Nicholas Giovinco


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Instructional Design: What DrGlass Content Aims to Do

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

For a number of reasons, video podcasts are often most effective in small doses. Medical illustration is a somewhat challenging process to perform, and the end result is something which has to be as effective as possible. For this, an Instructional Systems Design is employed when attempting to create a DrGlass video. In short, Instruction Design (Instructional System Design) is:

"the practice of maximizing the effectiveness, efficiency and appeal of instruction and other learning experiences"

Perhaps the most common model used for creating instructional materials is the ADDIE Process. This acronym stands for the 5 phases contained in the model:

  • Analyze – analyze learner characteristics, task to be learned, etc.
  • Design – develop learning objectives, choose an instructional approach
  • Develop – create instructional or training materials
  • Implement – deliver or distribute the instructional materials
  • Evaluate – make sure the materials achieved the desired goals

Most of the current instructional design models are variations of the ADDIE process.

The DrGlass variation of the ADDIE process is heavily modified. This is mostly due to the way the podcast media is created and consumed.

My analysis process typically involves guesswork. Its unfortunate to admit, but its true. I try to assume what people know, what they don't know, and what they need to/want to know. This depends on my target audience. If its medical students, then I want highly technical explanations; if its non-medical consumers, then I want a general understanding. Often my biggest challenge is to decide what to leave out, rather than what to include.

This is largely in the storytelling itself. This applies to the narrative script as well as the animations. The script usually begins with an introduction to bring the viewer to a roughly standard "starting point." By that, I mean, introducing what is about to be explained with a visual representation of the pathology/concept at hand.

Once I have an idea of what is going to be included, I jot down to list out the models, items, and accessories needed to make the animation itself. There is also a degree of storytelling that is done in the visuals. Therefore, I draw out a very rudimentary storyboard of how I want the camera to be angled for various scenes of the animation. Often this is done by holding an actual model of a foot in my hand and imagining how to show the process to be illustrated.

Once the video is created, I "implement" it by simply hitting the upload button. (nothing fancy there).  It is, after all, a podcast. Podcasts are published.   I offer these videos on YouTube and direct rss/atom download. It's also listed in iTunes.  As an extra bonus, the narration transcript is also available for copy/paste.  It's part of the metadata which pushes the content that much further.

My only real measure of performance is feedback.  I can read posts, email responses, comments, and traffic statistics to try to understand what is desirable and what is not.  This is a loose evaluation process, but it's about all I can rely on.  For better or worse, if there isn't anyone else who's doing what you do in a niche market, then you're left to shoot in the dark.