instructional design

Comparing Strategies for Teaching Abstract Concepts in an Online Tutorial


The purpose of this study was to compare traditional classification training for a set of abstract concepts with multiple relations training consisting of inference practice and the use of a content diagram. To examine this, 200 undergraduate and graduate psychology students completed a Web-based tutorial covering the abstract concepts of a psychological theory of language and cognition. All participants received the same core instructional content and practice activities varied by experimental condition: some participants received classification training, some received multiple-relations training, some received a combination of both, and some received neither. Performance on a posttest with three subsections was evaluated. Participants who received classification training were significantly better at identifying new instances of the concepts than participants who did not. Neither classification training nor multiple-relations training had a significant effect on ability to identify concept definitions or answer application questions. Implications for the development of instruction for abstract concepts are discussed.

Contextualistic Perspectives on Instructional Technology


This chapter provides an overview of Stephen Pepper’s philosophical worldviews (1942) as a way of clarifying the philosophical assumptions of different perspectives. A detailed analysis of contextualism is provided, and the manner in which this worldview relates to both constructivist and behavioral theories in instructional design is explicated.

Using Wikipedia for Good and Not Evil in Education

WikipediaAlthough Wikipedia is often considered a woefully inaccurate, no-good, downright evil source by many academics, there has actually been a great deal of interesting discussion on how Wikipedia (and other open content projects) can be incorporated into course writing assignments. For me, the bottom line is this: Yes, Wikipedia and other online sources have their limitations and problems.