The best of both worlds

Prompt: What have you learned thus far about designing instruction from a multiple media perspective? How do you think the use of visual-text instruction will benefit teaching and learning? What do you think will be potential issues with the use of visual-text instruction? How do you think it will affect your teaching and learning? What do you think is better about using both images and text? What not? How do you feel about using multiple forms of media instead of a single medium for delivering instruction?

With this project, we started by creating instructional sets with the basics, text. Designing with only text was easy and familiar. While I did have to consider what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it, and the design and layout of the instructions for the most part, it was simple to create an instructional set explaining how to checkout a book from an academic library. Then, the following week we modified our instructional sets so that we explained our instructions using only images. That was definitely not so simple or straightforward. It took a lot of planning and time to determine which steps could and should be explained using images and how to depict the steps with pictures. To complicate the process, we had to create our own images using Photoshop, which was another matter in and of itself.

What I learned from these two projects is that the designer has to plan, plan, and plan. The point of instructions are to allow your audience to understand, follow, and accomplish an end goal. If the instructional set is faulty, it defeats the purpose and learning cannot occur. I also learned that designing with just one medium is very limiting. Braden (2004) discusses how using text and pictures together promotes learning over text alone. I agree with this statement. In my personal experience, if I am having trouble understanding a complex topic but can see it described pictorially, it helps me better understand the concept.

For this next part of the project, we are to combine our text and our images from the previous weeks to create our next instructional set. I am looking forward to this project as I think that the combination of text and images will make this instructional set stronger over the sets with just text or just images. What will be difficult about this coming week is that I will need to make sure that I do not distract the learner with my combined instructional set. Images and text can make learning easier but it can also make learning harder if I make poor design choices.

Some issues designing with text and visuals are that people overlook the need to add alternative text descriptions to images for visually impaired people. When designing with images alternative text should be included to assist translating the image. A side benefit is that it also helps non-visually impaired people understand the images as well. Another issue with designing with text and images is that some designers clutter up the instructional set with extraneous and unnecessary images, and even text. Too many images, especially ones that do not support the point of the instruction detract from the learning process (Braden, 2004).  When combining two media, it is still important to consider the overall objectives of the instructional set and ensure that the text and images used support the goals of the learning process. This way the learner has the best of both worlds.

Braden, R. A. (2004). Visual literacy. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (2nd ed.). Mahwah, N. J.: Erlbaum.

Categories: CECS 5110 | Tags: | Leave a comment

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