Instructional Design

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

Personal Responsibility Without Educational Darwinism

By Zachary Fruhling September 4, 2018

In a previous article, Education as Habit Formation, I described the Aristotelian notion that various educational virtues, in the sense of cultivating virtuous habits and character traits in students, are a matter of finding the middle ground or the golden mean between two opposing vices. One of those virtuous educational character traits is taking personal… Read More

Instructional Design as Customer Service

By Zachary Fruhling August 14, 2018

Long before I was an instructional designer, long before I was a digital content author and developer, long before I was a college-level philosophy instructor, I was a salesperson at RadioShack, from 1995 before I graduated from high school until 2001 after I graduated from college and left for grad school. This time spent doing… Read More

Phatic Communication and the Meaning of “Woof!”

By Tom Armbrecht, PhD August 8, 2018

When I was in graduate school, I saw a short film about cultural norms in France. One scene featured two people greeting each other in Paris’s Jardin de Luxembourg. After the archetypal bises on each cheek, the young man in the film asked the older woman, “Ça va?” Instead of saying simply, “Oui, merci.” she… Read More

Don’t Write. Draw!

By Zachary Fruhling August 2, 2018

Teaching is largely a performative art, often with a visual component. A good teacher, armed with nothing more than a whiteboard and a marker, can bring concepts to life through narrative and hand-drawn illustrations. Many teachers have intuitive mastery of this whiteboarding skill, such that they don’t need to spend much time thinking about what… Read More

Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bottom-Up or Top-Down?

By Zachary Fruhling July 23, 2018

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a well-known hierarchy of different levels of cognitive skills, often used in education to distinguish between higher-level cognitive skills and lower-level cognitive skills. (See this article for a history of the development and refinement of Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloom’s Taxonomy by Patricia Armstrong.) A revised version of Bloom’s Taxonomy often takes the following… Read More

VideoScribe: A Powerful Whiteboarding Video Creation Tool

By Zachary Fruhling July 13, 2018

VideoScribe is a powerful but simple animated whiteboarding video creation tool by Sparkol, Inc. Using text, images, audio, and a large library of premade stylized artwork, VideoScribe makes it easy to create professional-quality narrated whiteboard videos quickly and easily with a minimum of other tools or technical knowledge. VideoScribe is used in many different contexts:… Read More

In a culture like ours, long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded that, in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium—that is,… Read More

Rediscovering the Power of the Link

By Zachary Fruhling June 29, 2018

No, not that Link! These links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperlink It’s been over 20 years since I obtained my first internet-capable computer, way back in 1997 (an IBM Aptiva running Windows 95, if you’re curious). With this being my first taste of the internet, I remember being amazed at the power of jumping from webpage to webpage (“web-surfing,”… Read More

The Loss of the Live

By Tom Armbrecht, PhD June 22, 2018

One must start from that which is barely knowable but knowable to oneself and try to know what is knowable without qualification, passing, as has been said, by way of those very things which one does know. —Aristotle, Metaphyics   As someone who does research for HotChalk’s Learning Design team, I am in the process… Read More

At its best, there is a playful hands-on aspect to the creative design process. Well-known creative and innovative product design studios (say, the design studios at Apple or LEGO) are known both for their creativity and for their designers’ hands-on exposure to the raw materials from which a product will be designed and eventually manufactured…. Read More

Writing in the Second Person: Addressing Students Directly

By Zachary Fruhling June 8, 2018

A common concern about online courses is that they can be impersonal, with communication between instructors and students often being faceless and asynchronous. Although there are various collaboration and communication tools available to enable real-time communication, one of the simplest things you can do to make an online course more personal for students is to… Read More