A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

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The ADDIE model is the generic process traditionally used by instructional designers and training developers. The five phases—Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation—represent a dynamic, flexible guideline for building effective training and performance support tools.

InstructionalDesign.org. Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Methods


Applying Audience Invoked Models to Instructional Design Methods

You should know what appeals to and motivates your audience before you approach them with a suggestion for action. The same point is also true for writers. The writer must have a good idea of who the audience is and what motivates them in order to create arguments that will convince his or her audience to not only to read the text, but also to behave in the desired fashion after they have read the text.

Cleman, Kelly A. Orange Journal, The (2001). Articles>Education>Instructional Design


Assessing a Hybrid Format   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

As college instructors endeavor to integrate technology into their classrooms, the crucial question is, 'How does this integration affect learning?' This article reports an assessment of a series of online modules the author designed and piloted for a business communication course that she presented in a hybrid format (a combination of computer classroom sessions and independent online work). The modules allowed the author to use classroom time for observation of and individualized attention to the composing process. Although anecdotal evidence suggested that this system was highly effective, other assessment tools provided varying results. An anonymous survey of the students who took this course confirmed that the modules were effective in teaching important concepts; however, a blind review of student work produced mixed results.

Katz, Susan M. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (2008). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Can You Teach Me Moodle?

Teachers are a very pragmatic lot and love to borrow good stuff. Give’em a good one in Moodle and they will come! If a science teacher has a great solution using Moodle for a problem or idea her class and say, an English teacher sees it and ‘gets it’ - you can bet the English teacher will at least try or ask how to go about it. And coming from a colleague and a fellow ’struggler’ is a much more powerful thing than coming from the school’s main Moodle peddler like me.

Lasic, Tomaz. Human (2009). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Commentary on International Learning   (peer-reviewed)

This article, subtitled “Audience Analysis and Instructional System Design for Successful Learning and Performance,” by Margaret Martinez is a must-read for all committed to seeing to it that technologies keep their promises and achieve their potential. There is a propensity among technology proponents to disregard, or at least to minimize the importance of, individual differences among learners and the impact of differences in learning. While the research design, execution, and fi ndings are significant it is important to recognize this work for what it is—a meaningful addition to a less-than-adequate body of knowledge. In our (still) instruction-centered educational environment it is still frustratingly diffi cult to elicit recognition that we are all different in many ways and that includes how we learn. Ms. Martinez has provided us with a contemporary update on individual difference data which flows well from her excellent historical review.

Russell, Thomas L. Journal of Computer Documentation (2000). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>International


Communication as the Foundation of Distance Education   (peer-reviewed)

Communication plays a vital role in learning, not only with respect to expository and discussion methods of instruction, but at a more consequential level in the development of higher mental processes through acquiring and learning to manipulate symbols. This has been so at least since the early days of Greek society where education of the citizen primarily was concerned with the ability to express oneself in a thoughtful manner in order to develop a better society. Isocrates, one of the first Western educators, stressed the relevance of speech in sharpening thought and judgment; his emphasis on the relationship between education and speaking well became the standard throughout the ancient Western world.

Brooks, Robert F. Kairos (2002). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Communication Teaching Resources: Assignments and Materials to Use in Class

A well designed assignment helps students understand the purpose of the activity and the criteria that will be used to evaluate students’ work. Annotated examples and guides help students build on previous knowledge and step up to the demands of new types of communication. The materials in this section contain ideas for new types of assignments, guides that may be adapted for the specific requirements of courses, and PowerPoint files that may be shown in class to provide brief additional instruction on communication.

conneXions (2008). Articles>Education>Instructional Design


Computer-Mediated Conferencing: Teaching in a Virtual Classroom   (PDF)

Asynchronous desktop conferencing, or computer-mediated interaction, is one of the new technologies in education. A videocourse with an interactive conferencing component was used successfully in a distance course for graduate students in technical communication. The technology allowed students to collaborate, peer review, and conference at their own pace without coming to campus. Computermediated conferencing has promise as a teaching tool for technical communication.

Coppola, Nancy W. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Contextualizing the Learning   (PDF)

Perhaps the most overlooked teaching principle is the one stating that we learn by linking new material to known material. If we cannot connect what we must learn to what we already know, we can hardly anchor it in our mental schemata and thus make it our own, at least durably. Moreover, our motivation for learning would at best be extrinsic (some sort of obligation, perhaps): Why would we want to learn material to which we cannot relate? Even if we could learn the material without context—by memorization, for instance—we could not recognize situations where this unconnected knowledge applies. For all practical purposes, it would be useless.

