A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Instructional Design

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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


Different Names, Similar Challenges: What's Behind the Rumored Merger of Instructional Design and Technical Communication

Instructional designers increasingly find technical communicators in their territory, as technical communicators find instructional designers. Is this increasing contact merely a coincidence, or does it portend an evolutionary merger of the two fields?

Carliner, Saul. Saul Carliner Studio (2001). Careers>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


An Effective Variant on the Assertion – Evidence Paradigm

Does Assertion follow Evidence, or Evidence follow Assertion as in the traditional scientific order? Some do not care about the order. But some prefer to see the evidence before an assertion is made – particularly if a question is raised prior to showing the enlightening visual evidence. When asked to probe this visual evidence for answers, their mind leaves the passive show-me mode to enter the active let-me-see mode. They are more involved and interested. When they discover the yet-to-appear assertion by themselves, under the friendly guidance of the presenter, they are more likely to be convinced by it and more likely to remember it when it is revealed. Two visuals illustrate the two cases.

Lebrun, Jean-Luc. Scientific Presentations (2010). Presentations>Scientific Communication>Instructional Design>Microsoft PowerPoint


Eighteen Quick Tips for Designing Online Learning Exercises and Supplemental Information   (PDF)

How do you develop effective online learning? This interactive half-day workshop introduces you to 18 techniques, including the must-ask questions of a needs analysis, the must-consider issues for writing objectives, different learning models you can incorporate into courses, ways to keep learners' attention, and tips for designing screens and writing for online presentation.

Carliner, Saul. Saul Carliner Studio (2003). Presentations>Education>Instructional Design>Online



elearningpost is a digest of daily links to articles and news stories about Corporate Learning, Community Building, Instructional Design, Knowledge Management, Personalization and more. Besides the daily links, elearningpost brings out feature articles and related special reports on the above topics. elearningpost's mission is to provide quality e-learning content that attracts a diverse and emerging audience.

elearningpost (2003). Resources>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Elitism in the Stories of U.S. Art Museums   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Institutions familiar to the public are defined by master narratives that describe their activities and imply who is invited to take part. For art museums in this country, a master narrative of elitism was established in the last century, when museums organized and began building their collections. Because art museums were designed by the rich and subsequently forced to depend on the rich for financial support, the stories of elitism and exclusion have been perpetuated over the years. Whereas little narratives, or local stories, defining the daily operations of museums do not receive attention, stories of exclusive social events and obscure art exhibitions take prominence and discourage the participation of the general public. With diminished funding for museums and fewer courses devoted to art appreciation in public schools, museums will likely be unable to attract wider audiences to support them, and the master narrative will continue to define museums' image.

David, Carol. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (1999). Articles>Information Design>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


Focus on the Student: How to Use Learning Objectives to Improve Learning

As information architects we all know how important it is to keep the user in mind. The same is true in teaching IA: we must keep the learner in mind. Learning objectives are one tool to help keep your classes focused on the student. They will also help you develop the syllabus, lesson plans, and assessment methods.

Cown, Wendy. Boxes and Arrows (2004). Articles>Information Design>Instructional Design>User Centered Design


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


Four Countries, Four Futures: Tom Klinkowstein's Horizon Projects Workshops

For the past year and half, Tom Klinkowstein has conducted workshops, called Horizon Projects, with design students in four countries using a methodology adapted from John Anderson, a NASA scientist. The workshops lasted from 1/2 a day in New York, to two days in Istanbul, Turkey, three days In Shanghai, China and five days in Mumbai, India.

Klinkowstein, Tom. uiGarden (2005). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Case Studies


From Ice Cream to Mousetraps: Explaining Technical Communication to K-12 Students   (PDF)

Technical communicators who desire to “spread the word” about their profession will find ready audiences in the educational institutions of their local communities. This paper examines techniques which the author has used in elementary, middle, and high schools to explain technical communication. They are techniques which require the students to do a simplified form of technical writing. The author also explains why doing these types of presentations is an enjoyable activity.

Crawley, Charles R. STC Proceedings (2001). Presentations>Education>Instructional Design


From Software Documentation to E-learning: Making a Switch   (PDF)

Interested in making the transition from software documentation to e-learning? Read about some steps that will help you ease the switch and make the most of your new opportunity.

Malhotra, Dhupinder K. Intercom (2006). Articles>Documentation>Instructional Design


From Soup to Nuts: Fashioning the Menu for a New Program in Technical Communication   (PDF)

The process of revising an English Communications emphasis proceeded smoothly for the most part because of good planning by a Curriculum Committee. However, unseen pitfalls and departmental politics hindered some aspects of the experience. It will be necessary to apply lessons learned to continue the revision process and create a successful emphasis.

