Handbook of Distance Education

By Michael Grahame Moore; William G. Anderson | Go to book overview

25
A Model of Web-Based Design
for Learning
Richard H. Hall
University of Missouri-Rolla
rhall@umr.edu
Steve E. Watkins
University of Missouri-Rolla
watkins@umr.edu
Vicky M. Eller
University of Missouri-Rolla
veller@umr.edu

In this chapter, we review a model that serves as a framework for the design of Web-based learning environments. The model consists of seven basic components: directionality, usability, consistency, interactivity, multimodality, adaptability, and accountability.

Figure 25.1 presents our framework for design of Web-based learning environments. Three themes guide this model. First, an overriding direction, taking into account learners, context, and goals, should be carefully and thoughtfully identified as a first step in design, and this should serve as a guide for all further development. This difficult but crucial first step is often left out, or is forgotten once further design and development proceed. The direction of all design, development, and assessment should flow directly from the theme delineated. Second, proper design is largely a matter of striking the proper balance between elements of simplicity and complexity. New designers have the tendency to overdo “bells and whistles, ” including superfluous multimedia components that don't contribute to the learning goals. On the other hand, seasoned designers often focus strictly on elements of simplicity, usability, and consistency, sacrificing dynamic and interactive components that could potentially enhance learning within the context of the objectives. We argue that effective design is a delicate balance between these two contrasting positions. Third, evaluation and assessment are basic parts of any design process, both formative and summative. Without this accountability component a designer never really knows how effective a given Web-based learning environment is, and there is no mechanism for improvement in future design. This framework, which can serve as a guide for the design and development of Web-based learning environments, will also serve as the framework for further discussion in this chapter.

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