Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Sunday, March 31, 2002

Basic guidelines for creating effective Web-based instruction

Extracted from:
Khan, B.H., (1997). Web-Based Instruction.
New Jersey: Educational Technology Publications.

A mistake made by some educators is to think that publishing a page on the World Wide Web with a glittery look and lots of links constitutes instruction. The emergence of this new educational resource will no doubt alter the way instruction is delivered and received, but it will only approach its potential with careful analysis and investigation of the instructional strategies that match this new tool.

The issue of isolation can be minimized when instruction uses the strategies which stress the capabilities of WBI to involve not only one classroom, but also potentially every classroom that is connected to the Internet. Discussing, problem solving, interacting with one's own peers, as well as knowledgeable adults are only some of the activities which will offer the learner a means of social interaction engineered toward learning.

Typically instructional sequences include seven common elements:

1) Motivating the Learner
External motivators such as graphics,color,animation, and sound make a difference in the initial attraction of users to Web pages. However, this initial attraction does not guarantee to hold the user's interest. Designers of WBI should use strategies to increase motivation such as inquiry arousal, problem solving, contradictory information, or a mystery to be resolved. Establishing relevance or value and increasing learner confidence will also motivate the students.

2) Identifying What Is to Be Learned
WBI must focus the learner on important ideas to help prevent the tendency to "surf" which may distract the learner from the desired outcomes. Listing objectives or expectations is one way to keep the learner focused. While browsing may be desirable in certain situations, the tendency to forget the purpose of the instruction will be minimized by establishing learner expectations and responsibilities. Another strategy designers use to maintain focus is the inclusion of external links which support and are relevant to the instruction.

3) Reminding Learners of Past Knowledge
Long-term memory retains information when associations or links are made with related information already stored in long-term memory. This is one reason WBI promises to revolutionize the way we deliver instruction. The designer can offer multiple links from any location. These links give the diverse learners the ability to make associations to previously gained knowledge.

4) Requiring Active Involvement
The instructional designer cannot assume that the learner is actively processing and making sense of material through simple engagement on the Web. To increase the possibility that the learner is actively involved, the designer can require the student to create a project based on their understanding of the material. This would encourage the learner to use strategies such as comparison, classifying, induction, deduction, analysis, constructing support, making abstractions, or analysing perspectives. Providing opportunities for students to discuss issues with peers in chat rooms would also encourage active processing of salient information.



5) Providing Guidance and Feedback
Users rely on the designers to provide the guidance needed to be successful. Highlighted and underlined text should lead to relevant links. Paths, especially alternative paths should be clearly laid out. Also, procedures, facts, principles, and concepts should be presented in a systematic method.

Feedback should be provided. There are many ways this can be done. Questions could be posed throughout the materials that require responses. These responses could then link to Web pages with additional information or be evaluated by the instructor. Feedback can also be given after completed projects have been submitted. Finally, the instructor could develop an evaluation to be completed at the end of the lesson.

6) Testing
Assessment is needed to ensure that learners have integrated the desired knowledge. Just as with traditional assessments, it can take on many forms. Traditional assessment tools including multiple choice and essay tests could be used, or projects can be assigned. WBI designers will need to determine whether these assessments should be given online or off.

7) Providing Enrichment and Remediation
Web-based instruction holds great potential for providing this final step in the instructional process. The designer must make sure that learners are provided with additional materials or activities that will be relevant. This information should be specific and matched to the students' knowledge or skill. Remediation may include alternative methods of information presentation, additional practices and links, and alternate tests. Enrichment may provide additional information and links or new ideas to explore.

Excerpted from:
Basic guidelines for creating effective Web-based instruction

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posted by Robin Good on Sunday, March 31 2002, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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