Codone, Susan K. Intercom (2004). Articles>Education>Instructional Design


Corporate Software Training: Is Web-Based Training as Effective as Instructor-Led Training?   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Web-based training has been both acclaimed as a self-paced, consistent, stand-alone alternative to traditional instructor-led training and disparaged for its high development costs and dearth of qualified trainers. Critics especially question its effectiveness. This case study tests the effectiveness of a stand-alone web-based training program and compares the results to that of an identical instructor-led course. The course provides highly task-oriented instruction for a computer software package and was developed using a proven instructional design methodology. The data from this study show that web-based training is as effective as instructor-led training for stand-alone software application training in a corporation.

Coppola, Nancy W. and Robert Myre. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication (2002). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Course Authoring Systems: A Review

Many instructor-led courses are being considered for conversion to electronic or distance delivery. A recent HRD survey by the American Society for Training and Development predicts that by the year 2000 only an estimated 54.8% of training will be instructor-led, compared to 80% in 1996. By contrast, the market for training delivered via new technologies is expected to go from 10% in 1996 to over 35% by the year 2000. Web-Based Training (WBT) is expected to account for a sizable portion of these electronic course developments and conversions.

Phillips, Vicky. GetEducated.com (1998). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Creating and Using Interactive Lectures

Interactive lectures include lecture material interspersed with short activities that call upon students to review or develop their knowledge of the lecture topic. This module describes some of the benefits of using interactive lectures. Descriptions and examples of selected interactive lecture strategies are also given.

conneXions (2008). Articles>Presentations>Instructional Design>Education


A Curriculum for the Research and Practice of International Technical Communication   (PDF)

It is no secret that businesses around the world need to compete globally in order to survive. What is a secret is that technical communicators in every county in the world are untrained to deal with the issues, deadlines, standards, and quality measures necessary to address the needs of global businesses. This paper offers some ideas and justification for a curriculum in international technical communication.

Hoft, Nancy L. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>International


Design Once: Use Again and Again and Again…   (PDF)

You can either do it over and over again; or, you can design it once and use it again and again. The decision to create reusable learning modules need not be an expensive one. It just requires modular design.

Horton, William K. III. STC Proceedings (1998). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Designing Accessible Web Based Courseware with Authoring Tools

Creation of Web based courseware has become easier and quicker, particularly, for non-Web experts with the advent of authoring software which allows authors to put together resources without requiring to learn HTML. However, there are problems regarding the accessibility of resources produced by such software, and this article discusses the nature of these problems and how they can be overcome.

Sloan, David. TechDis (2000). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Designing Design Education

Designers today are involved in the development and design of new products and their interactions, software, virtual identities, web sites, strategic plans, wearable computers, digital libraries, games, and interactive exhibitions. The old monikers of graphic and industrial design aren't descriptive of the new fields of practice and research that are being explored today. These disciplines in fact have come to realize that they do not own the word `design.' The activity of design, as described by Simon (1969), is being practiced by a host of disciplines that include engineering, computer science, information systems, professional writing, and business. We encounter job titles such as software design, engineering design, human-computer interaction design, and systems design, to name a few. If design is so pervasive, who, then, is a designer and how is s/he educated?

Boyarski, Daniel. SIGCHI Bulletin (1998). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Assessment


Designing for Motivation and Usability in a Museum-Based Multi-User Virtual Environment   (PDF)

This National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research project is creating and evaluating graphical multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) that use digitized museum resources to enhance middle school students' motivation and learning about science and its impacts on society. MUVEs enable multiple simultaneous participants to access virtual contexts, to interact with digital artifacts, to represent themselves through “avatars,” to communicate with other participants and with computer-based agents, and to enact collaborative learning activities of various types. Initially, MUVEs were based only on textual descriptions); now, many MUVEs are graphical in nature, or use graphics to enhance textual descriptions. Our project's educational environments are extending current MUVE capabilities in order to study the science learning potential of immersive simulations, interactive virtual museum exhibits, and 'participatory' historical situations (http://www.virtual.gmu.edu/muvees/). To accomplish this, we have built our own MUVE shell based on the Sense8 WorldToolKit (http://www.sense8.com/).

