a Better Message
been asked to improve the visual design of an instructional Web site? Have
you ever looked at an instructional module that seems to contain some good
instructional design elements, like practice and feedback, but it seemed
very disorganized? How about those flight cards on the airplanes. Ever
notice how they are hard to follow and way overloaded with information?
How can you help make constructive suggestions for improving an instructional
product? How can you create a better instructional message?
Fortunately, we don’t have to be expert graphic artists and visual
designers to be helpful. We can apply instructional message design
Instructional message design principles are derived from the behavioral and
cognitive sciences. These principles are based on empirical evidence and
are consistent with the ways students learn.
There are seventeen principles provided on the DSA web site for message design
that you can download and print out to use as a checklist. Along with each
principle you will find specific suggestions related to what can be done
to avoid violating the principle. With a little help from my graphic artist,
here are a couple examples to give you the idea.
Principle #1 of 17:
The more clearly we perceive an object, person, event
or relationship, the better we remember it.
Suggestion: Keep it neat and uncluttered.
Principle #11 of 17:
Simple line drawings are easier for beginners than photos.
Suggestion: Start with simple drawings.
Effective instructional design is best achieved when the design is aligned
with both the elements of good instruction and good message design.
Using these instructional message design principles and the specific suggestions
to avoid violating the principles you will be able to explain what principle
is being violated and what can be done to improve the situation. Go ahead
give it a try. Happy New Year!!!
Until next time,
Article © 2006 Darryl
L. Sink & Associates, Inc.