I have met the goals and objectives of the course.  Thanks to Dr. Calandra I feel I am now better prepared for my upcoming courses as well as IDT internships and eventually professional employment in my new career.

Unfortunately, my “journey” this semester has come to an end.  But as Ernest Hemingway once said “It is good to have an end to the journey forward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”

Feel free to visit my Kellye’s IDT Blog

As always…. Happy Learning!

eLearning Graphics

In my former life as a professional proposal writer graphic designers played a pivotal role on our production team.  I always wanted to “dabble” in graphic design but never had the time.  My time was mostly devoted to content development.  Fortunately, in my new career as an instructional designer on occasion I am expected to wear the hat of an artist.  As instructional designers regardless of our responsibilities it is to our benefit to become comfortable with basic graphic design theory so that, if needed, we can apply it to practice.  Below are a few basic recommendations that many Instructional Designers may find useful.hurry before she comes back graphics

  • If you know how to do something that does not mean you should do it. In eLearning, less is more, so if the tool or an option is available to you that does not mean that you should actually use it in your project. This particularly applies to animations.  Try to avoid animation whenever possible. Instead, consider separating information into several slides.
  • The same principle applies to images. When you add images to slides, always be sure that they are meaningful and are not just there for decoration. Images should help clarify the content, not make the learner figure out their relevance.
  • If possible, try to make the design elements of your eLearning project as cohesive as possible. This means that the fonts, colors, and bullets should be similar and consistent. It is always a good idea to repeat specific design elements to ensure cohesiveness of your design.
  • Since most eLearning companies buy licenses for stock photography, many eLearning courses end up using the same images over and over again. One way to add uniqueness to your eLearning is to use an editing tool to crop, recolor, and combine images.  Also, when you search the stock photo library, consider going directly to the last page of your search as the images on the first page often tend to be overused.
  • Make sure that the colors and fonts you use can be easily read by individuals with visual impairments.  For the same reason, it is best to avoid transparency and shading.

In Ruth Clark’s piece, More Than Just Eye Candy, she states “Elaborate visual treatments unrelated to the goals of the instruction, while well intended, have been shown in controlled research studies to depress learning.”

Whatever you choose to do, try and stick with a consistent style throughout your course. Avoid mixing and matching which can be extremely distracting.  Nothing is more distracting quite honestly than a hodgepodge of random stock photography and random colors. A great idea would be to create a style guide beforehand.  This would make your eLearning course look more professional and more engaging.

Until next week….happy learning!

Rich Media and Cognitive Load

I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent preparing for my LT 8000 Using Rich Media presentation. I was amazed at how much there is to learn about the topic and know that I could only scratch the surface when presenting what I have learned from my research. In case you want to take a look, see the attached PowerPoint presentation. Below I will just highlight a few areas I touched on in my presentation.

If you recall earlier in the semester I talked about two approaches to instructional learning technology-centered vs. a Learner-Centered. With a learner-centered approach the focus is on the Learner and how people learn. It is an evidence-based-practice where the goal is to aid in human cognition or learning.

Mayer states that “People learn better when multimedia messages are designed in ways that are consistent with how the human mind works and with research-based principles” (Mayer, 2001).

So how does learning work? Our working memory and long-term memory shape learning process. Working memory is the center of conscious thinking BUT it is LIMITED IN CAPACITY. Therefore, effective instructional strategies MUST accommodate the limited capacity of working memory. The diagram below does a great job explaining this.

cognitive learning process


A video by Andrew Wolf is attached. Although the animation is a little busy, the video does an excellent job explaining the Cognitive Load Theory.


My Using Rich Media Wisely presentation link is below:

Ch. 32. Using Rich Media Wisely – Presented by. K Whitaker Fall 2014

Until next week….. Happy Learning!

Multimedia Design and e-Learning

According to Richard Mayer, people learn better when multimedia messages are designed in ways that are consistent with how the human mind works and with research-based principles.  Whether instruction being developed is for adult or child learners it has been shown that learners understand better when instruction is presented in the form of text and images as compared to text alone.

