The 3 Most Important Things I Learned

This course has created the conditions for me to be overflowing with learning! It is difficult to prioritize the learning; here are my top three today.

  1. I have gained in-depth knowledge on the principles and practice of multimedia design. I now find myself looking at online material and moving into an evaluative framework. It is easy to pick out the strengths and weakness of material. This will prove invaluable moving forward!
  2. At a personal level, I discovered that I love auditory media design and development (e.g. podcasts) and struggle with visual design (e.g. screen casts). Although I plan to continue developing in both mediums, I am much more passionate about the auditory realm!
  3. We have a lot to learn about the use of multimedia in adult distance education. I was surprised at how little research there was that looked at the effectiveness of multimedia design in the context of graduate level professional training. I did a lot of extra research during this course and found that it is focused on two things. The first is more entry-level organizational training (e.g. the Clark & Mayer text we used in the course) or more qualitative insights in post-secondary training. I plan to continue researching this area on an ongoing basis.

I am looking forward to continuing to develop multimedia materials for my courses. This class has provided an excellent foundation!



Worked Example Screencast

This project brought together a lot of learning from this course. It also allowed me to start working on some key curriculum content areas for one of my courses. I believe I have established a positive foundation here and look forward to building upon this in all of the courses that I teach!

Vocational Card Sort Step By Step Guide

Digital Story Project

This project was the most difficult piece of work thus far in the course and program. After reviewing many other digital stories on the web, I was in awe of the caliber and depth of what so many people had shared. Hence, I found myself going through many story options before settling on this one about my learning journey.

I also found the project to be difficult in terms of the actual collection of media and the development of my technical skills. I work most comfortable with voice and audio. Learning to work with and manipulate visual images was a significant challenge during this project. This digital story was composed of images from my family, friends and colleagues. I created a PowerPoint show from these, recorded my voice in Camtasia and then did the edits from within the Camtasia software.

My Learning Journey

Coherence Analysis

In working to develop online courses with colleagues I sometimes encounter challenges where others are interested in creating ‘sexy’ delivery. By this I mean that unless we choose to use extensive sound effects, they believe it will be boring and students will not want to engage with the material. These individuals have argued with me that we need to use a pedagogical approach of “edutainment” (i.e. that the program should combine entertainment with education) to help students learn. Although this may be appealing at first, current research suggests we must be very careful when considering adding material for ‘entertainment’ purposes.
In cognitive theory, the learner has visual and auditory channels available that can be leveraged in instructional design. The right mixes of words, visuals and sound can enhance learning, however, too much or the wrong combination with sound can actually impair learning. These insights form the basis of the “coherence principle” (Moreno and Mayer, 2000). In other words, it is important to avoid extraneous audio in e-learning.
I have experienced auditory overload in traditional classroom delivery and online. Years ago I used to play music during small group activities in my classes. However, I would sometimes get students asking me to turn the music off during these sessions because they could not think! In retrospect I now understand why, the music was interfering with their cognitive processing. In the online world, I have witnessed dozens of presentations where there were either sound effects or music added that not only got in the way of my learning, it actually hurt. I have on occasion had to turn off my speakers in order to learn from the material.
That being said, I have also found it helpful to listen to background music when I am reading to learn. However, there are only a few types of music that I find personally suitable for this (e.g. ambient new age piano) and the volume must be low. In discussions I have had about this with colleagues, there appears to be a lot of personal preference in terms of whether or not a person enjoys a particular type of music in order to be able to listen to it as a background.
I am fascinated with auditory component of learning as I consider it to be very ‘delicate’ and easily overwhelmed. The coherence principle is related to the redundancy principle. Visual images are best understood with words or audio, not both (Clark and Mayer, 2008). I also see a connection between the coherence principle and the modality principle (Moreno and Mayer, 2000). Students are able to learn more if visual images and an auditory narrative present the information. These principles seek simplicity to encourage comprehension. The human mind is easily overwhelmed with too much stimulus. These principles clearly illustrate that too much information in the wrong medium can harm the learning process.
I personally like the coherence principles as it encourages simplicity. It is important to me that we focus on the learning and ensuring we are supporting the process, not hindering it. That being said, the work of Clark, Mayer and Moreno does raise a lot of questions for me. The research that I have reviewed to date is focused on short training programs, not educational courses. Do these principles hold true for a larger educational undertaking? If a student is engaged in advance studies, are they as susceptible to cognitive overload?
Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2008). E-learning and the science of instruction, 2nd edition. Pfeiffer: San Francisco, CA.
Mayer, R. E. (1999). Multimedia aids to problem-solving transfer. International Journal of Educational Research, 31(7), 611-623.
Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (2000). A learner-centered approach to multimedia explanations: Deriving instructional design principles from cognitive theory. Interactive Multimedia Electronic Journal of Computer-Enhanced Learning, 2(2), 2004-07. Last retrieved March 24, 2012 from

“The Career Stories Project”

Welcome to “The Career Stories Project”, a Podcast series demonstrating engaging techniques to help clients share there stories and transform their careers!

In this series, I will be providing the listener with stories that are elicited as a part of career counselling sessions. There are three types of stories.

The first group of stories will provide examples of the types of things clients may share in their first meeting. This process typically starts with high school and follows their perceptions of their career path up to the present. This process enables counselors to learn what the client’s key motivations and needs are.

The second group of stories provides examples of specific vignettes from their life. These activities can come from any life role, such as work, education, and volunteering or family life. A key element is that these stories have the person as the key actor; the success and positive feelings of the event are due to actions they have taken. This enables us to hear the core-motivated skills a person has.

The third meeting involves helping the clients to name the skills clusters to enable them to effectively market themselves in their career transition. We also begin the process of developing summary descriptions of their career identity to support their career transition.

This Podcasting project demonstrates the AECT Development Standard 2.3: Computer-Based Technologies. In this project I am utilizing computer-based technologies (e.g. Audacity, audio recording equipment) to produce educational materials.

I am looking forward to creating this Podcast series!

Career Stories Project Podcast

Project #1: Multimedia and Contiguity Principles

This project is intended to demonstrate two key principles in effective multimedia design. I have content from a course that I am redesigning into multimedia files. For this project I took one (yes 1!) slide from a previous presentation to use as the basis for this project. Here is the before slide:

The new project is designed on the principles of multimedia and contiguity. It demonstrates the multimedia principle by utilizing live voice narration for slides that are primarily designed with images. This narration could also be used for a recorded media project. The contiguity principle is applied by aligning the spoken words with the corresponding graphic images on each slide. Here is the revised presentation:

Creating My Learning Log

It is exciting for me to be back in the learning seat with the Educational Technology program at Boise State. This term I have a number of clearly defined learning goals. Since 1995 I have designed, developed or co-developed a range of courses across the Career Development Practitioner program at Conestoga College (Kitchener, Ontario). The online content has been primarily created in a ‘text-based’ format. My assessment of student needs is that the learning process could be enhanced through the addition of multimedia content. Hence I am planning to develop content from this EdTech course for the courses that I teach.

WordPress has become my favourite Blogging technology. I have used Blogger and Tumblr in the past and find that WP offers a lot more functionality. Although I started this Blog for a previous course, I have updated it for my current course in EdTech 513: Multimedia. I believe that structured blogging is a very powerful form of reflective learning. My personal experience is that it helps to both cognitively and affectively integrate the learning components from a course into a more coherent whole. It also provides an excellent reference and portfolio.