This four-part blog series has been examining the importance of Instructional Design principles to the emerging knowledge economy. As noted in part one of this article, the role of the instructional designer is to organize the information in such a way as to most efficiently and effectively facilitate the learning of the material by the learner. While not all aspects of working with knowledge and information are about learning, the underlying process – the transfer of information – is the same regardless of how the information is finally consumed. Given this, there is much value to be derived in applying instructional design practices to improve the transaction of information on which this new economy is predicated.
The information processing model of perception identifies four components: the encoding, transfer, receipt, and decoding of data. Problems at any point in the process could mean that only partial or inaccurate information is received by the consumer, if anything is received at all. To ensure an effective transfer of information, Instructional Designers employee the ADDIE Model. This model begins with an analysis phase, examining the nature of the learner, the type of information and the context within which transfer occurs. Based on this analysis, the elements of Design and, Development is employed to ensure the successful Implementation or transfer. Lastly, there is a process of Evaluation to gauge how efficient and effective the effort has been.
Previous articles in this series have focused primarily on the design and development aspects of the ADDIE model; basically, the packaging, or coding/decoding and its transmittal. Another critical element involves examining WHAT is being packaged and sent. As John Dvorak, a contributor to PC Magazine, notes “On the Internet, bad information propagates fast and becomes fact” (Dvorak, 2014).
While it may be impossible to assess how accurate the information available on the internet is, studies show that a majority of people do not believe the information is reliable (For 53% Reliable Information, Click Here, 2003). As access to information becomes easier and less expensive, the skills and competencies relating to the selection and efficient use of information become more crucial. Capabilities for selecting relevant and disregarding irrelevant information (Organisation For Economic Co-Operation and Development, 1996).
Management information system experts identify that good data is:
The conclusions we draw about the validity of information are influenced by how the information is presented. A major concern today is copyright infringement. With so much easy access to so much data, plagiarizing the work of others is easier than ever. Thus, there needs be an even a higher standard to ensure authenticity and a more careful review of the information’s ownership. Moreover, supporting one’s comments and opinions with credible sources, lends a higher degree of credence. Using authoritative resources enhances the professionalism of the presentations and the credibility.
In this regard, once again, the Instructional Designer can play an important role. The instructional designer is responsible for accurately evaluating the “authority, credibility and value” of informational resources (Larson, 2014. P 225). Research doesn’t end with the identification of resources, one must also ensure that credible resources are used. The first thing to consider is the voracity of the site providing the information. There are many sources of information, but not all of them are trustworthy. If the site is credible then the information it provides will be more authoritative. Examples include library sites offering peer reviewed journals, government affiliated sites and websites of professional organizations, to name a few. However, even from these sites the quality of the material needs to be evaluated carefully. Some key things to look for include:
Some consider all writing a form of argument in that no matter what it is you are writing, you’re trying to persuade your audience to care about what you have to say (Online Writing Lab, n.d.). There are many ways to persuade someone to see your point of view, ranging from deception, to emotional appeal, what Aristotle called Pathos and Lagos. However, credibility, ethos, is built by applying your own expertise or citing that of other, credible, sources, which Aristotle believed the most persuasive of the three approaches.
There is little doubt that the internet has changed the world. It is perhaps the most prominent indicator of a new age in human development, socially, creatively and economically. However, it is, by nature, a chaotic and somewhat uncontrolled environment. Many issues confront users of the web for the dissemination of information. With so much available, it can be difficult to connect to that for which you are looking. Data needs to be shareable and digestible. While the World Wide Web provides an unimaginable number of possibilities, many of which may not yet be realized, this also attracts nefarious people with malicious intentions. Thus, we find a proliferation of computer viruses, data theft, copyright infringement and “fake news”.
Anyone who has spent any amount of time on the internet is probably familiar with the common “meme”, usually an often-used photograph with a pithy saying along with it. The word “meme” was coined by English Biologist Richard Dawkins in 1986 to refer to describe how ideas can propagate, even replicate themselves, much like a virus; discrete units of ideas (Gleick, 2013).
For much of our history memes spread by word of mouth but today, they have “staying power”, attaching themselves to other media, such as those found in computer servers and satellite signals. Like biological genes, the analogy on which the meme concept was based, “memes have effects on the wide world beyond themselves” (Gleick, 2013).
In this way, memes jump from person to person, until whole populations are affected. While memes, like viruses, may be benign or cause illness, the ideas they convey can take on a life of their own. Therefore, in the professional realms of our modern information-based economy, we need people, like instructional designers and others, to examine what is being passed along and how it is being transmitted, to ensure the most effective and efficient dissemination of accurate information, for as the old saying goes: “garbage in, garbage out”.
Dvorak, J. C. (2014). Internet of Failings. PC Magazine.
For 53% Reliable Information, Click Here. (2003, Jan 31). Forbes Magazine. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/2003/01/31/cx_da_0131topnews.html#14eb244531f3and In late 2016.
Organisation For Economic Co-Operation and Development (1996). Retrieved from: https://www.oecd.org/sti/sci-tech/1913021.pdf
Sanjay, M. & Joseph, P. (2014). Management information systems in the knowledge economy. India: Prentice Hall.
Larson, M. B. (2014). Streamlined ID : A practical guide to instructional design. New York: Routledge.
Evaluating Internet Resources, (n.d.) Georgetown university. Retrieved from: https://www.library.georgetown.edu/tutorials/research-guides/evaluating-internet-content
Understanding & Identifying Fake News: CRAAP Test Evaluation (2017, Nov). Miami Dade college library guide. Retrieved from: http://libraryguides.mdc.edu/c.php?g=633995&p=4497812
Online Writing Lab, (n.d.). Retrieved from:
Modes of Persuasion (n.d.). European rhetoric. Retrieved from:
Gleick, J (2013, May). What defines a meme? Smithsonian magazine. Retrieved from: