Instructional Design

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

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

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

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

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

“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” —Albert Einstein, US (German-born) physicist (1879 – 1955), no original source given   As news and social media make readily apparent today, almost any subject can be controversial. In fact, contentious debate has become an ersatz form of… Read More

I grew up in a unique time in the history of educational technology, being part of the first generation to grow up with personal computers in the classroom. For context, my kindergarten classroom (circa 1983) had a TRS-80 computer (in the back corner of the classroom, naturally), and the following year my first-grade classroom had… Read More

The rise of email communication in the 1980s and ’90s led to an increase in collaboration on content development projects of all sorts, as it became easy to email word processor files back and forth between collaborators and stakeholders. Emailing files back and forth was certainly cheaper than flying to meet in person and faster… Read More

Quizzes and exams often make one crucial pedagogical mistake: they do not ask enough reasoning questions. Reasoning questions, simply put, are questions that ask about the reason why an answer to another question is correct. For any given quiz or exam question, there is always an implicit chain of reasoning from the given information to… Read More

Recovering Broken Web Links and Resources with Archive.org

By Zachary Fruhling May 11, 2018

Using external web resources, such as online articles, files, and websites in your online courses is a powerful way to include provide a world of information and resources to your students at minimal cost. External web resources, however, come with certain user-experience risks, namely that sometimes web resources are removed or relocated, resulting in broken… Read More

Years ago I decided to make myself a pencil holder for my work desk. Having always enjoyed building things out of LEGO bricks, I decided to take myself to the local LEGO Store and pick up some loose bricks that I could use, finding the perfect shapes, sizes, and colors to make a pencil holder… Read More