Some thoughts on thinking and learning

These 2 articles discuss the information processing theory and submit models on how to instruct for maximum efficacy.

This article How the Brain Learns Best by Dr. Bruce Perry make a case against one-note teaching.  Dr. Perry likens bad instruction to playing a sustained chord on an organ versus good instruction  where keys are stuck and released and the neurons are able to  “respond to patterned and repetitive, rather than to sustained, continuous stimulation”.  The article talks about the importance of Instructors tapping into emotion to in order facilitate the learner connecting with the material.  In what he calls a “Bob and weave lecture” he advises instructors to “give a fact or two; link these facts into related concepts. Move back to the narrative to help them make the connection between this concept and the story.  Go back to another fact. Reinforce the concepts. Reconnect with the original story.”  This he suggests in lieu of a steady stream of facts which he asserts contributes to neural system fatigue.

This study by Ozcelik and Yildirim offers a look at the metacognitive processes of a group of students who were given access to web based “cognitive tools”–highlighters, sitemaps, bookmarks, pagenotes and search functions.  It analyzes why students utilized or under-utilized a tool and provides recommendations for “practitioners of Web-based instruction and Web-based cognitive tool developers”.


Ozcelik, E., & Yildirim, S. (2005). FACTORS INFLUENCING THE USE OF COGNITIVE TOOLS IN WEB-BASED LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS. Quarterly Review Of Distance Education6(4), 295-307.

Perry, B.D. (2013, September 15). How the Brain Learns Best. Retrieved September 15, 2013 from



3 the ID in libraries way


These resources will be highly frequented by me in my exploration of the instructional design field.  Both Blended Librarianship and Designer Librarian offer entries on topics germane to the library world as it intersects with the instructional design world.  These sites directly or indirectly discuss issues facing libraries (academic, public or otherwise) such as budget constraints and collection needs, user friendliness and maintaining support–and they propose 21st century or ‘library 2.0’ kinds of solutions.  The SkillAgents site isn’t specific to instructional librarians, but it endeavors to help its users “create significant learning experiences”.  I find that it too is highly applicable to the library world because what librarian doesn’t instruct? The patron that we assist in searching the stacks, navigating the online catalog or the databases is our student.  These resources will help me keep an eye on horizon technologies that may impact the future of library collections and services.

1. Blended Librarianship

This is a great blog whose author, John Shank, is an Associate Instructional Design Librarian.  It’s hosted on the site which is an excellent tool for finding and sharing quality curated content on any given topic.  The Blended Librarianship blog presents  from the perspective of the librarian–a somewhat non-traditional pedagogic field–who engages in instruction in this age of e-learning.   A PowerPoint presentation on the site defines Blended Librarianship as Instructional Systems Design+Technology+Librarianship.  The site offers access to articles from national news sources as well as entries from personal bloggers.

2. Designer Librarian

This blog is great because it recognizes the need for a liaison between two fields that ‘travel in the same circles’ so to speak but could do with a formal introduction.  Per the “About” page, this site aims to “bridge the gap that exists between the field of educational technology and information science.”  The author has worked in both public and academic libraries which is of particular interest to me because I’ve worked in public for 8 years and hope to proceed into the academic world later in my career.  Entries like “An Overlooked Tab-oo in LibGuides Designs”, which discusses how to avoid an unfriendly, unwieldy interface are right up my alley and I’ll be staying tuned for more insights.

3. SkillAgents

This is a gem of a site that offers a fresh take on ways to innovate in the relatively fresh field of instructional technology.  SkillAgent is guided by Anna Sabramowicz, an Instructional Design professional.  Per the “About” page, it’s content is driven by compelling questions such as: Why do experts and teachers deliver content-centered courses when we know that’s not how people learn? And Why would a million dollar learning course fail, but a short two minute “explainer” video go viral?  As an aspiring instructional designer it would behoove me to observe or engage in this dynamic conversation surrounding trends and innovations in the field.