Hydrologic Cycle

Hydrologic Cycle

Take the graphic on the right as an example.  Typically learners will view the image and find it easier to understand how precipitation takes place and will retain that information for a longer period of time even more so than a two-page write-up with no graphic images on the same topic (hydrologic cycle).

The main principle of conveying a concept, principle or procedure through visual representation is that the learner may not experience cognitive load which could defeat the goal of instruction. In this respect, the use of graphics may be not enough and perhaps a visual and or animation may be needed to be effective and fulfill the objectives. The choice of multimedia will largely depend on the learner group characteristics, the complexity of content, and the goal of instruction.

Below are a few research-based principles offered by Mayer to be used in the design of multimedia.

  • People learn better from words and pictures than from words alone.  (Multimedia principle)
  • People learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented near rather than far from each other on the page or screen. (Spatial contiguity principle)
  • People learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented simultaneously rather than successively. (Temporal contiguity principle)
  • People learn better when extraneous words, pictures, and sounds are excluded rather than included. (Coherence principle)
  • People learn better from animation and narration than from animation and on-screen text. (Modality principle)
  • People learn better from animation and narration than from animation, narration, and on on-screen text. (Redundancy principle)

Until next week…..Happy Learning!

Tips for Making Learning Memorable with Graphics and Visual Design

 As Instructional Designers, it is ultimately our responsibility to make learning deliverables appealing, effective, and memorable.  While high-quality content and instructional design are the foundation of any effective learning deliver­able, well-designed graphics and other visual designs help attract learners to your content.  Quality graphics makes your content more understandable… more easily remembered.

While looking for resources to assist in making my learning deliverables more memorable and appealing, I stumbled across a FREE eBook called 61 Tips for Making Learning Memorable with Graphics and Visual Design on the e-Learning Guild website .  The e-book featured tips compiled by 12 learning professionals from the visual arts profession, many who have just mastered some of the basics.  In the eBook, the experts share their tips for making learning memorable with graphics and visual design. Their tips address such topics as finding inspiration and nurturing cre­ativity; the basics of good visual design and layout; the importance of keeping things simple, con­sistent, and on-brand; using graphics, text, fonts, and color effectively; supporting learning through intuitive interfaces; testing deliverables for quality; and ensuring instructional integrity.

Below I share my favorite top 12 tips from their list:digital3

  • When you review the work a graphic designer has mocked up for you and you see something you don’t like, resist the urge to immediately state your opinion. Instead, ask questions to un­derstand why the designer made those design choices. This opens a dialogue with the graphic designer, and it’s likely you’ll learn about factors that went into that decision that you were not aware of.  – Linda Mahnken
  • Research to gain inspiration. Consider this famous quote by Picasso: “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” Every artist is influenced by others. Seeing what others have done, and their re­sults, can be a great source of inspiration and can even help you avoid mistakes. These days tech­nology can help make this a lot of fun; create a Pinterest board or Evernote notebook of ideas. For the time it takes, you’ll be greatly rewarded with a flood of new ideas.  – John-Carlos Lozano & Steve Yacovelli
  • Get inspired by others. No design is completely new. Graphic designers and other artists pull from hundreds of years of art history and innovation. If you find a design you love, identify ele­ments of it you can use in new ways. – Cassandra Cloud
  • Embrace white-space: Whitespace is the part of your slide that does not have any content; it is like the oxygen of the presentation. If you use it all up, your audience will suffocate. So leave a little breathing room. In fact, leave a little bit more than you think you need and let your presen­tation breathe easy.  – Laura Wall Klieves & Ryan Orcutt
  • Have fun—no matter how serious the subject, there is always a place for good design. It works like a frame. Often, the more serious the topic, the more valuable the design element.  – Don Levy
  • Use contrast. Ever looked at a slide, and not known what’s important? Contrast helps draw at­tention, create drama, and set hierarchy so your audience understands your message.  – Laura Wall Klieves & Ryan Orcutt
  • Avoid motion sickness! Animation is a great way to dynamically communicate ideas and guide a viewer through ideas. However, it can be an overused technique. This includes transitions, es­pecially the fancy ones. – Don Levy
  • Look for ways to be lazy! Identify elements across your project with the same characteristics, set up styles for those elements, and then re-use those styles over and over. – Linda Mahnken
  • Be consistent. Graphics and visual design are supposed to add clarity, but the opposite happens when randomness replaces a consistent flow of ideas. Unless you are teaching the art of confu­sion, visuals and graphics work best when they make their points in the context of a design flow.  – Don Levy
  • Yes, there are lots of great fonts out there. It doesn’t mean that all of them need to be in your presentation. – Laura Wall Klieves & Ryan Orcutt
  •  Color is a powerful connector. It organizes information; it increases memory. We have physi­ological, psychological, and emotional responses to color.  – Sarah K. Arkins
  • Select fonts for readability. When text is harder to read, it is not only frustrating, but learn­ers perceive the content itself as being more difficult. So use simple screen fonts at minimum 10-point size (12 or higher is better) and reserve more decorative fonts for large headings.  – Dorian Peters

