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313 “Too Much Text!” But Is It? Research and Tips on Making Text-based Modules

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Wednesday, April 12

Tracks: Instructional Design

Series: Instructional Design Summit

It is frustrating to hear “there is too much text” from clients when the design budget is small or non-existent and you’re unable to afford the time or effort to use audio and video. How do you appease someone who wants to be wowed by audio or video-style content, when there isn’t time or money for it? What can we design and build to meet these conflicting expectations? Or it might be the other way around: You may be working with someone who is really trying to push an audio/video style learning solution but you know that going down that path would be infeasible. It costs resources that you don’t have, and/or the added complications and logistics of recording will simply be a nightmare. How can we convince picky partners that a text-based solution is the best for the situation?

In this session, you’ll learn about the research: how and when text-based is a good, if not the best, option for learning. You’ll learn how to leverage text-based content in a user-driven way to capture learners’ attention and interest in the same way a flashy video can. You will learn strategies you can use to “sell” text-based learning to your clients. You will hear about different ways you can communicate the benefits of text-based learning solutions and how to get client buy-in for novel implementation of text-based activities. You will also see lots of examples of text-based modules and activities, built using common tools that have the “wow” factor without audio/video or fancy graphics. You probably won’t leave this session with any fancy new tools in your toolkit. Instead, you will gain a new perspective on those tools that you already have, as well as a new ideas about how you can use those tools to make engaging text-based learning solutions.

In this session you will learn:

  • About the effectiveness of text as the primary mode of communication in a learning solution, and the situations in which it works best
  • About the research on learner-driven modules and how they can affect motivation, affect, and learning outcomes
  • Design tips for creating text-based learning modules, such as “choose your own adventure” type modules or personalized interactive examples
  • Techniques and strategies for talking to clients/partners about the benefits of text-based learning and how it can be used

Matt McGee

Learning Designer

Penn State University

Matt McGee is a learning designer/developer for Penn State, where he creates learning solutions for training problems. Using design thinking models and rapid development tools like Articulate Storyline, he focuses on creating simulations and trainings that allow learners to practice real-life skills in a virtual setting. His work primarily consists of the creation of 508-compliant, high-fidelity, high-interactivity online learning environments for use in professional development by the United States Department of Defense and partners. His portfolio includes virtual, as well as face-to-face, trainings and knowledge-as-you-need reference tools.