Sunday, July 28, 2013

Does Subject Matter Expertise Help Instructional Design?

Well, like most things, it is both an advantage and a disadvantage.

Advantage, because if you have expertise in the content, you can focus on how to present it, rather than on understanding it. You will be more confident of creating innovative learning designs for the content. You will also be able to bring out nuances and insights that only come from content expertise.

Disadvantage, because if know a subject well, it will be difficult for you to imagine not knowing it. Since you yourself don't go through the process of understanding the content, you may not be able to visualize the learning process. It will hurt your ability to create an effective learning design.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Metaphors and Learning

Do metaphors aid understanding or hinder it? Well, metaphorically speaking, they can be a double-edged sword.

The point of a metaphor is to help us see things more clearly. For example, the phrase “time slips through our hands like sand” helps us connect something intangible and abstract, such as time, to a physical experience, such as sand trickling through our fingers.

Further, metaphors offer novel insights; they help generate creative thoughts.

On the flip side, metaphors can be traps if we end up taking them too literally; that is, if we read too much into the supposed likeness.

Sometimes they can also hide the parts of a phenomenon that don't fit into the ruling metaphor.

Thus metaphors can mislead us in two ways - by revealing what is not real or by hiding what is real.