Until next week, happy learning…………………


Getting to Know Skinner and Dale – My Experience Creating Avatars

It has been a goal of mine for quite some time to learn how to create embodied conversational agents (i.e., avatars).  The opportunity presented itself this semester and I could not pass up the opportunity to try and learn it for a project in my LT 8000 course, Foundations of Instructional Design and Technology, and in particular my IDT Timeline project.

But as it turns out, Prezi, the presentation format I am using to present the timeline does not allow me to embed the ECA urls into the presentation. BUMMER!  So, instead, I have to direct folks to my blog to view the Skinner and Dale ECA’s.   Poor technology planning on my part.  Lesson learned indeed!

By the way, I used SitePal to create the ECAs.  The software was amazingly very simple to use.  My mentor gave me a 30 minute crash course on a few terms and  how to upload a few files and within minutes I was off and running.  Many thanks to Dr. Kinnis Gosha, Director of the Moreouse College Culturally Relevant Computing Lab (CRCL).

Believe it or not, once I had located a decent photo of both Skinner and Dale and selected the script I wanted to use, the ECAs were fully created in less than 20 minutes each start to finish.

Below is my Timeline Presentation using Prezi. Enjoy!

Until next week, happy learning……………….


BF Skinner

Edgar Dale

Digital Literacy and is it important?

While researching emerging technologies and trends in ID I came across the term “digital literacy” and realized I had never heard the term before at least not in this context so I decided to do a little digging.  digital cartoon2

The NMC Horizon Report > 2012 K-12 Edition, a collaborative research effort between the New Media Consortium, the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN), and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), discusses the top emerging technologies, trends, and challenges that will have a major impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in pre-college education over the next five years. The report talks about how digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession especially in education and that despite its importance, training in the supporting skills and techniques is rare in teacher education. The report says that the lack of formal training is being offset through professional development and some informal learning, but that the system is far from seeing digital media literacy as a norm. The report sees the problem with the concept of digital literacy is that it is less about tools and more about thinking, and thus skills and standards based on tools and platforms have proven to be somewhat short-lived.

According to Warshauer and Matuchniak, list information, media, and technology; learning and innovation skills; and life and career skills as the three skill sets that individuals need to master in order to be digitally literate. In order to achieve information, media, and technology skills, one needs to achieve competency in information literacy, media literacy and ICT (information communicative technologies). Encompassed within learning and innovation skills, one must also be able to be exercise their creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, and communication and collaboration skills. In order to be competent in life and career skills, it is also necessary to be able to exercise flexibility and adaptability, initiative and self-direction, social and cross-cultural skills, productivity and accountability, leadership and responsibility (Warshauer & Matuchniak, 2010).

Eshet-Alkalai offers another definition – 0ne I think is better suited for instructional design purposes.  Eshet-Alkalai states that digital literacy involves more than the mere ability to use software or operate a digital device.  It includes a large variety of complex cognitive, motor, sociological, and emotional skills which users need in order to function effectively in digital environments. The tasks required in this context include, for example, “reading” instructions from graphical displays in user interfaces; utilizing digital reproduction to create new, meaningful materials from existing ones; constructing knowledge from a nonlinear, hypertextual navigation; evaluating the quality and validity of information; and have a mature and realistic understanding of the rules that prevail in the cyberspace. This newly emerging concept of “digital literacy” may be utilized as a measure of the quality of learners’ work in digital environments, and provide scholars and developers with a more effective means of communication in designing better user-oriented environments.

