Who Else Is Out There (Post 1)

In my first three posts, I begin my public exploration into the world of instructional design (I.D) by reviewing three prominent I.D. blogs

First Blog Summary Review

Title of the Blog Being Reviewed: Internet Time Blog

Blog url: http://www.internettime.com/blog/archives/001083.html

Blog Writer: Jay Cross

This post will provide: a brief content overview, thoughtful critique of usefulness, and how This Blog might serve me as an ongoing resource:

Writer and creator of the Internet Time Blog, Jay Cross states “I am a designer. Design is not merely an indicator of aesthetic taste, but a social phenomenon that both mirrors and shapes how we think.” As this is the first thing I read on Cross’s blog, I am thinking, “Great, Jay Cross, you are speaking my language; I agree with you.” Now, what else does Cross’s blog offer beyond a poignant definition of design?  As I scan and click across the sparse imagery – yet full and overcrowded field of black and red text, I am a bit confused as to how Cross has visually organized his content. Perhaps his blog is attempting to do too much, text wise? It looks like you can subscribe to his blog, which I tried to do, and an immediate error occurred. Hmm.

From the looks of it, it seems as though Cross has invited guest contributors. As I scroll down the Archives page, I discover a post by Don Norman. His post is titled “The Psychology of Everyday Things”

Norman provides four keys to good design:

Next comes Norman’s enumerated list on the principles for design:

There are seven of these and some commentary is provided on some of them, so I am not going to post them all. Go here to view them if you would like. They do appear to be useful. My favorite principles are:

Design principle 1 “use knowledge in the world and knowledge in the head.”

And

Design principle 4 “get the mappings right”

He goes on to state “make sure the user can determine the relationships: between intentions and possible actions,…” This makes good sense to me. I can relate this to essay writing. In essay writing transitions need to be made visible and connect sub points together and sub points need to be connected to the main, overarching point (the thesis). I often tell my students when incorporating transition words in a written document, to think of the analogy of being a tour guide in a museum. This analogy is applicable because a tour guide in a museum leads the viewers from one room to the next – from one piece of art work to the next – and from one way of interpreting a piece of art to another way of interpreting a piece of art. All the while, the tour guide directs and connects one interpretation to the next, leading the viewers along as they go. Essay writing is like being a good tour guide. It looks like instructional designing is too. These points are useful to me. I am thinking, “Jay Cross, I am glad that you have knowledgeable contributors making appearances on your blog.”

It looks like his blog is organized into two sections: 1) A heading section and 2) an archive section. While the archive seems to have possibilities with subheadings like “It’s only natural (an exert describing walks in the San Francisco Bay Area leading to a discussion on “The model for the future is biological”- actually a pretty engaging read)” and “Go with the flow” (an exert describing his old instructor Gary’s three step model and how it has applied to his life upon his reflection – another pretty good read), I found myself more drawn to the headings section in which ten themes are presented: Instructional, User Interface, Learning Objectives, Graphic, Web, Informational, Architecture, Visual Thinking, Software, and Industrial.

I clicked on all ten.

The instructional tab particularly stood out to me. It features seven subtopics one of which sparked my interest, titled Instructional Design Learning Theory, which is the area of instructional design I am currently studying at this time. Specifically, I have been studying the three learning theories behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism in the article entitled “Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features from an Instructional Design Perspective” by Ertmer and Newby (1993). Therefore, at this point in my instructional design study, I see so much of education via these three categories. I hope to encounter these theories in the content Mr. Cross has shared in his theory category. Then, directly following is another subtopic labeled “Theory into Practice Database;” this subtopic goes onto to state: 50 theories relevant to learning and instruction. Wow, 50 theories! This is, truly, right up my alley. You would think behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism would be covered there. When I clicked on this hyperlink, it looks like I was directed to another site titled instructional design. org. This site looks like a goldmine! I am thinking, “where have you been all my life?” It looks like this valuable website was created by Greg Kearsley (an independent consultant, a designer, developer, and on-line teacher who has a PhD in educational psychology and has written several books) and Richard Culatta (a leader in k-12, higher education, and workplace learning environments. Culatta serves as a Senior Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Education and as the Director of the Office of Education Technology at the U.S. Department of Education). Yes, I can tell, a link to Richard Culatta’s Ted Talk and all, this website is going to be my new best friend!

I will use this site to introduce myself to Mr. Cross – to advance my instructional design network, to learn from him – he seems to know what he is talking about, to benefit from the knowledge and resources he has acquired, i.e. the instructional design website I discovered via his blog, and to engage in thoughtful dialogue with Jay by means of his blog posts from time to time.

This site will serve as an ongoing resource to me in that by mere exposure and engagement, it allows me access to a wider instructional design world than to which I previously knew. Specifically, Mr. Cross communicates progressive thoughts and points in regards to instructional design. He continues to evolve and discover new points of departure and new ways of orientating his work as a designer. These are the kind of people I want to be around, innovators.

Thank you Jay Cross. You have a lot of typed content on your blog, so much I do not know where to look. I suggest a visual re-arrangement, a de-cluttering , and a re-organization around a focal point. Yet, you write thoughtful and engaging posts that meld your everyday experiences to current instructional design topics and practices. I found joy and appreciation in these. Nice work good fellow! Also, in sharing your blog space with others, you are indeed in the company of good instructional design people! Being exposed to your network, via your blog, has already advanced and furthered my learning. For this I thank you and will return regularly!

References:

Article: Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4),50-71.

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