Message Design


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Message Design

  1. 1. Message Design Principles Guidelines for Designing Instructional Materials Steve Lusher, IDT 691
  2. 2. In this presentation we examine: <ul><li>Multimedia Instructional Messages </li></ul><ul><li>Designing with Text </li></ul>
  3. 3. Multimedia Instructional Messages Definition: “ A communication using words and pictures that is intended to promote learning”
  4. 4. How is effectiveness measured? <ul><li>Retention: Remembering the Information </li></ul><ul><li>Transfer: Understanding the Information, i.e. “to use what they have learned to solve problems in new situations” (Mayer, 2001) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Why are Multimedia Messages Effective? <ul><li>Research shows that students do poorly at retention and transfer when the information is presented in text alone. </li></ul><ul><li>When combined with “annotated illustration” or “narrated animation” retention and transfer are shown to improve </li></ul>
  6. 6. The goal of multimedia instruction: <ul><li>“ Problem-solving Transfer ” </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>The ability to identify the “ explanative idea units ” </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>i.e. The fundamental principles or steps in an explanation or process </li></ul>
  7. 7. Testing for “Problem-Solving Transfer” <ul><li>Types of Questions (Mayer, 2001): </li></ul><ul><li>Conceptual </li></ul><ul><li>“ The learner must uncover an underlying principle” </li></ul><ul><li>Redesign </li></ul><ul><li>“ The learner is asked to modify the system to accomplish a function” </li></ul><ul><li>Troubleshooting </li></ul><ul><li>“ The learner diagnoses why the system might fail” </li></ul><ul><li>Prediction </li></ul><ul><li>“ The learner infers what happens in the system when a certain event occurs” </li></ul>
  8. 8. Mayer : “I focus on explanations - that is, messages about cause-and-effect systems - because these are at the heart of many educational presentations on topics ranging from science to history” (Mayer, 2001) Evaporate  Condense  Precipitate Society  Civilization  Nation-State
  9. 9. Designing with Text <ul><li>Guidelines for designing with text include: </li></ul><ul><li>Typography Decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Color and Layout </li></ul><ul><li>Structure and Organization </li></ul>
  10. 10. Text size guidelines: <ul><li>“ Typical sizes in textbooks are 10, 11, and 12 point” </li></ul><ul><li>“ 6 or 8 point…is too small for most people to read with ease” </li></ul><ul><li>“ 14, 18, and 24 point…are used for headings and display purposes” (Hartley, 2004) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Keep in Mind : “the specified size of a particular typeface…does not actually refer to the size of the image of the printed characters as seen by the reader” (Hartley, 2004) <ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><li>Times, 32 point </li></ul><ul><li>Helvetica, 32 point </li></ul><ul><li>Courier, 32 point </li></ul>
  12. 12. Choosing a font : When designing for instruction, it is better “to stick to conventional and familiar typefaces than it is to employ idiosyncratic ones” (Hartley, 2004) <ul><li>“ to stick to conventional and familiar typefaces” </li></ul><ul><li>“ to stick to conventional and familiar typefaces” </li></ul><ul><li>“ than it is to employ idiosyncratic ones” </li></ul><ul><li>“ than it is to employ idiosyncratic ones” </li></ul>
  13. 13. Two types of fonts: <ul><li>Serif: strokes at the end of lines </li></ul><ul><li>Times New Roman , Courier , Georgia </li></ul><ul><li>Sans-Serif: without strokes </li></ul><ul><li>Verdana , Helvetica , Trebuchet </li></ul>
  14. 14. Which to Choose? <ul><li>A matter of preference, context, and common sense </li></ul><ul><li>According to Hartley, some suggest that sans-serif be used for a body of text, and serif for headings and titles </li></ul><ul><li>A common guideline is that sans-serif fonts “are more legible in smaller sizes” and in quantity </li></ul>
  15. 15. Best Practice: <ul><li>Remain consistent throughout the media </li></ul><ul><li>Limit font choices to no more than two </li></ul><ul><li>Use bold, underline, and italic sparingly for emphasis </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid long strings of CAPITAL or italic lettering </li></ul>
  16. 16. Color: <ul><li>Use sparingly and consistently </li></ul><ul><li>Frequent changes and variance can cause difficulty for younger, older, and low-ability readers </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on high-contrast, i.e. dark text on light backgrounds, light text on dark </li></ul><ul><li>Use generous white space to improve legibility </li></ul>
  17. 17. Contrast: <ul><li>HIGH </li></ul><ul><li>CONTRAST </li></ul><ul><li>LOW </li></ul><ul><li>CONTRAST </li></ul>
  18. 18. Structure : Elements that help readers to focus, organize, and retain information <ul><li>Structural elements include: </li></ul><ul><li>Titles </li></ul><ul><li>Summaries </li></ul><ul><li>Outlines </li></ul><ul><li>Boxed Asides </li></ul><ul><li>Headings </li></ul><ul><li>Embedded Questions </li></ul><ul><li>included within text to aid engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Sequencing and itemizing information </li></ul><ul><li>bulleted and numbered lists </li></ul>
  19. 19. Summary: <ul><li>Designing instructional messages using multimedia promotes “problem-solving transfer” and retention </li></ul><ul><li>Simplicity and consistency are key elements of effective design </li></ul><ul><li>Typography, layout, and structural elements assist learners in processing information </li></ul>
  20. 20. Sources: <ul><li>Mayer, R. E.(2001). Multimedia instructional messages in. In Mayer R.E. Multimedia Learning. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved September, 29, from </li></ul><ul><li>Hartley, J. (2004). Designing instructional and informational text. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.) Handbook of Research in Educational Communications and Technology (2nd edition). Mahwah, N.J: Erlbaum. ISBN 0 8058 4145 8. Retrieved August, 28, from </li></ul>