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  Monday, November 03, 2003

  Learning instructional design

Course Development Wars: A Content Expert's Cry for Help by Susan Smith Nash [via Alex Halavais]

This is a story about a teacher (in a SME role) being pushed to fit instructional design categories

Why did education departments brainwash students in this way? Or, more to the point, why do such people think that they are the only ones who possess the right to comment on (more like "make pronouncements on") learning? I know I'm only seeing a tip of the iceberg, and that there are real and compelling reasons for accepting the results of carefully conducted, IRB-blessed research. Nevertheless, aren't we sealing our own fate if we allow ourselves to present information and to mediate learning their way only. Heaven help those who deviate from the norm!

This makes me feeling happy that I studied instructional design after several years of learnt-by-doing training design. I remember my reaction for the ID course assignment: ok, I do it this way once and I'll play my own rules after. I've learnt the language, some useful models, techniques and tricks, but I still do it "wrong way".

A couple of years back I was designing a teacher training program for PhD students. I had to think how to teach them instructional design and avoid the risk of making them thinking that ID models boundaries are those to respect.

The program was implemented, first results were promising, but I left the job, so I can't evaluate it properly. Still my recipe for teaching instructional design is the same:

spending more time not on studying ID, but on being exposed to different learning designs and facilitation styles (values, models, methods, technology support) + reflection on what, why and how works and on "what I would do differently?"

This is not a very efficient or easy to reuse method. It also depends highly on learners reflective skills or instructors' ability to facilitate their development (I don't have a good recipe for it :) It worked for me and for some others and I didn't find a better way.

  Weblog reading: 96 second per weblog

Blog Statistic - Length of Stay by Darren Rowse [via Blogcount]

Darren has analysed Site Meter statistics of 350 weblogs and found that in average a reader spends 96 seconds reading a weblog.

Other findings

- The top ten blogs on the list had an average of only 37 seconds where as the bottom ten averaged 83 seconds.

- Apart from the 'top ten' there was not a huge difference between blogs receiving high and low traffic. For example - blogs receiving 60 visits per day had an average visit length of 100 seconds which was almost the same as blogs averaging 2000 visits a day (ave 97 seconds).

- Blogs with comments scored a higher average than those without. (this might partly explain the 'top ten' scoring lower as most of them do not have comments) I did not collect data on this, but it became very clear anecdotally.

Darren notes that the accuracy of his survey is limited by Site Meter measurements. I would add one more: RSS readership is not accounted for as Site Meter counts only webpage views. I guess even with RSS traffic details there is no way to analyse how much time average RSS reader spends on reading a weblog :)

Suggested questions for further research

- Does blog design/loading time impact the the length of stay?
- Does blog topic impact the length of stay?
- Do bloggers from certain countries (with high local readership) have different lengths of stay?
- Does posting length have an impact?

By the way, if you go to check Darren's weblog don't miss his Gospel blogging and Blog tips series:

  1. Get to the Point
  2. Keep it Simple....Stupid
  3. Blog Designers
  4. Make it Scannable
  5. Titles are Everything
  6. The Rhythm Method
  7. Set Boundaries
  9. Interactive Blog Tools 

This post also appears on channel weblog research

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© Copyright 2002-2005 Lilia Efimova.

This weblog is my learning diary. Sometimes I write about things related to my work, but the views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

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