Allen, Lori A. STC Proceedings (2002). Academic>Education>Instructional Design>Assessment


Gauging the Value of Online Grade Posting: An Inquiry into Full Disclosure

With the continued development of the Internet, distance learning initiatives and Web-based mechanisms designed to support traditional classroom pedagogies are here to stay, and traditional notions of teaching are forever changed. Online colleges and universities like the University of Phoenix already boast burgeoning enrollments, as students flock to a curriculum that will gladly meet them on their own terms and in their own homes and offices. On the Web, teaching moves from brick and mortar classrooms with thirty students entering and leaving every hour, on the hour, to a compendium of synchronous and asynchronous experiences characterized by bulletin board posts, downloads, real-time chats, file transfers, and video and audio files. Web-based approaches to teaching writing and rhetoric are, generally speaking, multivalent, offering new and important capacities that surpass some of the dimensional and practical constraints of the traditional written page. Moreover, many of the practices common in Web-based pedagogy are well supported by theories of dialogism and negotiated learning, and those in the computers and composition community have long trumpeted these benefits.

Knievel, Michael. Kairos (2001). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


A Gendered World: Students and Instructional Technologies   (peer-reviewed)

Gender has become a significant issue in the various discussions related to the use of computers and instructional technologies (IT) in higher education. Are gender differences relevant in the students' learning process and their use of technological components in their courses? Is gender significant in determining the use of IT by students in colleges and universities? Does the study of how gender influences students' use of software and presentation formats, throw light on other general behavioural aspects of academic computer-users? This study uses surveys, both direct and online, of students in universities and colleges to explore whether gender is a critical variable in understanding what is labelled as user-friendly computer instruction and learning, Internet searches, and presentation software tools. It also seeks to explore whether and if so why, women students, as distinct from the men, do or do not embrace IT in their learning endeavors or use the new technological tools in handling their courses.

Rajagopal, Indhu and Nis Bojin. First Monday (2003). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Gender


Global Training, Multicultural Course Design and Delivery: The Impact on Cultural Style Adjustments of Faculty and Global Training Instructors   (peer-reviewed)

Globalization is a reality for businesses and institutions of higher education. Furthermore, many U.S. based firms are expanding their businesses beyond domestic markets. These trends indicate that U.S. born individuals are likely to study or work in multicultural environments domestically and abroad. Research suggests that faculty and trainers adapt their teaching style and classroom policies to accommodate multicultural learners. Disconnections may arise, however, regarding the willingness to include these accommodations. The present exploratory study investigates the inclination and extent to which faculty and trainers adjust their teaching style, content, and policies to adapt to multicultural learners; namely, graduate and undergraduate business students and business professionals enrolled in training.

Day, Christine Roberta and Crissie M. Frye. Rhetoric, Professional Communication, and Globalization (2011). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Globalization


Globalizing the Technical Communication Classroom   (PDF)

In today’s global economy, knowing how to communicate in an international environment is more important than ever. The United States leads the world in the number of foreign students attending its educational institutions. The student body is becoming increasingly diverse. Instructors can no longer assume that all students have had the same experiences. Often, in an attempt to treat all students equally, instructors overlook or misunderstand the needs of international students. But if the teachers acknowledge and welcome cultural diversity in the classroom, students can become more aware of the varied audiences they will encounter in their future careers.

Sharpe, Victoria. Intercom (2003). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>International


Heuristics for Sustainable Distance Education   (peer-reviewed)

Discusses eight conditions for technological change that can support innovation in educational settings. These conditions, which were first directed toward library contexts and then studied in a variety of education-related contexts, encapsulate the majority of sustainability issues associated with distance education. These eight conditions are not exhaustive, but programs that achieve many of them will probably experience a high degree of sustained success.

Selber, Stuart A. CPTSC Proceedings (2003). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


Hither, Thither, and Yon: Process in Putting Courses on the Web   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Educational institutions are employing a variety of processes to support Web-based courses.  In our efforts to help faculty mount such courses, we found it helpful to divide course material into knowledge-based versus skill-based elements, and to develop activities that capitalize on the unique environment of the Web.  In this article, we discuss our successes and failures, and cover some legal issues we discovered that affect how we use both preexisting and student-produced materials.

Thrush, Emily A. and Necie Elizabeth Young. Technical Communication Quarterly (1999). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Online


How to Create Web-Based Training (WBT)   (PDF)

The market for Web-based Training (WBT) products and services is expected to grow from $197 million in 1997 to $5.5 billion in 2002. Many technical communicators and trainers are already interested in creating WBT, but they do not know how to get started. In this session, I will explain the advantages and disadvantages of WBT, when to consider WBT, who is using it—and why, how much it costs to develop WBT, and design issues to consider. I will also share some WBT examples.

DeLoach, Scott. STC Proceedings (2001). Presentations>Education>Instructional Design>Online



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