Instructional design courses and resources

Teacher and student at a computer. By the U.S. Census Bureau (the U.S. Census Bureau Facts for Feature Photos) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsI’ve been looking for a great Instructional Design program which focuses on usability and user experience rather than traditional pedagogy – I want to apply the principles of well-designed interactive media to the learning environment, not simply convert books to e-books.

Most university-based courses, whether campus-based or online, do not pay much attention to the actual design of effective learning tools. There is no mention of usability or learner-centered design, or of visual design, in the curricula for the masters courses I have reviewed.

Thankfully, the internet abounds with training programs and online resources for learning how to be an instructional designer. Here are a few favorites – feel free to add more to the comments and I’ll incorporate them into the list.

E-learning tutorials

  • Tom Kuhlmann’s excellent Rapid E-Learning Blog at Articulate (and the Articulate community is great for tips and tutorials)
  • eLearning Network, in particular its useful Best Practice guides on a variety of e-learning subjects
  • Sloan Consortium, a network which focuses on quality online education. Of particular interest are its Effective Practices
  • Education for a Digital World. A book of strategies and techniques for designing effective digital learning courses. The 2008 edition is available for free PDF download. The July 2011 edition must be purchased, either in chapters or as a whole volume
  • Stephen Downes’ blog about innovation in online media for education. He focuses on interaction, usability and relevance rather than on traditional pedagogy.
  • Donald Clark Plan B: Some interesting insights into AI and how it’s affecting education and training.

Magazines and publications

 Organisations in e-learning

  • The eLearning Guild. Has a great jobs-in-e-learning section for members (there is a free “Associate” membership that gives you access to this).

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