Tuesday, May 10, 2011

First Principles of Instruction

Merrill, Barclay, and Schaak (2008) discussed the First Principles of Instruction which include five core factors: task-centered approach, activation principle, demonstration principle, application principle, and integration principle. Merrill et al. noted the similarities between the structure of other models and those of the First Principles of Instruction. Overall, the principles noted tend to be followed without teachers being cognitively aware of doing so. However, there are many cases where one or more principles are absent. I was also impressed by how these principles relate to our course's syllabus!

I particularly found Clark and Mayer's (2003) Principles for Multimedia Learning and e-Learning interesting. It was informative to learn that animation with narration was the most effective method of delivering learning through media. When I read this section, I was reminded of the many YouTube tutorials created with Camtasia or Captivate that provide visual aids as well as a narration of what is taking place on the individual's computer screen. I can understand how this demonstration combined with a real-time narration would be the most effective means of teaching. I will definately be referring to these and other principles mentioned in the future!

Merrill M. D., Barclay M., van Schaak, A. (2008). Prescriptive Principles for Instructional Design.


  1. Hi Mikah,
    I enjoyed the Clark and Mayer's section too. I actually have their book "eLearning and the Science of Instruction" at home. It's a really good read for anyone who develops eLearning.

    - Nicole

  2. I agree that I was surprised that amination with narration was the most effective instructional method. I frequently use screen capture video to demonstrate computer tasks. The students seem to understand better than written instructions.

  3. Hello Mikah!
    You are the first person that I am following! SO I also found that narration and animation were the best practices when teaching. But to tell you the truth the first time I read it, I thought it was talking primarily about cartoon animation, and I was disagreeing to myself! In most causes I find the cartoon like teaching to be to childish. But then the second time through it dawned on me that it was any sort of visual aid. That is why I think it should be cause visual and narration.

    I could also understand that writing is not a good choice but I do think that there is a time and a place for it. Sometimes I find so many videos take up so much time. Or if I want to print it out and carry it along with me, I would definitely want writing. It might not be the most effective for, but it has to be pretty effective if text books are still around.

  4. I like your comment on Clark and Mayer's (2003) part about animation with narration as learning delivery. We absolutely should incorporate multiple media and dynamic graphics as presenting
    instruction in multiple media such as pictures and videos can be more effective than doing it through one single medium, like an plain article, but what is important is combining media effectively, not
    merely adding media. (Luckily we have First Principles of Instructional Design!)
    On the other side, I feel that interactive ways of delivery of materials will be more interesting compared to one-way interaction, such as only watching the animation. Any thought on how to make it more interactive during 'viewing'?

  5. Hi Mikah. I posted to your blog on Thursday and I'm not sure what happened to my comment. Grrr. Here goes again. I found the Clark and Mayer's section interesting as well and thought I'd recommend their book, "E-learning and the Science of Instruction." I have it at home and it's an excellent read for anyone who develops e-learning or even multimedia learning. They elaborate on many of these ideas.

  6. Hi, Mikah,
    I found Clark and Mayer to be a challenge to my thinking a well. Whatever form my project takes, I'm going to have to push against the temptation to rely primarily on printed or spoken narration, and find ways to employ multiple representations. In other words, I'm going to need to think like a user as much as possible, and think like a designer inasmuch as I serve the users' needs. Thanks for helping to embed this lesson for me!


  7. I just wanted to thank everyone for commenting! I hope to follow everyone who is on blogspot soone! ^_^