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How can technology help instructional designers? Part 2—ID templates

Microsoft Publisher helps people perform some tasks with available templates that embed the expertise of graphic designers. Therefore, with these templates, users lacking graphic design skills can still produce professional look documents. Moreover, even professional graphic designers might save time by simply modifying the templates.

When I was in the graduate program of educational technology, I often tried to find templates or worked examples for my own projects. What if there is a database that I may find many useful ID templates and worked examples, I can search this database based on a variety of factors, contribute to this database, and review the templates.

This sounds very similar to the functions of Google’s Document Templates. Maybe, Google document is a place that we are able to create and share ID templates and worked examples. A benefit for posting templates is: it can be free advertising for your company or organization since users might be interested in the template creators and click the ‘Creator’ button in Google Document interface.

ID templates can be based on the whole ID phase or various sub-phases, such as learner analysis, learning goal analysis, learning context analysis, content analysis, learning strategy analysis, media analysis, developing analysis, and implementing analysis etc.

ID templates can be categorized by instructional design products types: a course, a learning toy, an educational game, an online learning environment, and a job aid, etc.

ID templates can also be categorized according to subject area: biology, mathematics, interpersonal communication, leadership, sales, accounting, software tutorial etc.

The users of ID templates might need to understand the basic terms used in the templates; or at least be able to learn fast about the terminology. It is like that Microsoft PM might be useless for people who don’t have the basic knowledge of project management. Or it is like that a business plan template can only be used by people who understand these words related to business: market analysis, pricing, competitive advantage etc.

Ideally, templates creators attach or link to some worked examples. For example, in Website A, I saw a very good example that interacts with web users, and there is a similar case in Website B. Then I extract the template and embed it into Google Document, and I also give the sources of worked examples, and maybe simple screen-capturing of the worked examples.

With these worked examples, there is a bigger chance for users’ effectively use of the templates than without the worked examples. Users often need illustrated examples to truly understand the template.

What if users want to learn the terminology used in the templates, I might either give simple explanations or suggest the sources that they can learn about these terminologies.

Another example is: I find that the rapidly emergent children’s interactive books are very interesting, so after actually seeing them in Indigo bookstore, I might search online about the demonstrations of these books, and then I might synthesize some basic principles of designing them, and then give some of my own suggestions on other ways of doing it. Then people who try to design interactive books might benefit from it.



An informative article

I have used google document for a while, didn't realized the template functionality, however. Thanks for the article.