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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I teach people and I also design learning materials, including computer based. So I thought I knew a bit about this subject. I think I have more than doubled my knowledge since getting this book a few months ago. It is clear, well thought through and referenced, and gives a comprehensive overview of current e-learning techniques.

What this isn't is an instruction book. If you are looking for step by step instruction in a particular environment or hands on techniques, you won't find them here. This is a more academic and theoretical book. It should, if it isn't already, be on the required reading list if you are studying for a teaching qualification. I did DTLLS recently, it wasnt on our list but I was helped immensely studying and understanding the e-learning module by reading it.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've worked in e-Learning in primary / secondary education for some years, and it's great to find a book like this for newcomers, full of advice to avoid the errors - both in the philosophy and the technique of e-Learning - which most of us commit early on in designing learning resources. Through clear, well laid-out and evidence-backed chapters, all the pitfalls of over-thinking and 'trying too hard' with e-Learning are laid bare. I'm pleased to see that there's a good deal of attention paid to learning styles and particularly the usefulness of redundancy in learning resources.

The only downside for me was the American bias to the studies and examples used. Some of the advice comes across as a little patronising to students - for example, not to promote competitiveness or negative self-reflection through scores. In my experience, a little competition between students can sometimes be a good thing (if not taken to extremes). Otherwise it's an excellent resource, particularly for groups in schools aiming to set up content creation teams for VLE materials.
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on 9 September 2013
I am reading this book at the moment as I want to improve my e-learning development, plus I am very interested in the theory behind good practice. And whilst there is some very interesting in stuff in here, I can't help think that there is a lot of padding. There seems to be a lot of repetition and a lot of referencing their earlier work. Most of the time I am thinking, yes I understand that, but I am a busy man so please move on.

I do find it a bit ironic that in this book and many others about e-learning, one of the messages is 'keep it short, sweet and no waffle' Where as this book seems to do the opposite.
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VINE VOICEon 8 December 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
e-learning is a major consideration to anyone currently working in a learning & development environment. As technology advances the options on how to teach seem to diversify further with the passing of every year. For those for whom technology is more to be appeased or avoided this book is a worthwhile read and an excellent introduction to some of the ways in which to approach e-learning.

On first encountering this book I expected something telling me how to write the programmes themselves. Once that myth was dispelled I was somewhat daunted by the rather academic looking cover. Yet the book is none of these things. Instead here is a book with practical suggestions of what to do and, more importantly, what not to do. It's also not a dry academic tome littering its experiences from education. Here a good number of the examples are taken from people in the workplace - where learning approaches and the actual means and methods of learning can be quite different.

There are justified gripes, many of which have been pointed out by some of the other reveiewers, but this is essentially a practical book. It is clearly designed to help the less experienced and give some guidance on how to approach this without assuming its readers have a good grasp of the approaches or even the potentials of the technology. For all the small flaws this is a book which not only reads well but can be used to refer to when beginning to apply these in the workplace.

There are many pitfalls in any learning and development solution - especially in the workplace - this book sets out ways to avoid them. Practical, readable, not too academic in tone, this is a book which will take residence on my workplace shelf for a good few years to come.
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VINE VOICEon 3 November 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Colvin Clark and Mayer present an evidence based guide on what is effective and perhaps more importantly what doesn't work in e-learning. The core of the book are chapters 2-10 that describe the use of multimedia through a set of principles that the authors have determined through years of research in e-learning. After this they look at how these ideas might be brought together in a course and the possible use of simulation, adaptive environments and games for learning. Each chapter starts with a Design Dilemma, for which they then present the evidence and at the end of the chapter a solution.

This is an ideal guide for someone developing e-learning, especially for corporate e-learning as the examples are more focused on work based situations and skills learning rather than academic learning as part of a degree program.

