Tutorials are one of the most commonly used methodologies for creating computer-based learning assets. Tutorials are stand-alone assets supporting self-study and therefore are designed with that in mind. Let’s take a look at how one would go about designing them.
Instruction tends to be organized in the following four parts:
- presenting information,
- guiding the learner,
- practicing, and
Tutorials are used mostly for presenting information and guiding the learner and tend to include assessment questions and practice focused on learner guidance. Tutorial designs begin with an introduction which includes the learning objectives and the stimulation of prior knowledge in relation to the subject matter included in the tutorial. The introduction sets the stage in relation to the content and expectations in relation to outcomes. The introduction is then followed by instructional segments that are either designed in a predetermined sequence or that are presented based on learners’ responses to questions and practice. Take a look at the following schematic to explore the design of a tutorial.
Keep in mind that the organization of the content in a tutorial, the level and amount of remediation, etc. depends on the learner characteristics and type of knowledge that is meant to be learned. For example, the design of a tutorial will vary if the type of knowledge is factual, conceptual, procedural, metacognitive, or a combination. Tutorials are frequently used when we want to introduce learners to a topic or a procedure to enhance understanding. They also function as reference materials while someone is learning a skill. The following link shows a table that breaks down the types of knowledge in relation to the cognitive processes that one is aiming to achieve through instruction: http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/blooms-model-text.html.
In the next blog entry, I plan to review a tutorial in terms of design to provide you with an example of what I look for before adopting such resources in my courses.