Communicating Effectively

M  edia use in communication, is a means of extending our senses. (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2014). The rightful choice of media, the effective use of these choices, and continuous improvement research, all ensure significant results in practice. According to the cognitive theory of multimedia learning (CMTL), human response to multimedia is to build meaningful connections between words and pictures, as they learn more deeply than with words or pictures alone. (Mayer, 2009).

[dropcap]Comparing three media (Email, Voicemail, and Video message), one discovers a trend of improving message quality or delivery. Email presents the message in clear script, but must be read to be understood. The assumption that the reader can interpret written words into a  clear and audible tone, it is assumed that the listener is conversant with the language being used. A video message is a form of face-to-face communication and is usually more understandable than an email or voicemail. Apart from an audible comprehension, a video message is reinforced with visual cues, and makes more meaningful communication. In effect a video message is a series of moving pictures supported by audible words and sounds.

None of these are perfect communication tools, but video gets closer to the mark, since it is rendered in 3D and in color. However, each of the tools of communication considered in this blog post should be seen as effective for a purpose. Purpose is what determines choice, for the end justifies the means.

How was meaning derived from each message medium?

  • The email had to be re-read to make sure that I understood the message.
  • The voicemail had to be re-played to make sure that I understood the message
  • The video message was played once and I understood that I needed to respond to the sender’s request completely.

The implication of this consideration, is that we have a field of choices in communication. Based on the urgency or timing of a communication need, one has one of three choices or possible combinations of any two or all three to choose from. So, in communicating with members of a project team, one would choose the medium or combination of media, based on:

  • Need for clarity vs cost
  • Time available vs sense of urgency
  • Sequence of priorities (Timeline).

This information is not for Project Managers only, but also useful for project team members to know and use, as the team executes the assigned project.



Mayer, R.E. (2009). Multimedia learning (2nd ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2014). Teaching and learning at a distance. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Pub. Continue reading “Communicating Effectively”

Learning from a Project “ Post-Mortem”

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning” – Albert Einstein


As I review one of many recent projects, I do so to apply cumulative learnings that pertain to the rightful use of assessment, the need for appropriate application of Instructional Design methodologies, and an understanding that there is nothing like a perfect project. Projects can always be improved on, and when this continuous improvement philosophy forms the basis of strategic purpose, one can, both improve, as well as learn with excellence.

In November 2015, I completed my Masters in Higher Education with a Capstone project. It was an opportunity to apply newly learned project management principles, in a learn-by-doing format. (Greer,2001). The project was titled: Designing for Motivation and was based on literature reviews which provided the main thrust and justification for the final deliverables.

One of the reference resources which was used during the design of that project was an article published in a Blog titled: ‘Bright Hub’. (Rhinehart Neas, 2010). According to this article, a capstone project at the Masters level is meant to meet certain criteria:

  • it should be academically sound
  • research should be inclusive and holistic
  • it should culminate in a lasting project that can be carried on by others
  • it should scaffold on prior as well as recently acquired knowledge
  • the presentation should inspire others to participate or inquire
  • the final paper should be detailed, yet concise

These considerations will be added to my post-Morten review parameters. The full review follows below:

Getting my bearings

This was my first real academically focused capstone project as I was introduced to the basics of project management at the beginning of the Capstone course. Working with groups, I honed many skills which would eventually prepare me for the rigors of the final project.

Processes, Artifacts, & Activities included in the project

  • Interactive pre-course questionnaire for asynchronous audience
  • Registration instructions for an online communications tool
  • Narrated automated PowerPoint slideshow (Main Training Module)
  • Interactive post-course questionnaire
  • A Capstone Paper, documenting the project process.

Processes, Artifacts, & Activities not included

  • Interactive pre-course questionnaire for synchronous audience
  • A flow chart of learning objectives scaffold as introduction
  • Summary slides within the presentation to pause and allow metacognitive review
  • A more intensive and focused participant search
  • A plan for implementation of formative feedback data.
  • A detailed project plan


One of the key steps of Project Management (PM), is the preparation of a Statement of Work (SOW) or Project Charter (PC) document. These are initiating documents which allow a consensus to be reached and which provide inputs from the Project Manager’s or Instructional Designer’s expertise in the generation of project dynamics. ‘Designing for Motivation’, being an academic project did not have the luxury of agreeing initiating parameters. However, it was understood at the time, that certain elements would not match real-life scenarios and these would be in what Project Managers call ‘assumptions’.

