January 5, 2015

Effective media instruction has always been a designers’ medium.

In fact, the only applicable phrase for effective media instruction — “instructional integrity” — does not belong to the new Merlins with their magic technology. That phrase is the province of flesh and blood human beings, the instructional designers of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Media instruction has never been an evolving electronic gadgetry world. It is rather one more step in a natural historical chain that has led us from Socrates and Plato to the online learning world of today.

Media instruction is part of the informational and instructional evolutionary process that has taken us beyond storytelling, the printing press, and radio wave transmission. It is a communication tool. It makes possible more efficient information transfer and more effective learning.

It does this through the use of multiple media which includes simulations, full motion video, optional full audio, animations and sound.

And so it should be today with online learning.

However, the promise of online learning will only be attained when the applications designer can effectively communicate with the users’ senses — be they sight, sound, or touch.

The human animal remains a sense-taught creature. And, online learning provides us with an excellent platform for stimulating the senses of a learner.

Not everyone can be an effective instructional designer. In fact, very few can. But, the few that can should lead us. Those few will show us how to use the new learning technologies for better education and training.

Some will build effective commercial programs. Some will build effective custom application programs. But, the few that can will build those applications around one basic tenet: learner-controlled instruction grounded in multiple media.

Yet, we must guard ourselves against infatuation.

The new learning technologies hold promise. They can be effective tools, but none of them are answers.

The answers for our current decade will come from an emerging breed of “authors” and “artists.” Those who know that training and education are irrevocably linked — linked by the necessity of transferring control of learning to the end-user through the adaptation of the media-based learning culture that permeates their communication world.

Only then will online learning fulfill its promise.

More on Wednesday – – – – –

—- Bill Walton: co-Founder, ITC Learning
(Mondays & Wednesdays)