Getting Out Of The Way In The Classroom

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and Inverted (or Flipped) Classrooms have been attracting a lot of attention in education and training circles, but two recent experiments performed far from the rarified heights of North American campuses and training centers, are causing many to stop and reassess what it means to learn and, more importantly, what […]

Shut Up and Teach – Or – Why Science Says the Lecture Is a Bad Idea

The notion of replacing or limiting the venerable lecture has been visited in earlier posts (The Inverted Classroom and The Future of the Lecture) but it seems the topic is far from exhausted. Recent research in cognitive psychology published in the journal Science points to another dimension in the problem of lecturing, namely, that people […]

Maybe This Is What’s Missing – Or – It’s Only Work If You’d Rather Be Doing Something Else

Substitute (instructional design | course development | teaching | writing | learning) where you see “research” and “physics” in the excerpts below.   “But when it came time to do some research. I couldn’t get to work. I was a little tired; I was not interested; I couldn’t do research!… And then I thought to […]

The Eye of the Beholder – Why We Prefer Rounded Corners Over Sharp Edges

Rounded rectangles are everywhere. You might think the reason they are so ubiquitous is because web and product designers’ minds are being controlled by an alien graphical design style ray that shows little chance of letting go. Or, maybe not. Beauty, in the case of the rounded rectangle, might be in the eye of the […]

It’s All Up From Here – The Worst PowerPoint Slides of 2011

It’s not clear whether the presentation experts at InFocus Labs have opened a Pandora’s Box with this event, but their “What Not To Present“ contest apparently overwhelmed even their most staid judges in terms of popular response and the degree to which things can sink and still be considered acceptable. The response from the field […]

Visual Oxymorons: Nonverbal Messages in Design

I don’t think this is much taught in Instructional Design courses, but the design of a presentation conveys information in and of itself to the audience. This is due in large part to the fact that all the elements of a course or presentation (including the presenter) constitute a Gestalt that is projected to the […]

Edward Tufte Presidential Appointment

THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 5, 2010: “President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts Edward Tufte, Appointee for Member, Recovery Independent Advisory Panel Edward Tufte is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Statistics, and Computer Science at Yale University. He wrote, designed, and self-published The Visual Display of Quantitative […]

The Dynamics of Confusion – or- When More Isn’t Better

George Siemens at elearnspace mentioned a remarkable site called Indexed in a recent blog post. Indexed author Jessica Hagy uses mathematical metaphors in sketches of relationships that span topics from consumption and arrogance to expectations, communications and perception. Hagy claims in her About page that Indexed “… is a little project that allows me to […]

Avoiding the Data Dump – Building Better Technical Presentations

Garr Reynolds over at Presentation Zen has pulled an old skeleton from the presenter’s closet: The Technical Presentation: “Who says technical presentations can’t be engaging?” Scientific and technical presentations are often put in a separate class because they tend to be highly specialized, dense, and often a bad match for the limited bandwidth of PowerPoint. […]

Teaching Design to Business People

One of my pet rants is that good design matter, even for training materials. Well designed tools don’t just delight the eye they function better, adding efficiency to their purpose. The problem, however, is that design is often taken as extraneous and unnecessary by development managers, instructional designers and other business people who see it […]