29 April 2012

Effective instructional designs

I've got nothing against technologically-sophisticated instructional designs when they work and really make a difference. Since it's difficult to impossible to truly ascertain making a difference, the next critical design question for me is: how much does it cost to develop, use and maintain?

We need a book, one that at least attempts to quantify the actual costs of development, use and maintenance [of an instructional design system], even if it only quantifies "the time it takes to do x." Problem is, nobody really wants to read passages like:

The instructional designer spent 3 hours troubleshooting a Blackboard glitch for an instructor during a final exam. (Instructional designer cost to employer = $80 per hour, that includes benefits.) Opportunity costs  to organization, designer, instructor and students is unknown. We have no models for these calculation yet. Cost may be recouped over time in the form of the  knowledge the instructor designer acquired, which can be applied in subsequent support scenarios. However we have no model for calculating this either.

Yes, I'm a DIYer. I'm always playing around with new technologies. I love to discover new ways of doing the same old thing just for the heck of it.

If you know HTML code, this platform is a cinch. 

No, cost as measured in "the time (before, during and after) it takes to do x" is not a happy topic.  

That's why I'm attracted to the stuff of this blogpost,

The Human Body: What It Is and How It Works, in Vibrant Vintage Illustrations circa 1959

a book that's also a testimony to effective, elegant instructional design. It's effective and elegant because the technology book doesn't command my attention, the well-designed content does, and 53 years later to boot.