Thesis On Learning Objects And Instructional Design

In the early days, we had frequent meetings trying to map out the various courses, divide them up into buckets of related topics, and generally work together to share ideas and content.

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In the old world, I could make explicit connections between the ideas in various lessons.

I could (and often did) start sentences with phrases like, "As you learned in the previous lesson…." Any decent instructional designer (in fact, any decent writer) knows that using these sorts of connective phrases can be critical to helping your audience understand the bigger picture.

In the end, we came up with the following design compromises: This design strategy seemed to work well for our pilot course, but I wasn't sure that it would hold up with a dozen courses.

Would the content always be chunkable into lessons of the right size?

The reality was that we were all working too hard to produce too many courses too quickly for us to take the time required to write shareable content.

Maybe in a year or two, after all the content was up, somebody would be able to go back through it, tighten up the connections, and eliminate the redundancies.The only way to avoid that potential problem (we thought) was to make them all different. I was used to being able to create simulations or games late in a course that would string together a number of ideas that the learners had covered in various lessons.This was particularly useful when lessons were short, since it's difficult to come up with an interesting scenario to test people's knowledge on just a couple of short facts that they had learned.When strung together, would these units feel like a course, or would they be too disjointed and too abstract for the learners?Unfortunately, I never found out the answers to these questions.More on this later.) Since this sort of discussion can very quickly become too abstract to be helpful, I'm going to stick to the time-honored method of story-telling, providing vignettes of actual client problems I had to solve and what I learned while struggling to solve them.Object Lesson #1: Reusability Breaks Some Instructional Designs Back in early 1998, a professional association for managers came to the company I worked for with the idea of converting all of their self-study workbooks into online courses.I continue to search far and wide for somebody who is smart enough to lead the way, but so far I'm still pretty much wandering in the desert. Rather than aiming to create seamlessly and instantly reusable learning objects, I try to think about which pieces of my e-learning courses are likely to be useful in other courses and whether I can invest a little extra time in the design now in exchange for saving a little more time later.I'm not thinking about reusing my unaltered work so much as I am thinking about recycling it.In this article, I'm going to share what I've learned so far.(You may have noticed already that I referred to recycling "work" and not "content." My experience has been that the content, i.e., the specific words, pictures, and other representations of particular ideas, is cheaper to create and more expensive to recycle than the instructional design and programming which presents the content in a learnable way.


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