Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Rich, elegant and delightful

Partly to be provocative, but also quite seriously, I am exploring new quality assurance criteria for online learning: rich, elegant and delightful.

Richness includes what I call 'content richness' (pretty self-evident) as well as 'process richness' or 'orchestral richness'. I'm at a loss for terms here, and I'm borrowing from a metaphor that Stephen Downes used (some time back). What I mean is the richness that comes from iterative-and-cumulative reflective online activities (that's a mouthful too).

But richness (as we all know from not fasting over festivals like Xmas and Thanksgiving) can be a bit much, so it needs to be balanced by 'elegance'. No use putting so much content, in lists, (rather than carefully crafted layers) that its overwhelming, and easy to get lost.

Richness and elegance ...
forget the
white space
whatever you do]
still need the 'delightful' - the playful, the visually interesting and pleasant - I'm still not sure exactly why photo/graphics can add so much to a text, but they do.

The pic (above) does have a real function too, is should be more than just 'delightful'. Lilly-pads are a metaphor that I use to describe what you need to provide for online learners - steping stones, or 'pads' for them to step on/stop on while they are explore a reasonably uncertain domain, with some critical 'edges' to stimulate them and keep them focused - no 'easy pathways'.



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