Beauty and Precision: Weaving Complex Educational Technology Projects with Visual Instructional Design Languages

Derntl, Michael and Parrish, Patrick and Botturi, Luca (2010) Beauty and Precision: Weaving Complex Educational Technology Projects with Visual Instructional Design Languages. International Journal of E-learning, 9 (2). pp. 185-202. ISSN 1537-2456

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Abstract

Instructional design and technology products result from many options and constraints. On the one hand, solutions should be creative, effective and flexible; on the other hand, developers and instructors need precise guidance and details on what to do during development and implementation. Communication of and about designs is supported by design languages, some of which are conceptual and textual, and others more formal and visual. In this paper we analyze a case in which both a creative solution ("beauty") and clear-cut details ("precision") are sought. To contribute to the final beauty of the product we apply a narrative approach that outlines the general structure of the design solution. To provide the necessary precision, we employ a more formal visual design language to specify design details for development and implementation. We claim that a mix of design languages at different layers of abstraction and formalization can be used effectively as complementary tools for creating aesthetic and successful design solutions through progressive refinement.

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