What are the elements of a good design?
Objectives – They need to be well – framed, specific and relevant. I argued that it is important to be creative while writing your objectives. But creativity is also bound by rules. Random creativity is chaos. It does not make logical sense. Why are specific objectives important? They not only tell you the intent of the design but also the limits. Good objectives outline topic coverage. They allow you to measure the weight-age that you need to give to a topic. Objectives are so much more then just telling the learner what the outcome of the course is going to be. To the designer, they are the bones which will hold the meat and flesh together.
Structure – Do objectives define the structure? Not necessarily. While, they are the bones, the structure is like the nervous system. The nerves decide how and where the message will be carried through. The structure will tell you how the message will be carried and where it will go. The structure of the topic decides on the order in which you will build up the elements of the topic. It allows you to order your concepts in a manner in which you want the learner to know them. This actually is the most exciting part of the design. You can derive the message through tools like scenarios and multimedia elements. Or you can keep your teach element direct and to the point.
Storyboard Plan– A good content outline is a part of the structure. That includes the introduction; teach screens, test screens and conclusion. These form the granular detail, the meat and flesh that will hold your bones and nerves together. How you will give life to the structure is decided in the storyboard plan? The number of screens, the type of screens, the amount of content on each screen, and most importantly, the nature of content on each screen are all a part of the storyboard plan.
Tools – The learner is a complex animal. No two learners can be alike. In fact, the same learner can learn differently. To meet the learner needs, you need a set of effective tools which will aid you in presenting your content in the most suitable manner. An instructional strategy based on the needs, learner and context analysis. The tools which will enable you to implement your strategy include simulations, scenarios, media elements, multimedia elements like audio and video and any other. The tools provide you with the skin, the outer element which allows you to dig into the meat below. Crispy skin with juicy sauces make for a good barbecued chicken. It’s your use of these tools which will make the design effective, flavorful and enhance long term retention.