Instructional Design: Choosing
University of Toronto
• Digital technology allows:
o The use of multiple media types
o Interaction with learning material
o Interaction with others
• So what is appropriate for your learning situation?
• … BUT
• Make sure the technology serves the best interests of you and your learners
• Don’t try to do too much (especially the first time)
• Keep asking “Why”
When considering technologies...
• … keep in mind:
• What technologies your learners are likely to be using (connectivity, lab
computers, portable devices, etc.)
• Supporting a range of learning styles (within reason!)
• Very common on the Web
• Can be photographic or drawn images
• Can be scanned, shot with a digital camera or created in an image editing package
• Don't use gratuitously
• Use ALT text
• Keep graphic resolution in mind, especially when printing images
• Like text, check on different machines, different browsers
• A potentially powerful and useful media type
• Often overlooked in favour of video, but audio is a more mature technology on
• Can be recorded directly into computer or "ripped" off a CD or other source
• Good for synchronous point-to-point communication (i.e. telephony)
BIO 150 - Sound Example
• Most PCs can record voice with the addition of an inexpensive microphone
• For voice recordings, record in mono rather than stereo
• Use audio “normalization” to compress the dynamic range for maximum volume
• Becoming increasingly common on the Web
• Very effective at illustrating a task that takes place over time
• Can be created in a program like Flash or an animated GIF editor, or captured
from screen actions
Neurogenesis Simulation in Flash
• Important to include if there is an obvious visual aspect involved in a “live”
• Probably the most difficult to produce & to deliver on the Web
• Can sometimes be replaced with a combination of audio and stills
• Can be "digitized" from tape or camera, or captured using a computer camera
Press Briefing by Tony Blair at the 2003 G8 Summit
• When shooting for Internet delivery, avoid too much camera movement like pans
and zooming when possible
• Like audio, video can be delivered using a streaming media system
Levels of Interactivity
• Step-through or slide show
• Selection from a simple list of options
• User selects own path through information
• User effects the way information is displayed by their actions
• Nearly limitless possibilities, true "virtual world" applications
• Higher level Interactivity:
• More skill required for development
• More development time
• More complexity for the learner
• But is worth it if it supports the learning!
Issues of “Time & Space”
• Are you planning on synchronous (“real time”) online interactions vs.
• Are your learners together in a single location vs. distributed across locations?
• How will these factors influence your selection of technologies?
• “Plain” web pages & sites
o widely supported, easiest to access
o not private, completely “DIY”
• Courseware systems
o password protected, feature-rich
o “management” issues, learning curve
• CD-ROM & other “hard” media
o best for large files, video etc.
o more $, hardest to update
• No reason multiple delivery methods can’t be used (i.e. CD for large media, web
for regular updates)
• Set clear guidelines on bulletin board & email communication, site updates etc.
For everything you do for your learners...
• Keep asking: “Why am I using this technology?”
o Is this enriching the learning experience?
o Is it appropriate for my learners?
o Will it support a range of learning styles?
o Is it more work than it’s worth for me and for them?