ID Webcomic #4 – What’s the route like?

So there have been a few hundred folks coming to the blog the last couple of days for the last ID Webcomic I did, and I realized it’d been over a year since I did one of these (Btw – Hi to all the new visitors <waves>.  Delighted to see you.  What brought you all here?  I’d love to know, if you’d care to mention in the comments).

This is one that I was working on for the book I’m writing (more on that in coming months), but since I had it, I thought I’d post it here.

Sorry about the font size – it was more readable before wordpress got its file-compressy hands on it. You can click on the individual panels to see bigger versions of the images.

Can your learners see the goal?  Can they measure their progress along the way?

More info here:

10 thoughts on “ID Webcomic #4 – What’s the route like?

  1. A handful of your hits could be beause one of my cycling friends sent a link to a comic about learning being like riding a bicycle… and I was compelled to forward it to a “numeracy” email group. Several people pled guilty to plotting steep paths towards high goals….

  2. (I think I know — it’s kin to the bicycle theme — that idea that when we decide our more thorough directions with encouragement along the way are just too much work, we lose a bunch of potential participants?
    I’m just thinking that we need to build in the part where the student can acquire at least *some* strategies for generating his/her own “rest of the directions” because it is *awfully* empowering.

    • Ooo – I like that. Mapping their own route. Hmm. Going to have to do something with that.

      Thanks for the question, btw, I think there might have to be a revision of this one — I know what I want to communicate, but I don’t think I’m there yet, which your question confirms (although your interpretation is spot on).

  3. Welp, I know that some teachers stick to the standard “map” without realizing that it “works” because there’s a short cut in it that lets a student who, for instance, memorizes procedures in lieu of comprehending stay in that realm. Sometimes what students learn vs. what we teach are painfully different…

    • Not so many 🙂

      Seriously, Creating Passionate Users and Cognitive Daily are both worth visiting even if all you do is wander the archives (particularly CPU — if you never read it, treat yourself – start with the crash course in learning theory It’s not an oversight that those are listed, even if they aren’t being updated anymore. In fact, I’m pretty sure CPU was already shut down when I put it on the blogroll.

      I probably should update the B&F and Frontal Cortex links, although they at least have their links to the new locations right at the top of the pages.

      Did you bump into problems with any of the others? The rest of the links work for me. I find blogrolls are kind of like that — they get put together when you set up the blog, and then get pretty neglected afterwards. There are definitely a few I should add (one of these days…).

  4. This is a very interesting for you to display very important information. About the comic, the runner seems to be really confused. I have definitely run into this problem when I get lost and need to stop and ask for directions. Some people give landmarks like stop just before you get to Main Street Bridge and make a right when you approach Old faithful, while other direction givers are more methodical like go west until you get to 49th street and then go north on Mountain Street. Me as the receiver of these directions, I would like to get directions from the person who gives the directions to major landmarks because that is the way in which I have been conditioned to learn.

    Before I moved to the west coast, I lived for twenty-four years on the east coast and that is the way that we gave directions, according to landmarks. So that has become the way that I process information. When I moved out here to the west coast, people are more about north and south and east and west. This type of thinking took me a while to learn. I think that grid-like way of thinking has to do with the fact that on the east coast, there are more natural boundaries on maps and on the west coast there are manmade boundaries. Today, when someone says go north or south, I still have to stop and think about those directions because that is not the way that I am used to learning those directions.

    As your comic relates to instructional design, I really enjoy the questions that you bring up in relation to the comical situation. Those questions quite possibly may be overlooked by the busy instructional professional and therefore may skew the desired results. It is important for instructional designers to put themselves in the learners shoes and get a different perspective on their instruction. First of all, as you have said, learning goals do seem so far away. So from my experience, I would think that the in-tune instructional designer would set smaller goals along the way so that the larger goal will not seem so far away. Therefore it is also important for instructional designers not to bog down learners with information. They can do this by giving just enough information to the learner at the right time. Knowing what information to give and at what time to give it comes with experience.

    Lastly, you bring up the learner’s ability to troubleshoot. Do they have enough information to know what to do if they encounter an obstacle? Is that information an obligation of the instructional designer or is it up to the learner to figure out. I really liked your river example because, does the learner use his life experiences to figure out how to cross the river or does the instructional designer assume that they do not and just tell them what to do if they encounter an obstacle such as a river. It is my belief that if they do instruct the learner what to do if they encounter certain obstacles then they can assimilate that information to conquer other unexpected obstacles.

  5. I’m a first-time visitor to your site, and I must say that it is really refreshing to read about what others are doing in the field of game psychology as a foundation for instructional design.

    I found this site in a round-about way. I was looking for scholarly articles on gamification and found the archive for the ASTD webcast on Using the Psychology of Game Design for Learning ( Then I clicked on the view slides here link (, which took me to the link for this page: the comics blog. I’m glad I followed the trail of breadcrumbs.

    I’m one term away from finishing my PhD in instructional design for online learning and there is almost no talk about incorporating game design concepts into ID let alone into curriculum development. I’m looking forward to exploring your blog further in the hopes of finding new and innovative ways to improve the instructional design process for the 21st Century.

    Thanks a bunch!

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