This project was successful because the deliverables were innovative and applicable to the scenario identified in the needs analysis. In the process of designing the training module, it was determined that the format had to be accessible synchronously as well as asynchronously. Since some of the respondents were resident in other States, this was achieved through a series of innovative communications (emails, text and Skype). The Stakeholder/Respondent email contained an explanation of the project and what was required of prospective participants. The time frames of project start-off and completion were clearly stated, though, I had to do extra communications to get at least 10 respondents, when previously accepted respondents changed their minds. To avoid this frustration, I would allocate at least 2 months to my respondent search ahead of project commencement, and utilize more selection parameters.

The most gratifying and professionally satisfying part of the project, was that I was able to combine much of my previous learning in creating the training module, and lay the ground work for my future research study.  With the benefit of this work, I can redesign the participant selection tool. Also, one thing I would change is the mixed offering platform of synchronous & Asynchronous to fully synchronous.


Greer, M. (2001). The project manager’s partner: A step-by-step guide to project management. Human Resource Development.

Ogunsakin, T. (2015). Designing for motivation. Final Capstone project at Walden University.

Rhinehart Neas, L. M. (2010). How to Create a Master’s Degree Capstone Project [Blog] Accessible at

Welcome to Project Management


Welcome everyone,

For those who are new to this Blog site (Design4intelligence), I am glad you are here. This is a site with updates on Instructional Design innovation and news.

I also welcome your ideas and tips, because ID is a team effort. Please sign up for RSS feeds (Posts, Comments or both), and new submissions will come to your inbox at the speed of a click.

See you soon.

Temitope Ogunsakin


Distance Learning

Prior to starting my studies of Distance Learning (Distance Education) within the Instructional Design Graduate program, I had majored in Higher Education, with a specialization in Online and Distance Learning. I had chosen to further study Instructional Design because my research revealed that this group of Professionals grip the reins of the Education infrastructure in a way that merits recognition and appreciation. My understanding of Distance Education at the time was basically centered around the trend of Higher Education Institutions wanting to extend their offerings to students outside their walls, increase enrolment and better the financial returns. This picture was centered around the marketability of Higher Education and Student enrolment. For the purpose of this Blog, I will stay with the term Distance Learning (DL).
My understanding of DL has morphed in the past week, as I enter the new phase of my learnings. First, I have read a brief history of Distance Education and realized that it has been in existence for over 100 years. The predecessor of Distance Education, Correspondence Courses, has been in existence about 160 years. Though styles have changed, and participants varied, the core purpose has not.
Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, (2015), traced the transitions of DL from its application in Correspondence Courses in the early 90’s, to the use of electronic communications and fiber optics (a derivative of space-age technology) & more recently, computer-based technology. With what I call the ‘different eras of DL’, the purpose did not change, however, instruments and tools changed as the definitions of this practice changed.
In the light of the current practice of DL, and my rather basic understanding of it, the following is my revised definition:
Distance Learning is a multifaceted platform of activity, which traverses all areas of Human learning. It is institutionalized, delivered at a distance by the use of regularly updating technology, and relies heavily on feedback, multimedia, and graphic user interfaces. The two most prominent sectors of DL activity are Formal Education & Businesses.
It is with this view in mind, that I present the following summary of my understanding of the future of DL:
1. The driver for change in DL will remain two key elements: Technology & Customer requirements. The identified Customers to the process are Learners, Educational Institutions, Business Enterprises, Government Institutions & Individuals with Learning needs. All these Customers will update trends in development and design by their feedback to vendors and Instructional Designers, thus managing the deployment of upgrades and reviews in existing designs.
2. The role of Instructional Designers will filter down to a more neuroscientifically based one, one in which assessments and designs will improve in sensitivity for Learner needs, and end user responses.(Moller, Foshay,& Huett,2008)
3. Educational Institutions will commission the creation of more original online learning materials, rather than propose the conversion of existing materials to online formats.

Below is a Mindmap of my considerations:


Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 2: Higher education). TechTrends, 52(4), 66–70.

Reflection: Theories and Applications

This serves as my reflection on the past eight weeks of studying Learning theories and allied subjects. While studying learning styles, as well as having discussions with colleagues on the discussion boards, I identified various techniques. Dr. Keller’s ARCS model merged seamlessly with the foundations in learning theory, thus making application easy. Provided reference materials were very useful, but not as accessible as they had been in previous course weeks. And, based on what I learned about scaffolding and the use of increasing complexity of learning modules to stretch cognition, I believe that the course designers have used this strategy well to help students gain skills and techniques which will help the Instructional Design career as we move forward.

