Pedagogy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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

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

Are You Writing a Course or Creating a Learning Experience?

By Zachary Fruhling April 16, 2018

Authors of online course materials are usually selected for a combination of their subject matter expertise, their pedagogical prowess, and their experience in the classroom. Course writers, however, sometimes struggle to translate what they do effectively in the classroom into the new medium of online course development. Pedagogically effective instructors use a number of techniques… Read More