Terminology Tuesday: Instructional Design Models


For those unfamiliar, the concept of Instructional Design (ID) Models can be confusing. For those familiar, which ID model to use can seem overwhelming.

Instructional Design Models

ID models are just that – a model for ID. But what does that mean? It means that an ID model will represent different elements of an ID project, such as project management, design, development, etc. Within each phase, like items will be represented. For example, within a design phase, you may group elements such as: instructional strategies, style guides, branding, assessment plans, authoring tool to be used, etc.

They’re tricky to explain because they’re designed to make more complex concepts easier to understand by breaking them down into palatable chunks of similar items. They create a project to do list of sorts, and some team members may work in one phase or another or they may work linearly across all. The model you choose will ultimately dictate the process used throughout the project.

With ID models, the possibilities are really endless. You can create your own or you can use an existing model. One size does not always fit all, and you can adapt models as necessary based on your needs.

Examples of ID Models

Popular ID models include:

E-Learning Challenge #144 – Slide, Drag, and Hover Past Boring Next Buttons #FREE


This week’s challenge was to create an example that allows users to navigate without using a traditional Next button.


I started out with my free course starter template – you can download it here, and then I removed the next and previous buttons and added a slider. I then programmed the slider to move to the next slide when the slider meets a certain value, and to move to the previous slide when the slider meets another value.



Click here for the full demo | Click here for the free download

Terminology Tuesday: Embedded Learning


Somewhere along my social media refreshing this week, I came across the phrase ’embedded learning’, and it caught my eye. I won’t lie, I immediately linked it to Leonardo DiCaprio and inception (a dream within a dream), but it’s not quite the same…and Leo probably isn’t there.

What’s Embedded Learning?

Embedded learning is an instructional strategy that occurs often in early childhood education, and it involves teaching and learning experiences that happen during the course of everyday activities, and is geared toward enhancing the learning experience.

Examples of embedded learning could be following directions (a more complex concept that becomes less complex when the students learn that it’s part of the process for completing a task), or learning to greet people. These are tasks that many of us likely take for granted, but we probably learned how to do both of them through embedded learning experiences (e.g. parents saying hi to neighbours/family/friends, or knowing that reading the directions is usually step 1 in putting something together).

Within the professional context, you the tell-show-do model of training could be a more complex version of embedded learning, as learners are essentially observing the training completing a task until the learner can then complete the task. The same goes with the concept of job shadowing.


As an adult, I go back to Starbucks when I think about modelling. Modelling involves displaying the behaviour you wish to see from others. Be the change you want to see in the world. This is an especially critical concept when it comes to training and development, because it’s an easy way to inadvertently train people! If you work in a busy cafe and are constantly cleaning/stocking/preparing for the next rush when there are periods of downtime, the people you’re working with will likely model this behaviour (even if it’s just to seem as though they aren’t being lazy).

Within the higher education context, I often seek out faculty members who are doing fantastic things with their course sites, and ask them to participate in our departmental expos or peer-to-peer sessions. When faculty members share what one another are doing, others are more likely to do similar things!

5 Tips to Facilitate an Easier Transition for First Year Students


If you’re an Instructional Designer, it’s no surprise that Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) often lose sight of their audience, which is mostly unintentional (from my experience). This week, the university is hosting an event that focuses on supporting first year/incoming students. I have some quick Instructional Design tips that will help facilitate this transition, and most can be applied to additional contexts.

1. Chunk Content

If you want first year students to understand your material, you need to break content down into palatable chunks. Don’t inundate them with a 25 page journal article, when the content you want them to learn can be broken down into smaller segments.

2. Re-Think Your Assessments

Consider employing multiple lower-stake assessments versus fewer higher-stake assessments. This will be less intimidating to students who are new to a university/college setting, and may help mitigate unnecessary exam stress. Don’t forget to provide rubrics for all assignments, outlining criteria and indicating how students will be graded for the work they complete. Not including rubrics is a lazy omission, one that can hinder your student’s achievement.

3. Be Clear About Your Expectations

Clearly state your expectations within your course outline and/or syllabus. Revisit these expectations during the first class to ensure everyone is on board. These expectations should include communication (how often will you communicate/what is your turnaround time for assignment feedback).

4. Use Technology to Your Advantage

If you have access to a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) software, such as Blackboard Collaborate or Skype, use that to host your office hours. This can be incredibly helpful for on-campus classes, as it provides you with the ability to conduct office hours from anywhere with an internet connection. If your institution uses a Learning Management System (LMS), use it…even if you’re teaching a face-to-face class. You can use the LMS to easily add your course syllabus, readings, quizzes, and facilitate group work!

5. Promote Student Study Aids

This goes hand-in-hand with tip #4. If you know of any apps or technologies that will help facilitate learning with your students, promote them! For example, Videonot.es is a fantastic resource that allows individuals to take notes alongside video, without having to toggle between the video and a notes document – and it even adds timestamps as you take notes, allowing you to revisit certain sections of the video. Another great tool is Actively Learn, which allows you to create guided readings to help students while they navigate increasingly complex course readings.