Introduced to Blogs and RSS feeds early in the course, I was able to design and publish this blog site (Design4intelligence). It is blog directed at Instructional designers, focusing on design methodologies, design tools, and best practices. Within these eight weeks, Design4intelligence has had seven new posts and various constructive comments from readers. I have also subscribed to six RSS feeds from allied blogs, and I am glad I was introduced to blogging as a tool for engaging my professional world as well as a constructivist learning tool employing Connectivist methodologies. I have also enjoyed using mindmap designs in my publications.

The materials which dealt with Andragogy as a different science when compared to Pedagogy, helped me understand the usefulness and focus of both areas of study (Pew, S. 2007). I think the Instructional Designer of today’s Online class modules needs to be well aware of the principles in both. Due to the diversity of today’s classroom, separation may not be as easy as theory suggests, therefore, I see a merged approach being the most feasible choice. I proposed in one of my Discussion posts, an andra-pedagogical approach. Also, I came across a term: Heutagogy, in the process of my studies, and it will probably be the focus of some of my research in the future. (Hase & Kenyon, 2000)

I was quite excited when in the final weeks of this course, we started on the subject of motivation. Having had challenges with motivation many years ago as a newcomer to the virtual classroom, I was glad that a pet interest of mine which developed into a capstone paper last year, could receive the boost that came with my learnings in this class on ‘Motivation’. I am absolutely convinced of the tremendous impact that Instructional Designers can bring to bear on student engagement, motivation, learning and success through the application of resourceful and focused design strategies. (Huett, Moller, Young, Bray & Huett, 2008) (Huett, Kalinowski, Moller & Huett, 2008).


Hase, S., & Kenyon, C. (2000). From andragogy to heutagogy. Ultibase Articles, 5(3), 1-10.

Huett, J., Kalinowski, K., Moller, L., & Huett, K. (2008). Improving the motivation and retention of online students through the use of ARCS-based E-mails. American Journal of Distance Education, 22(3), 159–176.

Huett, J., Moller, L., Young, J., Bray, M., & Huett, K. (2008). Supporting the distant student: The effect of ARCS-based strategies on confidence and performance. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 9(2), 113–126.

Pew, S. (2007). Andragogy and pedagogy as foundational theory for student motivation in higher education. Insight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching, 2, 14–25.


Fitting the Pieces Together

At the beginning of my odyssey into the world of learning theories and their implications for Instructional design, I wrote about a few things I could remember about my own learning activities. I use the word ‘remember’ because it was an exercise after-the-fact. I found out that over the years, most of my learning had been subconscious. I had taken learning for granted, almost as we all take breathing for granted, and had not consciously ‘observed’ the transitions or steps I took in learning. In other words, I had not consciously adopted strategies, neither was I labelled by a learning style.

With weeks of researching texts on learning, engaging in discussions with other learners, and using what I have now labelled ‘ My learning network’,  I have integrated layers of new discovery into my thinking. Almost as Archimedes screamed eureka!, on discovering the law of density and floatation, I had found an insight into a process which had dwelled under my ‘nose’ (so-to-speak) all the time. I too could scream Eureka, now!

Now, I understand the following:

  • Though learning is taken for granted most of the time, it surely is taking place, more subconsciously than consciously.
  • Different people may have different approaches to learning based on their understanding. No one is really wrong, what could be a failure, is failing to meet an objective.
  • Approaches form part of strategies and start with styles which are based on the nature of the material or situation at hand.

I was intrigued by the work of Philosophers and thinkers like Bandura, Vygotsky, and Siemens. All taking a piece of the learning experience and proposing theories on observable phenomena. Their theories got me to be more inquisitive about my own learning process, a process I had taken for granted for too long.Learning

Fig 1. A Mind map with an overview of my Learning

Studying Learning theories has given me a composite understanding of the underlying structures of learning. There are sub-processes which subconsciously lead toward eventual learning and by these one identifies with a predominant learning style. The application of a style is a learning strategy, and a very significant aspect of my strategy is a learning network of sources of information. Composed of Libraries, blogs, mentors, internet links etc., my sources of information come together in a learning matrix, the core of which is the driving engine of technology. I use technology to source, record, share and evaluate facts, data and information.

Connectivism: Reflections on Learning Network

Apart from materials provided by my University, I have had to learn to source and access other resources by using parameters such as:  knowing where to look, what quality standards to apply and how to utilize networks, in order to leverage information as well as value added.

Based on my continuous search for factual information, and a plan to be  open to scholarly review and citation, I have acquired a network of sources which have proved to be quite reliable. I call it my learning network. A learning network is made up of constructionist resources with connectivity capabilities and gives a summarized overview of the latitude and potential of combinations as information is assembled. The mindmap is a graphic representation of critical thought selections, reviews, and reinforcements. It is a good template to have, even as I plan to research materials for any learning project.