Dede, Chris, Diane Ketelhut and Kevin Ruess. Harvard University (2000). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Usability


The Difference Between Training and Teaching

The difference between training and teaching is that teaching encourages reflection, and therefore self improvement. A teacher aims to create students who are better then themselves. A trainer is looking for a human robot.

Barnes, David. Posterous (2009). Articles>Education>Instructional Design


E-Learning and Legislation

Using electronic media for learning and teaching is widespread. E-Learning offers opportunities for staff to convey material in a variety of ways and ultimately on 'anytime, anyplace' basis. E-learning materials can range from the simple act of putting lecture notes on line to simulations of real life. This means that distance learning (both off and on campus) is a realistic possibility, with students able to take part in class discussions via email and online discussion forums, and at the same time being able to remotely access materials and information. These materials do not need to be static web pages, as technologies such as broadband improve audio and video may be made available on a faculty Intranet allowing students to review material already covered, or prepare for lectures and tutorials. For example, medical students may review a video of clinical procedures 'streamed' over the intranet and then discuss them in a tutorial, the flexibility of streaming would allow the students to view the video at the their own pace and at times which suit them.

Sloan, Martin. TechDis (2002). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


E-nhance Lectures   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Ever more lecturers find themselves forced to Web-enhance their courses out of economic pressure or prestige. Universities trapped between rising student numbers and decreasing budgets are turning to e-learning as the one-stop solution, with little concern for student or teacher needs. An e-(nhanced) learning environment can only be successful if it fulfils students' and lecturers' needs alike. The student needs to be supported in various stages of learning, whereas the lecturer cannot afford to spend more time on generating lecture support materials. Investigation of lecturers' and students' requirements resulted in the concept and design of e-ULE (e-Usable Learning Environment), a university-level teaching and learning environment with a strong focus on usability. To ensure learning materials are helpful for students in any learning situation, from gaining an overview to providing reference, an equally usable authoring tool is required: e-ULE's authoring system is geared towards a typical lecturer, without requiring an undue amount of IT or pedagogical skills, but offers support for academic workflow by supporting tasks like literature research and integration, and collaborative editing in large groups (e.g. with students). Following a usability engineering approach, all features of the e-ULE learning environment are derived from user requirements and usability tests. The main parts of the environment are currently at 'proof of concept' stage. The system is open source and relies on several prominent open source projects.

Naber, Larissa and Monika Kohle. Journal of Digital Information (2003). Articles>Education>Instructional Design


Experience-Enabling Design: An Approach to ELearning Design (I)

This paper draws inspiration from diverse media to understand what constitutes experience. In doing so, it seeks directions for building experience into design of elearning products.

Krishnan, L. Ravi and Venkatesh Rajamanickam. uiGarden (2006). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Experience-Enabling Design: An Approach to ELearning Design (II)

Layout decisions like the course structure, navigation, media, etc., affect the experience of the product. For a learner, the ease and intuitive way of getting in, moving around and exiting are the experience factors. How do we bridge this gap between layout and experience?

Krishnan, L. Ravi and Venkatesh Rajamanickam. uiGarden (2006). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Facilitating Interactivity in an Online Technical Communication Course   (PDF)   (members only)

Several researchers have discussed the important role of interactivity in promoting student learning and socialization, especially in online courses. Facilitating interactivity in an asynchronous, web-based course, however, presents a number of challenges. Such a course, in technical communication, was developed at Florida State University incorporating three interactive components: threaded class discussions, peer editing groups, and collaboration on a group project. Lessons learned from the development and implementation of this course may assist other instructors in developing and teaching online technical communication courses.

Latham, Don. STC Proceedings (2002). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


FAQs About Your First CBT   (PDF)

A comprehensive overview of computer-based training for technical communicators new to the subject.

Wokosin, Linda. Intercom (2004). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Fostering Dialogue Between Engineers and Technical Communicators   (PDF)

In order to better prepare engineers for business and industry, the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Michigan is running a three year pilot project. The purpose of this project is to design a seamless course that integrates the engineering and technical communication components. One way that this is being achieved is through interactive learning modules. These modules supplement course lectures. In addition, the process of designing them helps to foster conversation between faculty members—important for uncovering assumptions about teaching, engineering, and communication.

Fraiberg, Steven A. STC Proceedings (2003). Articles>Education>Instructional Design



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