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A word about instructional design

What usually defines instructional design is (1) the available technology, (2) necessity—the number of trainees and their geographic dispersal, and (3) tradition—what people have done in the past. Any consideration of how people learn is exceptionally rare. An important perspective we bring to clients is the ability to integrate an appropriate learning model into the organization's culture.

Three learning models may be readily adapted to e-Learning:
  • Tutorial: presentation of new material, interlaced with guided practice, correction & feedback. It ought to include independent practice and periodic review. Highly scalable.
  • Cognitive: simulation, exploration, experimentation and other methods that encourage learners to discover generalizations and relationships. Usually requires some prerequisite knowledge and structured activities.
  • Collaborative / apprenticeship: modeling, coaching, and other guided experiences, usually organized around a project which encourages reflection and articulation of the issues. This is not as scalable as the other two instructional strategies, but highly appropriate when you'd like to build a community of practice.

The instructional designer ought to make a conscious choice of which model to follow, based on a careful analysis of the organization's objectives, the nature of the topic (some models are much more appropriate to some outcomes than to others), the organization's culture, cost and other constraints.


  
 


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