Although I didn’t have it in mindmap form until a few days ago, It was rooted in deep memory, and by regular recall with use, it became readily available in my working memory. Depending on the particular project I am working on, I am sometimes able to obtain enough resources going through just half of the nodes displayed in the mind map.

Connectivism: Mapping my learning connectionsTraversing the map, one will observe a synergy of learning opportunities from different sources. With the flexibility and utility of advanced technology, this schema actually upholds the tenets of Connectivism. Connectivism is a learning theory which was developed after the traditional three. The traditional three theories are Constructivism, Cognitivism, and Behaviorism. (Davis, Edmunds & Kelly-Bateman, 2008).This quote of Siemens wraps up what connectivism is:

Decision-making itself is a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision (Siemens, 2005, para. 24).

According to some Researchers, Vygotsky’s contributions to the psychology of learning through his socio-cultural theory has many useful applications. Some of such applications are metacognition and self-regulated learning. My social interactions, collaborations & learning with my virtual classmates and the rest of the cyber-community through social media contacts have helped me generate continuously growing concepts of learning. And on close observation, one would see that the elements in my constructivist mindmap depict navigations around these concepts during each online learning experience.

I developed this mindmap by recollecting a schema which is deep-seated in memory, finding that it helps me troubleshoot and  improve my metacognition as well as apperception. It also assists me to provide meaningful discussion points during my weekly online discussion forum activities, as well as to write scholarly reports.

According to George Siemens:

“When knowledge, however, is needed, but not known, the ability to plug into sources to meet the requirements becomes a vital skill.” (Siemens, 2005.)

  • Digital tools

The following are tools of interest: Adobe Captivate, WordPress CSS/HTML, Adobe E-Learning Suite 2.5, Articulate Storyline 2.

  • Learning by questions

When I question a scenario, my eventual learning occurs by what is known as metacognition. On the back of that is another phenomenon termed: apperception.

  • Proof of Connectivism

My personal learning network supports connectivism as described by George Siemens because it is a decision-making schema that helps me construct my own personal learning. (Siemens, 2005)


Cognitive Learning Theory.(n.d) Accessed at (on 4/3/16).

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects. coe. uga. edu/epltt/index. php.

Siemens, G. (2005, January). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, Retrieved 4/1/16, from


Connectivism: Mapping my learning connections

A map of my learning network has been constructed to show the latitude and the nature of my interactions as I seek information on instructional design topics, research trends , potentials for application and the career aspects of working as a professional instructional designer in Higher education or other sectors. The tools of ID have been quite fascinating even as I discuss with various practicing IDers. The synergy of learning opportunities with the flexibility and utility of advanced technology actually upholds the tenets of connectivism (Davis,Edmunds & Kelly-Bateman, V. 2008). Below is the graphic:

Connectivism: Mapping my learning connections


I am fascinated by the following ID tools, and I am looking forward to exploring their utility :

  • Microsoft Access
  • Adobe Dreamweaver
  • Adobe Flash
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Captivate
  • Adobe E-Learning Suite 2.5
  • Articulate Storyline 2
  • WordPress CSS/HTML
  • JavaScript
  • MS Office Suite
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Basic Action Script
  • RoboHelp



Davis, C, Edmunds, E, & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved <insert date>, from

The Brain Resource: Vital and live

The adult brain has long been considered stable and unchanging, except for the inevitable decline that occurs with aging. Theories, studies and proof of brain plasticity are yielding very beneficial results.

Writing about Brain Plasticity and learning, Abiola & Dhindsa (2012).  cite J.R.  Skoyles who had done some hypothetical work on the brain’s plasticity. And according to Kurt Fischer, education professor and director of the Mind, Brain, and Education Program at Harvard University:

“The brain is remarkably plastic,” Fischer explains. “Even in middle or old age, it’s still adapting very actively to its environment.” (Bernard, 2010). Accessed at

The fact that the instrument of learning, the so-called ‘seat’ of the soul is in constant change, suggests that theories about the functionality of this awesome organism, the brain, cannot be fixed.

Ormrod, Schunk & Gredler (2009) (p.47) suggest that practitioners (especially including Instructional Designers ) should remember that cognitive advancements do not emerge until late childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. Our science must flow with the inherent change in neuroplasticity.



Abiola, O. O., & Dhindsa, H. S. (2012). Improving classroom practices using our knowledge of how the brain works. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 7(1), 71-81.

Gage, F. H. (2004). Structural plasticity of the adult brain. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience,6(2), 135.

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York, NY: Pearson.