Instructional Design

Teenagers or college students hanging outdoors in golden sunlight

The 2020 school year has arrived with many unexpected challenges for teachers. On top of preparations of lesson plans, activities, and resources, teachers are now adjusting to teaching online. For educators who are used to engaging in-person and group settings, this is an incredibly challenging time. One of the biggest challenges for teachers changing to… Read More

How to Make Lessons Cohesive When Teaching Remote Classes

By The Editorial Team October 1, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has made remote education crucial. It was treated separately from traditional methods of education. People who wanted to save some time and look for flexibility chose online education and other forms of remote education as alternatives to traditional in-class lessons. Now, remote education is the only option available for many students and… Read More

At the Heart of TPACK: A Pedagogical Model

By Darri Stephens June 16, 2020

We know that education loves its acronyms, and yet sometimes the hardest part is remembering what each stands for, never mind what each means! Recently we dived into the SAMR Model (pronounced “sammer”), to learn how technology can be used as a Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, or Redefinition when designing learning experiences. TPACK, which stands for… Read More

Online Learning – Real Interactivity vs. Baby Interactivity

By Zachary Fruhling March 30, 2020

In today’s online educational environment, it is more important than ever to create genuinely interactive online educational experiences, above and beyond the out-of-the-box, cookie-cutter interactivity provided by most educational content development tools and learning management systems such as simple quizzing functionality and flashcards, which I often refer to as “baby interactivity.” So if most out-of-the-box… Read More

Should Educational Experiences Be “Satisfying”?

By Zachary Fruhling October 25, 2019

Nineteenth-century British moral philosopher John Stuart Mill famously said, “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.” — John Stuart Mill As instructional designers, we are often tasked with creating “satisfying” educational and learning experiences. We take for granted that education… Read More

Productive Collaboration vs. Unproductive Collaboration

By Zachary Fruhling August 5, 2019

Collaboration is often touted as an inherent virtue in the modern world, whether in business, education, product development, or product design (instructional design or otherwise). It is important, however, to distinguish between productive collaboration and unproductive collaboration (or, even worse, counterproductive collaboration). Unquestionably collaboration has many benefits, such as inclusiveness, the sharing of a plurality… Read More

Techniques for Working with Course Writers

By Zachary Fruhling May 23, 2019

As an instructional designer, working with subject matter experts and course writers can be a complex process with many potential challenges, from setting expectations and discussing requirements to navigating the multitude of personalities and challenges you may encounter from course writer to course writer. The following overview covers some of the many aspects that are… Read More

Leaving the Ivory Tower

By Tom Armbrecht, PhD May 17, 2019

By Tom Armbrecht I changed careers in 2016 when I stopped being a French professor and became an instructional designer. In the eyes of some my former university colleagues, my resignation meant that I effectively switched teams when I abandoned my “noble vocation” as teacher and researcher for a job at a for-profit enterprise. Although… Read More

Attributes of Well-Written Assignment Instructions

By Zachary Fruhling May 14, 2019

When you are teaching a face-to-face course, you have some freedom to provide assignment instructions to your students that are somewhat imprecise. This is because you have the opportunity to provide further clarification or to answer any questions in person when your students are right in front of you. In an online course, however, assignment… Read More

Just as a carpenter or an architect each has a set of essential tools for his or her craft, so does the working instructional designer come prepared with a set of essential instructional design tools. These essential instructional design tools vary from instructional designer to instructional designer based on his or her own experience as… Read More

Pros and Cons of Traditional Instructional Design Models

By Zachary Fruhling April 30, 2019

I did not begin my career as an instructional designer. Having spent several years in the classroom as a college- and university-level instructor of philosophy and logic, I stumbled into instructional design by way of educational content development as a learning design author and subject matter expert, combining my classroom experience and subject matter expertise… Read More

Teaching and Learning About Trauma

By Tom Armbrecht, PhD April 23, 2019

Trauma is such a common experience in today’s world that almost all teachers encounter it, at least indirectly, in their classrooms. Even though I worked with academically successful young adults who, by and large, led stable lives, many had lived through traumatizing situations at home or in school. (According to the 2016 National Survey of… Read More

Don’t Build a Faster Horse

By Zachary Fruhling April 22, 2019

The following quote, along with its many variants, is usually (but perhaps mistakenly) attributed to Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company: If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse. — Henry Ford Regardless of whether Henry Ford ever actually said these words, the principle about innovation… Read More

One of my most formative television/film experiences was the television miniseries adaptation of Anne of Green Gables (Sullivan Entertainment, 1985), based on the book of the same name (1908) by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Set on Prince Edward Island in the first decade of the 1900s, Anne of Green Gables follows the adventures of Anne Shirley,… Read More

Hanging Indents in HTML and CSS for Instructional Designers

By Zachary Fruhling March 29, 2019

Although opinions differ about the role of hanging indents in the post-print digital era, from time to time you may need to add hanging indents for things like APA references in your online course materials. Unfortunately, the WYSIWYG (“What You See Is What You Get”) editors in many Learning Management Systems do not give you… Read More