More on the “instructional text” tweet

So a bit of explanation on what I was going on about here:

Basically I was looking to discuss this topic as I have been seeing a lot of content publicly available (branded as eLearning of some type) which can be difficult to use as its unclear what to do from a learning perspective.  Whilst as learning designers we have tended to move away from boring instructions and learning objectives it feels like there is still work to be done.

I guess that I am ultimately thinking is we need to move from:

“This eLearning is made up of x modules and take xx minutes to complete”

type stuff to better prompts for action, something like:

“This activity is designed with moments for you to reflect throughout, therefore you need to pay attention and potentially take notes to help with your recollection”.

Why? Well we hear a lot about difficulties around concentration and focus.  Personally I fall into the trap of treating “learning content” online like I would treat other material.  Am I alone in feeling a need to be actively prompted to pay attention? Would we just ignore such advice if it did exist?

When looking for any formal research on this I did stumble across the below article which is quite good on instructional design more generally but I could not find anything too specific on the topic my tweet introduced…

Instructional Design and eLearning: A Discussion of
Pedagogical Content Knowledge as a Missing Construct

Click to access EJ846720.pdf

Author: iangardnergb

My name is Ian Gardner and I am interested in various topics that can be seen as related to learning, technology and information. To see what I am reading elsewhere, follow me on The Old Reader ( and/or Twitter (@iangardnergb).

2 thoughts on “More on the “instructional text” tweet”

  1. Some thoughts on this from mylearningspace a Moodle Partner ( are below. Again “a lot” remains tricky in terms of what becomes “too much”.

    You want learners to easily understand what they need to do, when and how. This is best achieved through a great course design that is simple, clean and intuitive. Throughout your courses you may need to provide instructions, however if you find yourself needing to put a lot of instructions, this could indicate that your course design needs refinement.

    When adding instructions, where possible it is ideal if instructions are consistent. So think about your use of language and whether it is intuitive to your learners. Once again having someone with fresh eyes review some of your instructions can give you new insights into how learners will perceive what you are asking them to do.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: