Instructional Design Basics


NSFW or Is It

Sometimes I have ideas that might be fun for courses but never get the chance to implement them.  The other day I had one of these on using Internet memes.  This approach wouldn’t work well for many audiences so I doubt I will get a chance to try it anytime soon.  So rather than let that idea fall to the wayside and be forgotten I thought I’d share it.

After all maybe you could find a use for it and if not, maybe it will trigger some other idea that may be more appropriate for one of your audiences.

One popular type of meme is to reuse an image to convey a concept—maybe it’s a bad friend that everyone has or a superficial complaint about having a difficult life. Regardless of the concept, these memes can be pretty funny and the 40 best memes of 2011 post has many great examples of them.

Make a Note of This

If you look at some of these memes you may start to see a connection to content pieces you have within your courses.  For example a lot of us deal with new software implementations and a lot of this content deals with:

  • Notes—this is content that highlights specific steps or values to use within the software.
  • Activities to Avoid—this is content that identifies specific steps or values to avoid within the software.
  • Selling Points—this is content that will sell or highlight why the software is useful.
  • Tips and Tricks—this is content that identifies activities that will allow you to use the software to its fullest potential.

So let’s take a look at how this content may get represented with a meme.  Here a popular strategy that is used with software manuals is to create note boxes for Notes, Tips and Tricks and Warnings—instead of the standard note box you could use a meme:





Other ways you may represent your other content pieces with these memes are:

  • Interrupting Kayne—could be used to identify Notes
  • Scumbag Steve—could be used to identify Activities to Avoid
  • Success Kid—could be used to identify Selling Points
  • Most Interesting Man—could be used to identify Tricks and Tips

Quote This

Let’s use another popular strategy to highlight how these memes could be used.  Here we can look at the quote boxes, which is a technique that is used to break up text and highlight a chunk of content that you want people to remember. With this technique you can highlight key information, facts/figures, or an interesting piece of content.  And a use of this might be:





Post This

Wallposts and Twitter comments are a common activity for many of us today and these activities can be a way to push content to your users. These informal techniques may engage your users in a way that your normal course content can’t and may lead them to access formal content for further learning.

To get this started you can use an avatar of one of these memes and start posting short content chunks.  Part of these messages can contain links for further information:





Where to Find Your Memes

The following sites can help you out with identifying memes but you might want to be careful when accessing them, as this content is not always suited for work.

Don’t let that stop you though as these memes are becoming more mainstream and a popular way to express ideas.  So today this may only be suited for a small audience (generation Y and some gen Xers) sooner or later though most of us will know what they are and be comfortable with their use.