EdTech 506:

Instructional Message Design

Instructor Tae K. Jeon (John), Ph.D. (ABD)

Course Description and Objectives

This course is designed to enhance the ability of educational technology students in the theory, design and selection of instructional media that is to be delivered in a high technology environment. Instructional Message Design refers to the manipulation and planning of signs and symbols that can be produced for the purpose of modifying the cognitive, affective or psychomotor behavior of one or more persons. It involves the application of perception theory, learning theory, communication theory and systems theory to the design and evaluation of instructional media.

This course taught me how to:

  • Apply principles of visual literacy to the design of instructional messages
  • Select and apply principles of graphic design when developing instructional materials and presentations
  • Select appropriate combinations of graphic and image representations to supplement text-based instruction
  • Develop instructional content that integrates multiple instructional messages to achieve identified learning goals
  • Use image editing software (i.e., Fireworks CS5) to create and modify images for digital and print formats
  • AECT Standards

    For standards mapping to completed course artifacts, please select from the list below.


    Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to design conditions for learning by applying principles of instructional systems design, message design, instructional strategies, and learner characteristics.

    • 1.1 Instructional Systems Design
    • 1.2 Message Design
    • 1.3 Instructional Strategies
    • 1.4 Learner Characteristics


    Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.

    • 2.2 Audiovisual Technologies
    • 2.3 Computer-based Technologies
    • 2.4 Integrated Technologies


    Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to use processes and resources for learning by applying principles and theories of media utilization, diffusion, implementation, and policy-making.

    • 3.1 Media Utilization


    Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to evaluate the adequacy of instruction and learning by applying principles of problem analysis, criterion-referenced measurement, formative and summative evaluation, and long-range planning.

    • 5.1 Problem Analysis

    Graphical Introduction

    IntroCollageLink to Full Size Image

    Unit of Instruction Initial Outline

    Unit of instruction


    My audience is adult learners preparing for a career in emergency medical services. I assume at least a 8th-grade reading level and comprehension skills.

    Hemoglobin is a protein that contains iron (Fe) and bonds the oxygen. I used four layers to create this textual representation. The first layer is a series of the symbol for iron. The second layer is a white fill. The third layer is the word Hemoglobin of the same serif font, adding a 3 pt. outside stroke, then rasterized and used as a mask for the second layer cut-out. The fourth layer is the use of numbers to create two oxygen symbols, visually bonded with the word Hemoglobin. I then flattened the image. Because this would likely be the heading for a passage of text, I chose to use the serif font that will match my text. If it were the unit heading, I would have selected a sans serif font for legibility as discussed on p. 227. Shock comes about from a loss of blood, or hypo (low) perfusion (blood reaching capillary beds at the extreme ends of circulation). I decided to fill my type with a gradient shift from fully saturated (black), to the absence of saturation, making sure that hypo and perfusion stand out separately with the use of gradient fill. Because it is an unusual word, I wanted it to be legible. Uppercase letters are difficult to read, but the X height of about 70% comes in to play when I decided on small caps, making the word more legible (p. 232).

    For Bleeding, I chose Eras Medium ITC kerned and embellished with drips from Drip Brushes (Older, 2011). I looked for drippy fonts online, but didn’t find anything that looked technical. Most were created with a sense of “horror” so I decided to create a font that matched my educational environment. This is an example of a decorative typeface that will be used for a title (p. 244) to emphasize the topic.

    Pulse took me the longest to decide how to display graphically, but once the decision was made it was the easiest to create – I used a Georgia font with altered upper and lower case letters to mimic the lub-dub of a regular heartbeat.

    I had my husband (also an EMT trainer and nursing student) view the words. He liked the first three, and gave me feedback on the word “Pulse,” so I kerned it to bring certain letter pairs closer together to visually represent the sound and rhythm of a pulse.


    My unit is a part of a sequential but complex skills process that addresses the needs of adult learners with 12th grade reading levels, so I chose to use simple rectangles to organize the information on a standard computer display. Other units can be quickly accessed on the lower ribbon links. After reading chapter 10, I was inspired by Figure 10-3 (p. 252) which depicts a similar course. I liked the way the rectangles highlighted and organized the information with clean lines. My use of color parallels the colors we use on our local EMS logo and ambulance.

    When my reviewer remarked there was too much clutter on the page, I added the broken circle in an attempt to unify the page elements and a solid line of a different color to separate and define the other units (p. 250). Peer reviewers commented on the Unit links at the bottom of the page, so I added text and shapes to clarify their purpose.

    ACE & PAT

    This image provides for my adult learners a correlation between what they have learned and organizes it in a manner that is consistent with the chapter. I used the ACE model and found it to be much like the Design and Develop part of the ADDIE model with which I am more familiar. Once I completed this image, I began subtracting different elements and finally settled on removing the skills components. I prefer the information provided on the first graphic, but also find the simplicity of the edited image to be appealing. I will have to appeal to my peers for their review.

    CARP Contrast, Alignment, Repetition and Proximity

    This design uses CARP elements to communicate to adult learners the primary steps in bleeding control and shock management: General impression/assessement, bleeding control, shock management. At this point in the lesson, learners will have a foundational knowledge of assessment and body substance isolation (BSI). Contrast: I chose a grayscale theme, using a dark gray background to emphasize the text boxes. I considered text color and selected complimentary shades of gray and black to tie in graphical and textual elements. The lines between rectangles tie similar sub-steps together to clarify the groupings for my learners. My reviewer suggested that I order the steps using numbers. I toyed with the placement and color of the numbers, deciding on white to emphasize there are three steps. Alignment: I aligned the textboxes along the right edge, with the numbers nearly flush with the left edge. My choice to center the text was to keep the relation between like items. I tried left alignment as suggested in the text (p. 201), but found the assymetry distracting. Repetition: I used color repetition in the textboxes, according to which step was being implemented. I also repeated the word BSI, which in EMS training is repeated over and over and over....the image offers just enough surprise to make it memorable. Proximity:I grouped activities line by line according to the step in which they belonged to help my learners see the relation of the activities in each step. I used evenly spaced rectangles to emphasize that these steps are part of a whole routine, not performed in isolation (p. 203).

    Full Size Image


    Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: lessons in visual literacy (2 ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.

    Clark, R.C. and Lyons, C. (2010). Graphics for learning: Proven guidelines for planning, designing, and evaluating visuals in training materials (2nd ed.). November 2010, Pfeiffer.


    What You Need to be Successful

    Computer - PC or Mac with multimedia capabilitieis

    Software - Adobe Web and Graphics Suite, Presentation, Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Open Source

    Time Management - Deadlines approach quickly - don't wait until the last minute to get the job done!


    Other Useful Links

    Boise State University

    BSU EdTech

    EDTech506 Artifacts

    About Stefanie

    Mrs. Brimacomb

    Stefanie Brimacomb is a multi-endorsed math, business, and computer teacher in a remote Idaho town where online learning is essential to provide students a competitive education.

    Contact Information


    EdTech Learning Log

    Copyright ©2011 Brimacomb