EDTech 513: Personalization Theory

Problem Scenario

You have been working on a script for a narrated lesson. As a teacher, you are convinced that a more relaxed, less formal conversational style is the way to go. However, you need to get this approved by your instructional design team, one of whom is an English major and a stickler for “proper” English and grammar. When you show him your script, he is aghast. How might you respond?


Dear Script Naysayer,


I appreciate your point of view regarding wanting to use “proper” English and grammar to create a professional piece of instructional material.  However, there is research that backs the model for which my script for the lesson narration is based.  We want the learner to engage with our content.  This can be a challenge in a virtual learning environment such as the one we are creating for this course.


According to Clark & Mayer and the Principal of Personalization, “The psychological advantages of the conversational style, pedagogical agents, and visible authors is to induce the learner to engage with the computer as a social conversational partner.” (p. 180).  This can make the learner feel more engages in the learning process rather than in a more formal model where learners feel less connected to the content. Given the cognitive theories of how the human mind works, using a conversational style in a multimedia presentation conveys to the learner the idea that they should work hard to understand what their conversation partner is saying to them (Clark & Mayer, p. 184)    I feel that I have created the fine balance in the script where the conversational partner is both engaging but not so informal that it becomes distracting from the instruction.  We have chosen to have an actual human voice because research states that learners respond better to this that that of a voice that is more computerized.  In addition, we have chosen a female voice for the instruction given the fact that the course we are designing is for teachers which tends to be a predominantly female profession.  It has also been found that learners rate the female narrators more positively and show better problem-solving performance from a female-narrated lessons (Clark & Mayer, p 189).   I feel that if the voice selection will enable our learners to be better problem-solvers of technology use in instruction then this is a solid choice.  I was thinking of creating machinima that was dressed professionally in a virtual classroom that mimics that of the age group of students that the teachers will be instructing.  This will allow elementary teachers, middle school, and high school teachers all to envision themselves as integrating the technology into their day to day instruction better.  In addition, I felt that the narrator and coach of the instruction would be more believable if we used terms such as “I,” “we,” “our,” “we,” “you,” and “your.”  (Clark & Mayer, p. 202).


As you can see the elements included in the design have been carefully considered given sound instructional theory.  I hope you will take a second look given what I have presented with an open mind as we move forward to collaborate on this project.


Thank you in advance for your consideration

Clark, R., & Mayer, R. (2011). E-learning and the science of instruction proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

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