Instructional Design Principles

“Essential Material”
refers to words and pictures needed to achieve the instructional objective such as understanding how a system works.

“Extraneous Material” refers to words and pictures that are not relevant to achieving the instructional objective such as interesting stories or pictures.

“Extraneous Overload” occurs when essential cognitive processing (required to understand the essential material in a multimedia message) and extraneous cognitive processing (required to process extraneous material or to overcome confusing layout in a multimedia message) exceeds the learner’s cognitive capacity.

intended to reduce extraneous overload

The Coherence Principle
People learn more deeply from a multimedia message when extraneous material is excluded rather than included.

The Signaling Principle
People learn more deeply from a multimedia message when cues are added that highlight the organization of the essential material.

The Redundancy Principle
People learn more deeply from graphics and narration than from graphics, narration, and on-screen text.

The Spatial Contiguity Principle
People learn more deeply from a multimedia message when corresponding words and pictures are presented near rather than far from each other on the page or screen.

The Temporal Contiguity Principle
People learn more deeply from a multimedia message when corresponding animation and narration are presented simultaneously rather than successively.

Source: The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning (Chapter 12, Richard E. Mayer)

Another formulation as a set of eight principles based on the work of Richard Mayer and Roxanne Moreno:

1. Multimedia Principle: Retention is improved through words and pictures rather than through words alone.

2. Spatial Contiguity Principle: Students learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented near each other rather than far from each other on the page or screen.

3.Temporal Contiguity Principle: Students learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented simultaneously rather than successively.

4. Coherence Principle: Students learn better when extraneous words, pictures, and sounds are excluded rather than included.

5. Modality Principle: Students learn better from animation and narration than from animation and on-screen text.

6. Redundancy Principle: Students learn better when information is not represented in more than one modality – redundancy interferes with learning.

7a. Individual Differences Principle: Design effects are higher for low-knowledge learners than for high-knowledge learners.
7b. Individual Differences Principle: Design effects are higher for high-spatial learners rather than for low-spatial learners.

8. Direct Manipulation Principle: As the complexity of the materials increase, the impact of direct manipulation of the learning materials (animation, pacing) on transfer also increases


(It seems to me that the Multimedia Principle and the Redundancy Principle contradict each other.)


Niel deGrasse Tyson

I love listening to Neil deGrasse Tyson talk. In particular ever since I saw this:

Response to ASCAP???s deceptive claims

Reposted from the creative commons blog

Response to ASCAP???s deceptive??claims

Eric Steuer, June 30th, 2010

Last week, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) sent a fundraising letter to its members calling on them to fight ???opponents??? such as Creative Commons, falsely claiming that we work to undermine copyright.*

Creative Commons licenses are copyright licenses ??? plain and simple. Period. CC licenses are legal tools that creators can use to offer certain usage rights to the public, while reserving other rights. Without copyright, these tools don???t work. Artists and record labels that want to make their music available to the public for certain uses, like noncommercial sharing or remixing, should consider using CC licenses. Artists and labels that want to reserve all of their copyright rights should absolutely not use CC licenses.

Many musicians, including acts like Nine Inch Nails, Beastie Boys, Youssou N???Dour, Tone, Curt Smith, David Byrne, Radiohead, Yunyu, Kristin Hersh, and Snoop Dogg, have used Creative Commons licenses to share with the public. These musicians aren???t looking to stop making money from their music. In fact, many of the artists who use CC licenses are also members of collecting societies, including ASCAP. That???s how we first heard about this smear campaign ??? many musicians that support Creative Commons received the email and forwarded it to us. Some of them even included a donation to Creative Commons.

If you are similarly angered by ASCAP???s deceptive tactics, I???m hoping that you can help us by donating to Creative Commons ??? and sending a message ??? at this critical time. We don???t have lobbyists on the payroll, but with your support we can continue working hard on behalf of creators and consumers alike.

Eric Steuer
Creative Director, Creative Commons

* For background on ASCAP???s anti-Creative Commons fundraising campaign, see Boing Boing, Techdirt, ZeroPaid, and Wired.

Education Indicators in Canada: Report of the Pan-Canadian Education Indicators Program 2007

Elementary-secondary education

Early years and school readiness

  • Canadian parents reported in 2004/2005 that the physical health of their 4- and 5-year-old children was generally very good.
  • In 2004/2005, 18% of 4- and 5-year-old boys had received a diagnosis of asthma at some point in their lives, along with 9% of 4- and 5-year-old girls.
  • Approximately 60% of 4- and 5-year-olds had an adult who read to them every day.
  • More 4- and 5-year-old girls than boys looked at books or tried to read on their own daily (75% vs. 67% among the 5-year-olds).
  • In 2004/2005, the vast majority of 4- and 5-year-olds had normal or advanced receptive language skills (83% to 89% depending on gender and age).

Elementary-secondary school enrolments and educators

  • Between the 1997/1998 and 2004/2005 school years, enrolments in public elementary and secondary schools rose in only two provinces, Ontario and Alberta.
  • There were approximately 310,000 educators country-wide in 2004/2005.The number of female educators far exceeded the number of male educators in all age groups. Most full-time educators, whether male or female, were in the 30-to-59 age range. The proportions of full-time educators in the oldest age group were very low, with few working after the age of 60.
  • Between 1997/1998 and 2004/2005, the number of students per educator declined. The student-educator ratio in public elementary-secondary schools fell from 16.6 to 15.9 at the Canada level.

Secondary school graduation

  • The pan-Canadian high school graduation rate in 2002/2003 was 74%.
  • In Canada as a whole, in 2002/2003, graduation rates were higher for females (78%) than for males (70%). The situation was the same in 1997/1998.

Student achievement

  • In terms of mathematics literacy, Canada???s performance on OECD???s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) was strong, with only Hong Kong-China and Finland, performing significantly better than Canada.
  • Across Canada, 71% of 13-year-olds and 64% of 16-year-olds reached the expected levels on the 2004 science assessment of the School Achievement Indicators Program (SAIP).
  • In the SAIP writing assessment, in 2002, 84% of 13-year-olds and 61% of 16-year-olds reached the expected levels.
  • In the SAIP mathematics assessment, in 2001, 64% of 13-year-olds and 50% of 16-year-olds reached the expected levels in mathematics content.

Information and communications technologies (ICT)

  • In 2003, the average number of students per school computer in OECD countries was 15. Canada???s average of six students per every school computer is among the most favourable.
  • In Canada, 89% of 15-year-olds in 2003 had a home Internet connection, ranking second after Sweden (90%).
  • Overall, about 90% of students in Canada reported frequent computer use at home in 2003, about double that claiming frequent use of school computers (4 in 10).
  • Although at least 95% of Canadian 15-year-old students had access to computers, either at home or at school, over one-quarter (28%) said they ???never??? used computers for learning their school material.


Characteristics of Strong TPACK Math Teachers

Mathematics teachers with a strong background in Technological And Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK):

??? are open to experimentation and confident their students can learn something of value each time they try something new.

??? strive to be consistently "on-task" and are effective at focusing on the mathematics concepts, while still taking advantage of the instructional opportunities offered by technology.

??? approach their mathematics instruction with clear and systemic pedagogical strategies in mind, strive to know "where" their students are conceptually, "what" they need to do to achieve the next step in an instructional process, and "how" they generally want their students to proceed.

??? consistently offer explanations to their students on what they are doing with the technology, why a specific tool is appropriate for a particular mathematical situation and perhaps even how a selected technology fundamentally works.

??? embrace the administrative capabilities of technology to help guide their mathematics instruction using student assessment data such as criterion-referenced tests. This "data-driven" decision making process can help a teacher select lessons that more directly address where students are in their current understanding of a topic and models for students how the computer might aid in the management of information.

??? do their best to be caring teachers who are comfortable and optimistic for change … expect change, not only in the technologies available to them in the classroom, but quite likely in the content of the mathematics that they should be teaching. They must be caring instructional leaders welcoming of all students as they enter the changing and evolving world of mathematics.

Excepted from: Perhaps a Matter of Imagination: TPCK in Mathematics Education by Neal Grandgenett

hey jude flowchart


Interesting way to diagram the lyrics of a song. There’s something elegant about it.

You can’t be a change agent if you’re an expert …

Well, you can, but it’s tough.

When you’re on the early part of the learning curve others look at you and say:

“Hey, it’s Darren. If he can do I can do it.”

Once you hit a certain level of competence or expertise they same people look at you and say:

“Hey, it’s Darren. He can do it, I can’t.”

Did you hear the change in tone in the first part of each of those statements?

Neophytes can be models of change for people new to learning something different. Experts have a different aura about them. That aura of expertise is intimidating for neophytes. The aura of “not quite an expert”, the sense of newness associated with someone learning something they’ve just learned, is motivating for newbies.

We need less experts, more neophytes. Actually, a constant influx of neophytes to provide a continuous stream of models to engage new learners.

What are the implications of this for change agents? What about teachers; because aren’t all teachers change agents for the stuff they teach?

Managing Complex Change

This graphic sums it up brilliantly:


I first saw it in a presentation on SlideShare by Silvia Tolisano, Shifting to 21st Century Learning, and tracked it back Andrew Churches outstanding wiki. I have to think some more about how this dovetails with the ideas of change and the Cynefin Framework Clarence and I talked about in our presentation Scratch Best Practice, It's All About Beta Baby! that we gave at Alan November's 2009 Building Learning Communities Conference.

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