A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Instructional Design

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Seven Key Steps to Successful ELearning Implementations

Implementing any type of elearning program can appear daunting, no matter what the size of the organization. I have worked on a variety of implementations, ranging from international programs to very centralized, but each still came with their unique a set of challenges. This being the case, it is always good to have a general plan in place so as to maximize the success of your elearning program. Sure, there will be unique components for your particular project, but these 10 areas will ensure that you cover the major items so as to avoid the bigger problems down the road.

Ferriman, Justin. LearnDash (2013). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Staging Scientific Controversies: A Gallery Test on Science Museums' Interactivity   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The “transfer” model in science communication has been addressed critically from different perspectives, while the advantages of the interactive model have been continuously praised. Yet, little is done to account for the specific role of the interactive model in communicating “unfinished science.” The traditional interactive methods in museums are not sufficient to keep pace with rapid scientific developments. Interactive exchanges between laypeople and experts are thought mainly through the lens of a dialogue that is facilitated and framed by the traditional “conference room” architecture. Drawing on the results of a small-scale experiment in a gallery space, we argue for the need for a new “architecture of interaction” in museum settings based on art installation and simulation techniques, which will enhance the communication potentials of science museums and will provide conditions for a fruitful even-handed exchange of expert and lay knowledge.

Yaneva, Albena, Tania Mara and Birgit Greiner. Public Understanding of Science (2009). Articles>Scientific Communication>Instructional Design>Interaction Design


STC Instructional Design and Learning Special Interest Group

The Instructional Design & Learning (IDL) SIG helps STC members design, develop, and implement technical instruction in electronic and classroom settings. It promotes sound design practices and educates members about instructional theory, research, and tools. The IDL SIG provides resources to STC members interested in the intersection of technical communication and instructional design, especially in the following areas: Training development and delivery. Research and theory in instructional design and learning. Self-paced training development and delivery, including web-based training (WBT) and computer-based training (CBT). Tools for WBT and CBT.

STC. Organizations>Education>Instructional Design


Structure and Creativity in the Learning Process

Structure is a fundamental construct of mathematics. The field of discrete mathematics, in fact, is the foundation of data structures, upon which computer science is built.

Sherry, Lorraine C. Boston Broadside (1990). Articles>Education>Instructional Design


Studying the Creation of Kindergarten

How does the pursuit of one man's interests result in the creation of kindergarten and timeless design principles? Bill Lucas shows us how Friedrich Fröbel took basic elements to create intricate, scalable systems that can serve as a model for creating new experiential systems today.

Lucas, Bill. Boxes and Arrows (2005). Articles>Information Design>Instructional Design


Taking Cues from the Culture: The Case of Network Earth   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article explores the design choices for 'Network Earth,' a museum exhibit that introduced the general public to computer networks and related issues. The exhibit was one of three studied in a larger research project to develop a grounded model of design for learning in museums. Network Earth was developed by a team that had neither formal training nor academic credentials usually associated with museum exhibits. Although the design process and some of the general goals were similar to those at other sites studied and in the literature, certain practices differed. The team excluded historical objects, let donors influence content, and used different terminology. These differences appear to be cultural. With a limited affiliation with the occupational culture of museum exhibit design, the Network Earth team made choices that were more consistent with the culture of high technology, the subject of the museum and the industry that provided most of its financial support.

Carliner, Saul. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (2000). Articles>Education>Instructional Design


Teaching Professional Writing Online with Electronic Peer Response   (peer-reviewed)

For primarily practical reasons, professional writing courses are increasingly being taught totally or partly online. These practical reasons concern me because I do not believe that a pedagogical practice whose benefits are being actively debated by scholars, such as online education, should be utilized only or primarily because it is seen as a way of saving or making money. However, online education is one pedagogical practice that, I believe, has great potential to improve writing. A year-and-a-half ago, I taught several partly online sections of my professional writing course, and I discovered that a strategy valuable in my traditional sections became invaluable in my online sections: electronic peer response.

Tannacito, Terry. Kairos (2001). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Teaching Teachers at the Institute in Technical Communication: A Special Report on Our Pilot Project   (PDF)

In STC’s first special opportunity grant, seven STC-funded high school teachers attended the Institute in Technical Communication, held at Hinds Community College in Raymond, Mississippi in June, 1999. Originally developed for teachers at two-year colleges, the 19th Institute became a small experiment, combining high school teachers and 13 other teachers from community and technical colleges.

