Instructional Design

Learning to Illustrate in Adobe Illustrator: From 2D to 3D

By Zachary Fruhling February 26, 2019

Throughout my career as an instructional designer, author, and developer of online course materials, I have been privileged to collaborate with top-notch graphic designers and illustrators who have helped me bring my creative vision for how to teach topics and concepts to life visually through illustrations and animations. I recently took it upon myself to… Read More

Precision and Creativity: Difficult-to-Teach Qualities

By Zachary Fruhling February 19, 2019

Having spent over a decade training and mentoring educational content developers and instructional designers, I have come to the conclusion that there are two qualities (or perhaps personality traits) that are nearly impossible to teach to someone who doesn’t already possess them: precision and creativity, both of which are important for creating effective and engaging… Read More

Sometimes I am struck by how much the world has changed within the scope of my own meager lifespan, whether in the world of education, in the world of technology, or in the realm of day-to-day life. There are many features of the contemporary everyday educational experience that were in the realm of science fiction… Read More

The New Counterculture in Education: Resisting Normalization

By Zachary Fruhling January 15, 2019

In higher education there is a cultural and psychological trend toward standardization and normalization. Certain ideas about education become socially reinforced and codified as norms and standards. This is, to some extent, to be expected. After all, educators and instructional designers should rightly be concerned with student performance and learning outcomes, the theory being that… Read More

Change the World by Inventing New Tools

By Zachary Fruhling January 7, 2019

Many of the people who ushered in the personal computer revolution in the 1970s and 1980s, and subsequently internet culture in the 1990s and beyond, had ties to counterculture movements of the 1960s and early 1970s. For example, Steve Jobs was a reader of the Whole Earth Catalog, a print periodical containing helpful articles and information… Read More

Online Course Writing: Check Your Work

By Zachary Fruhling January 2, 2019

As any current or former math student knows, “Check your work” has been a constant refrain of teachers through the ages. In fact, “Check your work” is good advice for any project you are working on, educationally, professionally, or personally. Checking your work is an important part of online course writing, as it should be… Read More

The Act of Planning vs. Acting on a Plan

By Zachary Fruhling December 13, 2018

My maternal grandfather gave me some of the best life advice I have ever received: “Always have a plan.” Having a plan helps you set your goals and figure out the necessary steps to achieve them. Too often, however, having a plan (or acting on a plan) is confused with the act of planning. Having a… Read More

Google Translate: Freund oder Feind (Friend or Enemy)?

By Tom Armbrecht, PhD November 19, 2018

Google Translate is an astonishing program. It converts words and even whole sentences back and forth from dozens of languages through multiple modalities; you can type, handwrite, scan, and even say whatever you want to communicate. Its accuracy—at least in French, German, and Spanish, the three languages that I speak—is surprisingly good. At worst, Translate… Read More

While the pedagogical creativity inherent to creating an engaging online learning experience should not be understated, an equally important aspect of online course design is the production workflow. The creation of any product, whether tangible or intangible, has constraints of time frame, checkpoints, and quality control, all of which are important aspects of online course… Read More

The English language has several easily-confused horizontal-line punctuation symbols: Hyphen: – En Dash: – Em Dash: — Minus Sign: − Underscore: _ Although these punctuation marks look similar at a glance, they are actually distinct punctuation marks with specific intended uses and with distinct unicode character values. Let’s look at these different punctuation symbols and… Read More

Learning from the Other Side of the Podium

By Tom Armbrecht, PhD October 10, 2018

Recently, I went back to school for the first time in 20 years. Although I was at the university every day teaching until about two years ago and have often taken adult-education courses, I hadn’t been a student in a class for credit since 1997. (In case you’re wondering, I recently celebrated my third 28th… Read More

A Microlearning Approach to Education

By Zachary Fruhling October 5, 2018

There are two approaches you can take to education, a macro approach and a micro approach, although these two approaches are not mutually exclusive. A macro approach, as the name implies, focuses on education at a larger scale, at the level of institutions, accreditation, academic program design, and so on. In contrast, a micro approach… Read More

Theories of Consciousness As a philosopher, educator, and instructional designer, I find it worthwhile to explore competing theories about the nature of consciousness and their consequences for education and instructional design. Very quickly, the major categories of theories of consciousness are as follows: Mind-Body Dualism: The mind is nonphysical and distinct from the body or… Read More

Leave Out That PowerPoint!

By Zachary Fruhling September 10, 2018

Microsoft PowerPoint and its Google G Suite cousin, Google Slides, make it easy to put together visual slide presentations to go along with an oral presentation, whether live in front of an audience or online for a webinar or videoconference. And while PowerPoint can indeed be used effectively for this purpose, it can also be… Read More