AHRD 650 - Instructional Design for e-Learning :: November 8, 2006

Learner Control

Since I was a mere prat in this business, the subject of learner control has been important. Generally it was assumed that in a hypermedia environment you wanted to give the learner complete control, but the findings of Clark and Mayer show that this was not necessarily true. It seems there are a few variables to deal with online:

With all that said, we will look at some techniques for limiting and/or giving the learner control. But first, examples!


Hypertext and hypermedia have added a non-linear (or non-programitic) dimension to accessing information. Television, radio, books (sort of) are organized to be viewed in a linear manner. But since 1945 when Vannevar Bush published As We May Think, there has been an assumption that the mind works better through association. But this is not what the book says. So let's see.


Enter the Electronic Labyrinth and, using links alone, learn about hypermedia. Perhaps you'll want to explore its history, applications that are used to create it, or its use in various settings. I'll give you a starting point:

Capture some notes, then prepare a brief report for the rest of us.

As you can see, pure hypermedia has a way of never reaching a conclusion. This is the best illustration of Clark and Mayer I can think of. So what to do? Programmatic instruction is seen to provide completeness by enforcing sequence. Here's a crude example of a tutorial from my Web class:

Or this from CIT:

Methods of Control on the Web

In Blackboard

On a Web Page

Project Review

Let's see where you are. We'll go to Blackboard.

Rich Media

OK, whether we let learners have control or not, there are a number of ways to get rich media up on the Web. A key breakthrough was the ability to stream video. Tonight we'll add that resource to our course in some way.


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Last modified Friday, January 5, 2007 9:31 PM

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