Principles of instruction

Something with extensive research on it and based on more then 200 years experimental findings can be summarized on these principles (Merrill, 2007):

  • Task centered approach;
  • Activation principle (prior knowledge);
  • Demonstration Principle;
  • Application Principle;
  • Integration Principle;

This can be more concrete: prepare pupils to be ready; present the new lesson; associate it with prior knowledge; use examples; test pupils to ensure they learn it;

4C/ID is one of instructional blueprints that facilitate the integration of those principles.

For multimedia learning, you can have this concrete sets of guidance lighthouses:

  • Students learn better from words + pictures presented simultaneously than just words or picture and words in successively different pages;
  • Extraneous materials should be excluded;
  • Animation + narration is better then narration + on-screen text;
  • Design effects are stronger for low-knowledge  learners then for high-knowledge learners, and for high-spatial learners;

But if you want to start with small but efficient principles, follow the minimalist van Meij, 1998 proposal:

  • Provide an immediate opportunity to act;
  • Select real tasks for the learning activities;
  • Verify if the tasks are consistent with the overall task;
  • Prevent mistakes;
  • Provide error information;
  • Be brief;
  • Provide a closure for chapters;
  • Respect the user;
  • On the spot error info
  • Encourage exploration and innovation.

sources: Prescriptive Principles for Instructional Design, MERRIL; BARCLAY; SCHAAK; p.173, Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technlogy, third edition, 2011


Merril 2007:

Research Reason’s for adopting bLearning

Research reason’s for adopting bLearning:

  1. Improvement of learning effectiveness: student and faculty satisfaction (impact on learning and workload, in spice of the fact that in the beginning there is an enormous workload); student success, less drop outs, increase success rates and improvement on skills;
  2. Increase access and convenience ;
  3. Greater cost effectiveness: it may occur a drop in cost but its not guaranteed;

Success of the bLearning depends on the institutional support, student and faculty centered approaches  and the teacher training in this areas: Instructional models; staff development; course structures; assessment designs; trail and error mind set;

Dangers: domesticating tech to support old practices;

Source: Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology, Third Edition, Edited by SPECTOR, J. Michael; MERRIL, M. David; MERRIENBOER, Jeroen; DRISCOLL, Marcy; 2011, p.269, Blended Learning Environments, GRAHAM, Charles; DZIUBAN, Charles;

Baye’s Theorem explained

8 Bayes’ Theorem

…in no other branch of mathematics is it so easy for experts to blunder as in probability theory.
—Martin Gardner

In a famous psychology experiment, subjects were asked to solve the following problem. The experiment was first published in 1971. It was performed by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. Their work on human reasoning reshaped the field of psychology, and eventually won a Nobel prize in 2002.

A cab was involved in a hit and run accident at night. Two cab companies, the Green and the Blue, operate in the city. You are given the following data:

85% of the cabs in the city are Green and 15% are Blue.
A witness identified the cab as Blue. The court tested the reliability of the witness under the same circumstances that existed on the night of the accident and concluded that the witness correctly identified each one of the two colors 80%
of the time and failed 20% of the time.

What is the probability that the cab involved in the accident was blue rather green?