Eshet-Alkalai also contends that there are five types of literacies that are encompassed in the umbrella term that is digital literacy.

  1. Photo-visual literacy is the ability to read and deduce information from visuals.
  2. Reproduction literacy is the ability to use digital technology to create a new piece of work or combine existing pieces of work together to make it your own.
  3. Branching literacy is the ability to successfully navigate in the non-linear medium of digital space.
  4. Information literacy is the ability to search, locate, assess and critically evaluate information found on the web.
  5. Socio-emotional literacy refers to the social and emotional aspects of being present online, whether it may be through socializing, and collaborating, or simply consuming content.

Nichole Pinkard, founder of Chicago’s pioneering Digital Youth Network (DYN), describes in this YouTube video how her organization is empowering young people with critical digital literacy skills that will help make them academically and professionally competitive.  Be sure and check it out.      

Until next week….. Happy learning!


  1.  ESHET-ALKALAI, Y. (2004). Digital Literacy: A Conceptual Framework for Survival Skills in the Digital Era. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia13(1), 93-106.
  2.  Warschauer, M. and Matuchniak, T. (2010). “New Technology and Digital Worlds: Analyzing Evidence of Equity in Access, Use, and Outcomes”. Review of Research in Education 34: 179–225. doi:10.3102/0091732X09349791.

Technology Centered vs. Learner-Centered Approach to Instructional Design

In week two I talked about what rich media means.  This week I want to talk about the Technology Centered vs. Learner Centered Approach to incorporating new technology into instruction.  Clark and Mayer describes one of the challenges of a technology-centered approach as not taking the learner into account, including what is known about how and why people learn.  This is in sharp contrast to the learner-centered approach to instructional design which focuses on how to facilitate the learner’s natural learning process.  In a learner-centered approach instructional designers use rich media to adapts to serve the needs of learners.

Lockheed Martin in redesigning their Fire Control Focus quarterly newsletter was a prime example of using rich media wisely and using the learner-centered approach to instructional design (ID).

Fire Control Focus Newsletter image

Fire Control Focus Newsletter

Fire Control Focus is a  a quarterly publication catered to workers at Lockheed Martin who work on the company’s “Fire Control” program.  It was launched in 2004 as a PDF file emailed to employees. For the first few years the e-newsletter had a tough time connecting with its audience, which was made up of 2,000 employees working in Lockheed Martin plants in Southern California and Florida. Some of the problems were that the newsletter was too text heavy and needed a new look.  News stories were presented on a stark white background without any interactive content.  Some referred to their experience as “watching paint dry”.

The project redesign team came up with two primary instructional design objectives:

  • Expand the newsletter’s outreach and connect with at least 30% of the 2,000 Fire Control employees.
  • Boost the number of visitors for the newsletter through offering interactive content and online video programming, track readership metrics, and capture/compare the number of page visits per issue.

Lockheed Martin conducted an extensive pre-survey of fire control workers to see what kind of changes they would like to see in the newsletter prior to redesign and to see and how the product could foster a better sense of community. The results of the survey were put to use in reconfiguring the newsletter, with a strong emphasis on visual storytelling and interactive communications which helped with buy-in from employees.

The rollout of the new newsletter was a significant departure from the previous one.  The new newsletter was redesigned in an online format, which enabled Lockheed Martin to track metrics by page clicks but also include richer media and interactive design elements.  Each issue included the following features which came about from the employee pre-survey (i.e., learner-centered approach):

  • The Fire Control VP editorial section, which provide insight into leadership decisions, strategy and the defense environment (the Pentagon being the company’s sole customer).
  • Video and animation are used to show examples of technological breakthroughs at the company and make success stories more tangible for a broader audience. The newsletter also uses video and interactive design to promote teamwork.
  • In-depth, technically focused feature articles ranging from stories covering systems upgrades, updates on new military contracts and major program milestones; Also  runs “soft” features such as employee profiles, coverage of junior achievement and charitable efforts.

After several months, a formal survey was conducted to evaluate employee use and overall impression of the changes in Fire Control Focus.   Following are the results of the survey:

  • Expand Newsletter Outreach:  The publication reached 768 employees, exceeding the goal of 30% of the Fire Control population.
  • Boosting Visitors:  Focusing on the second quarter issue alone, the Team determined that there were 559 unique visitors, which is nearly 73% of the total unique page visitors and more than doubled the number of unique visitors from the first quarter.

When asked what employees liked best about the redesign, the survey indicated:

  • 25% Information/Communication
  • 26% Program Updates/Business Information
  • 18% Format Design
  • 16% Personal Connection to Employees

Fire Control pie chart

Looks like Lockheed Martin got it right.  At least that time, right?  The company used rich media to aid in learning and served the needs of their employees rather than the other way around.  Wonder how many tries at this (i.e., failures) before they actually achieved success?  Have you come across instances in your career as an ID where you or your firm did not get it right the first time?  Care to share?  I would love to hear and learn from your experiences.

Until next week, happy learning………


Rich Media – What is it?

In an effort to discuss my assigned topic Using Rich Media Wisely for my course LT8000: Foundations of Instructional Design and Technology, I find it necessary to first define what it is.

Rich media is defined as instructional programs that incorporate high-end media such as video, animation and audio (Clark and Mayer, p. 309).   It is used not just for marketing but for content in training materials, technical documentation and web content. From what I gather, using rich media to deliver information can improve customer engagement, flatten the learning curve, reduce support requests and can ultimately drive greater user satisfaction and loyalty.  So if this stuff is so great, why aren’t we splattering more of it all over the place?   Hmm.  I guess that what I am about to find out, right?

As a marketing consultant, proposal writer and web content developer it has always been my job to find the best way to communicate… to get the point across…. to sell my client’s brand.  What is great about what I am learning in IDT is that there are features in rich media that if handled properly should promote learning.  If not handled properly… well, then some chosen media features may actually become distractions to learning for some learners.    Chapter 32 in the text explores various topics related to Using Rich Media Wisely including How People Learn, Do Visuals Improve Learning, among other topics.

I want to note that while preparing this post I kept getting tons of hits on “rich media ads” in Google search.  I guess the biggest distinction between “rich media” and “rich media ads” is that one primarily has mostly to do with rich media for online ad sales and the other rich media for instructional design.

Below is an interesting image I found by Wikipedia that visually describes the difference between a text ad, a standard display ad and a rich media ad.

rich media image


Until my next post….happy learning!

Initial Definition of Instructional Technology

Initial Definition of IDT, Ideal Future Career in IDT

As I mentioned in my introduction page I am a novice in the field of instructional design and technology and so except for my most recent consulting experience my knowledge and understanding is a little limited.   From a theoretical standpoint I understand that IDT involves the use of technology to maximize the effectiveness, efficiency and appeal of instruction and other learning experiences.  From a practical standpoint, it involves analyzing an instructional problem, developing a strategy/plan to solve that problem, design/create instructional material (develop a solution); and then develop methods to evaluate results.

In my opinion, good instructional design is 1) visually appealing to the eye; 2) motivates the learner, 2) makes learning more efficient.


Description of what I envision my future career in IDT would be like

My recent experience working as a project management consultant in higher education has opened my eyes to the idea of working in higher education after graduation.  My initial thought was that once I graduate I would go back into a corporate role or perhaps remain self-employed as a consultant.  The position I would be interested in is e-Learning Coordinator/Developer, a position that typically reports to the Director of Educational Technology.

Some responsibilities of the position are as follows:

  • Design and deliver e-Learning courses;
  • Design, develop, and deliver faculty and student training programs in preparation for  online learning.
  • Consult and advise educators on best practices in instructional design and blended learning.
  • Research, gather data, and re-purpose existing IDT materials as appropriate.