The articles and concepts for this assignment were really interesting to read at the end of the semester, having learned a good bit more about learning styles and “course” set-up for actual ID modules. While this assignment was due weeks ago (I was going through my checked boxes and realized this one was NOT checked-ack!) I was able to go back and read through the material for the assignment. Given all we’ve learned this semester, two things stand out to me about the required reading and how that is applied when designing instructional design modules.

Within the Principles of Multimedia Learning  there is a principle called “redundancy” which details how learners learn and retain better from graphics and narration (only) versus graphics, narration, and on-screen text (Mayer, 2005). This is highly interesting to me not just from a learning styles perspective, but also from a disabilities perspective in how we design. If graphics and narration are a best practice for ID modules, then what is the best way to engage learners who have a “reading” as a preferred learning style? Or in the case of what we have learned regarding disabilities and accessibility, how do we incorporate captions and text (on screen text) to accommodate those who are disabled (and the disabilities act) when this may or may not be the ideal set up for learners? Principles are not laws, but are guidelines, which is a good platform to stand on. But the set up for success for learners and disability compliance seem to be at odds with each other.

The other interesting concept from the reading material for this assignment was reading and digital brain. Early in the semester, with Dr. Freeman we learned about learning styles and as an added bonus, went through some study tips, one of which was blocking out one side of a book page to study (better) as you brain isn’t trying to skip ahead and see what is on the next page. It is almost like your brain relaxes, thus retaining what you are reading in a better way. When thinking about the digital brain and how we read, ads, sidebars, all the things that are happening in and around websites, web articles, games, gaming, etc. makes one really wonder about the retention of things, should your brain be trying to look ahead or around at what is happening. Which leads into Maryanne Wolf’s words in the Deep Reading article from the assignment reading: “we need to understand the value of what we may be losing when we skim text so rapidly that we skip the previous milliseconds of deep reading processes” (Wolf). What a challenge (especially for younger readers) to learn to read with “deep expanding comprehension and to execute all these processes as an adult expert reader (Wolf). This theory supports the Redundancy principle as well, that too many moving parts do not assist with actual learning and retention, but can have the opposite effect.

As we enter this world of ID and multimedia learning, it will be interesting to see the research and development made in the digital brain and how it varies from a paper-literature brain. The future is before us and how we engage and teach learners will be a highly valued skill for those of us in this industry.

References:

1. Our ‘Deep Reading’ Brain: Its Digital Evolution Poses Questions. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://niemanreports.org/articles/our-deep-reading-brain-its-digital-evolution-poses-questions/

2. Mayer, R. (2005). The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning. Cambridge University Press.

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