Chisnell, Dana E. STC Proceedings (2000). Presentations>Education>Instructional Design


Teaching Technical Communication

a resource website for teachers, students, and practitioners of technical communication. At this site, you can find information about exciting current events in the worlds of science, technology, and health. You can find information to help you study, teach or practice technical communication.

Allyn and Bacon (1998). Resources>Education>Instructional Design


Teaching Technical People How to Think (About Graphical User Interface Design)   (PDF)

Advances in technology have opened up new opportunities for technical communicators in the area of graphical user interface design. This paper describes our effort to take advantage of these opportunities. We have educated ourselves in the core issues of current research; we have leveraged our expertise in page layout and design; and we have participated in the development of standards for GUI design. Although progress has been slow, we are encouraged by early feedback from our management.

Janicko, Raymond P. STC Proceedings (1993). Presentations>User Interface>Instructional Design>Education


A Team Approach to Training   (PDF)

The new hire training program for Technical Communication staff at Battelle, Pacific Northwest Laboratories (BNW) consists of a team approach where several individuals have defined roles and responsibilities for ensuring that all new hires receive the information and support required to be successful in their positions. This paper describes our training program.

Edler, Sandra K. STC Proceedings (1993). Presentations>Education>Instructional Design>Collaboration


Technical Communication and Corporate Training   (peer-reviewed)

Unless the professional lives of my former students are unaccountably unique, I expect you will confirm that many of your own former students find themselves developing materials that will be used in workplace training situations. You are undoubtedly aware that a number of technical communicators not only develop such materials but serve as trainers, themselves. The other side of the coin is that full-time professional trainers commonly have to develop their own training documents. Indeed, the majority of students in our Advanced Technical Writing course at Illinois State University are Industrial Technology majors, whose professional goals are to work as industry trainers or as teachers of industrial technology in secondary and postsecondary education programs.

Savage, Gerald J. CPTSC Proceedings (2000). Articles>Education>Instructional Design


Technical Communication and Distance Education: What’s Being Done, Where We Can Go   (PDF)

Distance education (DE) is a growing national trend, with courses and enrollments nearly doubling between 1994-5 and 1997-8. Technical communication practitioners and departments should take advantage of the benefits DE offers, including geographical and chronological access, integration of learning space and working space, and less time spent in lecture and more time responding to work or more time studying. Currently, technical communication education departments offer classes, certificates, and degrees via distance, varying from one undergraduate introductory class to 36-credit Master’s degrees. Future directions might include more programs to accommodate students, concentrations such as cross-cultural communication, and shorter courses to accommodate specific needs.

Eaton, Angela. STC Proceedings (2001). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Technical Training

Internet Links for finding information about computer based and instructor-led Technical Training.

Usernomics (2005). Resources>Education>Instructional Design


Test and Exercise Learning: Tests, Quizzes, and Self-Evaluations

Feared by learners, discounted by educational pundits, short-changed by instructional designers, tests are, nevertheless, an essential element of learning. We may call them quizzes, drills, examinations, assessments, competence monitors, or demonstrations of mastery. We may cloak them as games or puzzles. Yet, they remain an essential ingredient for gauging a learner’s progress. Tests, along with other kinds of activities, give learners an opportunity to apply the concepts, skills, and attitudes they have learned. Well designed tests provide a reliable way to measure progress objectively.

Horton, William K. III. William Horton Consulting (2000). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Testing


Testing Visual-Based Modules for Teaching Writing   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

A study of novice writers shows that instructional materials about writing that incorporate basic principles of visual design are more effective than those that are primarily verbal. Less-capable writers benefit most from materials that include the extra text-processing cues provided by the visual design. Narrative comments about the instructional materials show that writers are aware of the design elements and appreciate them. Technical communication practitioners, researchers, trainers, and instructors have a large role to play in improving the way writing is taught.

Markel, Mike. Technical Communication Online (1998). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Visual Rhetoric


Theories, Techniques and Issues in Online Learning

This site describes what online learning is and identifies its major uses; identifies the four major types of online learning; provides an overview of the technology needed to make online learning happen; lists the project issues--that is, management and learning issues--that need to be addressed when developing materials for online learning.