My problem with the book is the evidence that they used. It is not until the penultimate chapter that the authors argue that the evidence they have used makes for a consistent argument because the experiments were carried out by a single research group (Mayer's) and so they are comparable. I am all for evidence based practice and this should be the norm for developing any learning material, but evidence has to be collected impartially and not from a limited perspective. While there are many references, too many of these are to the authors own work and they do not seem to have surveyed the literature more widely. First appearances suggests this reflects a US and learning skills perspective, but they have not cited significant work also published by Pfeiffer by Aldritch on simulations and by Schenk on different methods of learning. There is certainly no mention of the work by European researchers such as Salmon or Laurillard and the very significant work on e-learning in higher education by Sharpe and Beetham. So you only get a single perspective and it only gets four stars and then only because it is otherwise excellent.
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VINE VOICEon 15 December 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
eLearning - I've been involved in this in one way or another for over a decade and I'm still to see it being employed entirely satisfactorily. Initally seen as a cheap way to provide teaching, and consequently viewed with suspicion by many educators, it turned out to be far more complex than people thought.
eLearning consists of at least two main elements. Most people focus on the first: the software. The choice of platform, the use of off-the-shelf "solutions", the power of the IT managers who (in my experience anyway) seem to see their job as stopping things happening rather than facilitating them)... so many issues.
The second aspect is often forgotten: pedagogy. Teaching and learning using web-based and other e-tools is not the same as teaching and learning using traditional methods. It's not simply a case of writing out your lecture notes and posting them online, or recording a lesson and posting the video... Teaching online requires new approaches, as does learning, and assessing...
This book, while to my mind visually unappealing, is stimulating stuff with a focus on evidence rather than sales pitches. Anyone involved in e-Learning (or stubbornly refusing to be) should take a look at this book.
Like another reviewer I found it too "American" in style and content - there is maybe a need for a more international version or at least some supplementary material (maybe online?!)
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on 15 January 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Don't you think it's rather ironic that this book about 'e-Learning and the Science of Instruction' comes in book format?! No? Perhaps it's just me chortling gently to myself then. Oh yes, and it's available as a Kindle e-book too. I do think the large textbook-style layout lends itself rather better to the careful formatting of the print book, though, in case you're wondering.

I can't pretend to have read this book all the way through - I've dipped in to the sections that were most relevant and interesting to me. I work in publishing, developing e-learning resources among other things, so this is exactly up my alley. Nevertheless, my insights are primarily those gained from a practical and commercial perspective. This book provides an extraordinarily valuable academic (and strongly research-based) perspective into e-learning and instructional design. It's clearly written and examples are given throughout. What I found most valuable, though, was the research that backed up the theory. It's also quite good at linking the theory with how one puts this stuff into practice in the real world. The evidence-based approach is invaluable in a field that is often based on speculation and 'finger to the wind' type intuition. Absolutely fascinating. Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 19 January 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I teach an undergraduate course which involves both online and face to face contact with my tutor group. Preparing a face to face session is usually accomplished by making sure I have all the demo materials I need in place and I have prepared my presentation and handouts before the session starts. An online session is a very different prospect, how do we get cues from our students? How does the VLE we are using provide means of interaction during the session, is the presentation relevant for the session, does it engage the stuudents and is it appropriate for the medium?

This book gives you details on the theory behind development of eLearning materials and how to best develop those mnaterials for the best means of presentation.

Aimed mainly at those of us delivering education online via a VLE, I think this book is invaluable and is at the end of my desk as I prepare all my omnline activities now.
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VINE VOICEon 7 January 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I found this a very well written and clear to understand.
I did a Masters Degree in Interactive Multimedia a few years ago...which was great fun..and hard work
What this book adds to knowledge I got from that is more about the instructional side people to keep them interested.
E-learning has just exploded over the last 10 years...everybody wants to have elearning resources. But i think this book has an important have to think about what is going to work for your target audience....there is a wealth of "Multi media" available...but you don't have to ram some of everything into your application/presentation.
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on 16 August 2012
As an academic and practitioner this book is 'essential reading' for anyone seriously interested in how we can use technology to promote collaborative learning in synchronous and asynchronous contexts. The authors expertly set out a robust framework to optimise learning opportunities for all ability levels and support this with a comprehensive body of research evidence to inform decision makers. The book can be read from cover-to-cover or you can dip in and out of it as required without losing out on the science behind their ideas.
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