The Science of Learning

While distance education technology is being heralded as a revolution that is changing education, our focus is on how students learn and how we can use technology to complement the learning process.

Some basic principles of distance education, many of which relate to any instructional method:

  • Must start with learning objectives—upon completion, what will the learner know or be able to do?

  • The objectives should be validated by individuals who know the learners and their expected levels of knowledge and skills

  • Instruction and assessment must relate directly to the learning objectives

  • Lessons are presented in relatively short, manageable segments that don’t overwhelm the learner

  • Instruction should be presented in conversational language, for example using you, your, I, our, and we

  • Instructors are visible to personalize the learning experience

  • Instructors express their own experience or point of view relevant to the instructional goals

  • Lessons are presented with the minimal amount of words and graphics needed to help the learner understand the main points

  • Audio narration is used to help comprehension

  • Feedback not only indicates correct or incorrect, but gives an explanation as well

  • Text that explains graphics is placed within or adjacent to graphics rather than separated

Source:  Clark, Ruth Colvin, and Richard E. Mayer.  2011.  e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning, Third Edition.  John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


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