A talented but relatively inexperienced instructional designer was looking for feedback on a short sequence he designed introducing the objectives for a course.

I loved it. He had figured out how to use native PowerPoint objects and animations to create fireworks that exploded all around an image of Uncle Sam admonishing YOU to learn. The objectives themselves swooped onto the screen, building a pyramid showing how the objectives built on a foundation of other objectives. Wow!

I pointed out some technical issues (in order to fit the objectives into those boxes, some of them became way too small to read, for example), but what was hard was giving feedback that instructional designers have to be careful they don’t fall into the trap of using flash and pizazz to drive engagement instead of dealing with the real problem that is keeping the content from being engaging to the target population.

In this case, the chief barrier was likely that they won’t understand a long set of technically-worded objectives, so we ended up editing down to the essence, focusing on desirable, understandable outcomes.

He’ll be fine, of course; he thrives on feedback and is growing into a fantastic designer. The experience from figuring out how to use a tool in complicated ways will help him in the future.


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