Preliminary ISD model development

Posted on Jan 22, 2010

I am considering several variables to inform the creation of my model for Instructional Systems Development (ISD).

My general perspective on ISD comes from a Communications background, in both undergraduate studies and career work. I am concerned with how channels of communication may cause information to somehow acquire, lose, or change its “skin” of meaning or context due to the intervention of technologies beyond primitive human communication. An example might be how there are differences in the perception of communication via email that compel us to clarify context using emoticons – a form of compensation for email’s inherent strength in transferring symbols (denotation), and weakness in defining context and relationships (connotation).

Among these influences is the philosophical work of Marshall McLuhan (“Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man”, 1964), whose works in the 1950s and ’60s helped characterize “the meaning in the message” independent of content, and how certain forms of communication are rich (“hot”) or minimal (“cool”) and how human literacy accommodates perception. An example might be to ask a student to make an interpretation of a political cartoon (a cool medium) where the reader must “fill in” a great deal of information about a line drawing, symbols and relationships, versus an interpretation of a high resolution photograph (a “hot” medium) where details are more clearly defined. Both examples require the student to ascertain meaning, though the “cool” medium may require more effort.

Leon Harmon's Lincoln Portrait

Leon Harmon’s Lincoln Portrait

I have made other posts in this blog alluding to some of his perceptions of electronic media in the social collective, so look for Related Posts for more exploration of his work.

Second, I am hoping to incorporate some of the principles of analogic and digital communication theory I had written about previously, as presented by Anthony Wilden in “Analog and Digital Communication – On Negation, Signification and Meaning” (a PDF of the actual article is included there). In this aspect, I hope to use these to serve as diagnostic tools to determine if information is being “colored” in any way, or to clarify the relationships and boundaries of information so that it remains semantically consistent as it travels through various gateways, aggregators, and dispersal schemes.

Collectively, I hope to form a model of ISD that will account for the fundamental framework of the Instructional Design process (ADDIE), with attributes that can assist the ID professional in measuring where information may be fragmented, weakened, or diluted.

I believe this model may be valuable in several applied settings since network communication is a pervasive technology intervention in modern communication, though I will attempt to target this model towards the Distance Learning environment in higher education.

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