Instructional Design Videos

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Case Study – Issues within Instructional Design: Cognitive Retention.

As an instructional designer/eLearning design/developer I feel that learning how to produce intuitive, engaging, and also courses that provide feedback loops are key to producing courses that will benefit the learner. The process starts with learning your audience, learning environment, and collaborating with the Subject Matter Experts.

My case study observed Susan Dawes, A retired business professional and her experience with a course. A phenomenon occurs!

The setting for the case study was in Susan’s home office using her pc. This was more effective than using my laptop, which was a Mac based system. She was more accustomed to using Windows based computers. Also, it relieved any special anxiety as she was in the comforts of her home.

After recommending the non-formal learning resource, I introduced Susan to the site and assisted her with selecting the courses. I did a step-by-step walk through of how to find and select courses on The learner had two methods on which to select a course, either through the menus or the search by key word option. She was able to navigate her way to the course. Once we entered into the site we discussed interests and what she would like to learn. We also decided to work on a shorter course verses a longer course. When discussing her interests, we discussed her prior experience at the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce. With my assistance, she selected the course entitled

“ Content Marketing: Slides” facilitated by Dyna Rothman (

Susan’s goal was to refresh herself in PowerPoint slide creation; it had been a while since she had used the application. Naturally she was hopeful that the short course would give her enough of a review, she would be able to efficiently use PowerPoint to create ascetically pleasing presentations.

She set the viewing area of her browser to focus on the video content that was being displayed. To assist with focusing on the content, she hid the menu of each of the sections of the course, which was originally displayed to the left of the video. This really helped her focus on the content rather then the excess information presented within the course interface.

The learner saw repetition of images and also text being read to them for most of the course. This seemed like it never ended, which affected engagement within the course. The majority of the video was a lecture being narrated through the video. The visually engaging portion where the instructor showed how she made the presentations was towards the end and was really brief. The total course took 33 minutes. Unfortunately, 20 of the 33 minutes were lecture. In the observation section, I discuss the learner’s mannerisms, and any frustrations or achievements the learner experiences while taking the course.

Richard Mayer developed principles regarding multimedia’s influence on learning processing and how we are able to process and then retain new information.

When selecting an online learning resource, the course descriptions are key; some of them are more detailed then others. This helps the learner identify what course will best suit their needs. If the descriptions are not adequate it complicates the process of selecting online learning resources for the learner.

Self-Regulated Learners (SRL) is defined by the ability to recognize a need to learn and satisfy their need to learn a specific subject within an a Technology Enhanced Learning Environments (TELEs).   This could include something as simple as how to operate a DVD player, how to build something, gardening, to operating computer applications.

Informal learning methods are mostly used by self-learners, weather it be a YouTube video or online resource such as Richard Mayer introduces the idea of multimedia by stating, “people will learn more deeply from words and graphics than by words alone.” The learner is able to see if their cognitive processing was considered by the presentation delivery of the course concepts. is a good resource, however it depends on the instructor’s instructional design and presentation. The following is an example of an ineffective learning experience that caused extraneous overload due to the structure of the delivery of the concepts. The instructor bombarded the learner with excessive lecture that took over three quarters of the learning experience. The learner became very frustrated towards the end of the experience. Unfortunately, it was not until the last quarter, the learner was able visually connect the concepts. Although this satisfied the following Mayer principals the Personalization principle, where the words in the multimedia presentation are in conversation format vs. formal. It was too much conversation. The delivery was consecutive lecture without a break, which would allow the learner to process what was presented.

Mayer explains this phenomenon as “cognitive overload,” or when the demand for processing surpasses what the brain is capable of handling.

The online experience violated the Modality Principle, People learn more deeply from a multimedia message when the words are spoken rather than printed. The presentation read the words on the screen, which didn’t allow for the learner to off-load some of the processing in the visual channel. The online learning resource entitled “ Content Marketing: Slides” facilitated by Dyna Rothman can be found at

Mayer states, “A learner experiences extraneous overload when essential cognitive processing required to understand the essential material in a multimedia message and extraneous cognitive processing required to process extraneous material exceeds the learner’s cognitive capacity.” (Mayer, 2009, p. 62)

In conclusion, using the right multimedia to enhance a user’s experience and more importantly their ability to reduce extraneous processing, manage essential processing, and foster generative processing should be a goal of the Instructional Designer. If this is not considered, the delivery design has failed to meet it’s primary objective.


Case Study Introduction

The learning environment

When the learner was disengaged

When the learner was engaged.

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