E-learning has become an area of increasing interest for academics, consultants, and practitioners. Notwithstanding, it seems that in current experiences the instructional dimension is often overlooked. Many elearning courses are content-oriented and the attention is often put on the technological dimension. We believe that a fruitful contribution in order to overcome the gap between technology and pedagogy and promote a more sensible instructional approach to e-learning, can be derived from instructional design (ID). ID is an ever growing field of research (Dijkstra, Seel, Schott, & Tennyson, 1997; Gagné & Briggs, 1990; Merrill, 2001; Reigeluth, 1989; Savery & Duffy, 1995; Wilson & Cole, 1991). Its results have a transversal value with respects to the specific delivery supports adopted in the learning environment. Whether we are dealing with online or face-to-face education, useful criteria from ID can be outlined for designing effective, efficient, and appealing learning experiences.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Learning Objects: Bodies of digital material specifically designed to engage and motivate student learning. Each learning object has a learning objective, content, and activities that support the objective and assessment activities that reflect that expectation; they usually take less than 15 minutes to complete; the content is metatagged to some set of standards; and the object can exist on its own and be provided to the learner in a just-in-time and as-needed fashion.
Evaluation: The development and implementation of a plan to assess a program in a systematic way through quantitative and qualitative measures, and the use of that information to improve the program. This involves collecting information about a prototype resource that will help in its development and ensure it works effectively and also collecting information at the end of the developmental phase to estimate the success and quality of the resulting resource.