Carliner, Saul. Saul Carliner Studio. Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


A Time-Compressed Methodology for Technical Training Development   (PDF)

The time-compressed training development methodology involves putting together a team of subject matter experts (SMEs), a designer/facilitator, and one or two scribes, then giving them the time and space required for focused effort in a three-phase approach. The three phases are: prework; development sessions; and, postwork. During the prework phase, a preliminary course outline and formats for the materials are developed. In the development sessions, the outline is refined, objectives are defined, and the content is developed. And, in the postwork phase, the materials are reviewed, refined, published, and distributed.

Bender, Sherieda K., Kathleen M. Fisher, Lola Fredrickson and David T. Scott. STC Proceedings (1994). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>SMEs


Tips for Writing Effective Training Material for Beginners   (members only)

You may think that because you're an expert, it will be easy for you to write training materials for your low-level user base. But it can be tough to think like a beginner. Use these tips to create appropriate instructions for newbies.

Dray, Jeff. TechRepublic (2003). Articles>Writing>Instructional Design>Technical Writing


Top 10 Reasons for Tech Writers and Trainers to Collaborate

Technical writers can and should collaborate with trainers to offer customers a unified and cost-effective learning experience. Here are eight specific reasons why they should collaborate – and two why they cannot afford not to do it.

Weber, Kai. Kai's Tech Writing Blog (2010). Articles>Collaboration>Instructional Design>Technical Writing


Toward an Ethics of Teaching Writing in a Hazardous Context—: The American University   (peer-reviewed)

The following essay is a collaborative effort by a writing teacher and a writing student to make sense out of a situation we experienced together when Sandy Moore, the writer, responded to an assignment given by Michael Kleine, the teacher. In an advanced persuasive writing course, Michael asked students to experiment with the major Aristotelian categories of persuasion: ceremonial, forensic, and deliberative discourse. For the ceremonial assignment, Sandy chose to write an essay of blame about patrons of her workplace, a restaurant/bar. Though ceremonial discourse aims to praise or blame its subject before a public audience, Sandy did not intend to publish the essay outside the context of the classroom. Aware of the charged nature of her essay, Sandy wanted to use the university classroom not as a place from which to launch a public attack on a private workplace; instead, she hoped that the classroom would provide a safe place in which to practice persuasive discourse and to develop her rhetorical skills.

Moore, Sandy and Michael Kleine. JAC (1992). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Rhetoric


Towards an Emancipatory Pedagogy in Service Courses and User Departments   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Critical thinking has led teachers of service courses and their user departments into common pedagogies. Motivated by calls from industry for students with problem-solving abilities, both service courses and their user departments have incorporated higher-level thinking modes into their assignments. Applying the interpretive mode of rationality posited by Habermas, innovative teachers are changing their pedagogical methods from the simple transference of information from teacher to student to assignments requiring team projects where students grapple with parametric problem solving that demands interpreting complex data. Applying the emancipatory mode of rationality, some assignments involve outside clients and working with community-based social and political issues.

David, Carol and Donna Kienzler. Technical Communication Quarterly (1999). Articles>Education>Instructional Design


Towards Modular Access to Electronic Handbooks   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The paper reports an ongoing project aimed at providing an exemplary architecture for an electronic dissemination environment for scientific handbooks. It focuses on a way of facilitating navigation through and access to electronic handbooks by using a WordNet-like concept hierarchy consisting of synsets (sets of synonyms) that are connected to each other and to external sources by semantic relations for navigational purposes.

Caracciolo, Caterina. Journal of Digital Information (2003). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>eBooks


Training for E-Business: Turning Your Education Offerings On!   (PDF)

These days, the buzzwords of our industry revolve around E-commerce and E-business. At the same time, we have also seen major shifts in the required focus of our training offerings – from Tool/Task-Based to Business Process/Role-Based. Finally, we can no longer demand that the students come to us for what they need. They are demanding that we take it to them. But how do you turn your training organization on a dime to respond to the changing needs? This paper discusses how you can transition from standup/ manual-based instruction to a WBT/online documentation method of training.

McLean, Donna. STC Proceedings (2001). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Training Options and Team-Oriented Techniques   (PDF)

After instituting training programs requiring 10 to 20 percent of every person's work week, Motorola reported that plants reinforcing the training received a $33 dollar return on investment for every dollar spent. The demand for training in new computer applications is growing. Selecting computer training options requires (1) an analysis of cost to benefits and (2) teamwork for preparing the materials and delivering the training. Some training techniques that work include knowledge mapping, pilot testing, and team training.

Feinberg, Susan G. STC Proceedings (1994). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Collaboration



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