Traditionally, learning design has been conservative about user interfaces in digital interventions. Designers have been unwilling to make too many assumptions about learners’ levels of technological and cultural awareness, often due to the pressure of ensuring that learning interventions are accessible across very large populations with wide ranges of ability. However, while I applaud this intention, the ubiquity of standard digital user interfaces in everyday life means that learning design of this kind is running the risk of losing credibility from an increasingly tech-savvy audience.
Ask someone what e-learning is – usually that person automatically conjures up an image of an hour-long module filled with text and the occasional question, navigated through with a ‘next button’ and a certificate to print at the end. This is the predominant meaning of e-learning in the common consciousness, and it is making it harder to break people’s preconceptions around the scope and depth of digital education.
Instructional design is evolving rapidly, and the view of the instructional designer as a rapid-authoring expert is no longer relevant to the needs of the market. I am often asked about what makes a good instructional designer, so I have put together some of the key skills (beyond the baseline design and authoring abilities often associated with the role), which I think a modern instructional designer needs to possess in order to produce effective and engaging learning interventions.
We all live in front of the ever-changing Google font, relying on our search results to take us to the first step of any query. However Google has quickly moved beyond simple queries to become a mass educator. Teenagers learn complex programming skills from their bedrooms, DIY enthusiasts build houses using YouTube videos, political interns learn about countries from Wikipedia. Continue reading Is Google all we need?
Gamification is great. All the opportunities enjoyed by a medium that has successfully been motivating people to spend hours at a time learning new skills, mastering new methods and chasing intangible rewards while remaining social and networked the whole time. It’s being embraced by technologists and educationalists as the new medium for education and any technology product that relies on non-compulsory participation. This a view I wholeheartedly buy into, so why am I constantly frustrated by the confusion and failure of it’s application. Continue reading How can you get gamification wrong?