Situating Aesthetics in Learning


Creators of learning interventions have a number of considerations to address for their learners. These concerns include learning objectives, task and skills analysis, intra-learning activities, teacher or trainer and student interactions, assessment strategies, and program or product evaluations. In an effort to ensure the effectiveness of learning interventions, additional strategies and theories have been developed to aid administrators of learning efforts in fostering learning skills and behaviors in their pupils. Among these strategies is self-regulated learning, which endeavors to create students who are primed and oriented to be ideal receptacles of the knowledge that is being conveyed (Nilson, 2013). These theories lay out a variety of activities intended to create more engaged learners through a range of activities that supplement traditional reading and writing. These activities include strategies for 1) setting goals for each learning session, 2) planning how to accomplish learning tasks, 3) directing focus to stay on task, 4) monitoring their mind to avoid distraction, fatigue or discouragement, 5) maintaining motivation to learn, and 6) intermittently evaluating their command of the material being learned (p. 3). Little is included, however, in these theories related to the willingness of the student to participate in such learning activities. If the quest of bettering oneself through the acquisition of knowledge is insufficient motivation for a learner to regulate themselves, how can additional teacher-imposed activities improve student engagement?

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A Theory on Design


What is the purpose of a design theory? To try to exhibit to others the reasons and methods you use to produce your work? To attempt to sway others to working and thinking the way you do? To share the secrets of your personal success so that others might experience it too? In endeavoring to write this paper, I am reticent to speak in too many absolutes and to declare too strongly my preference for one mode of thinking or one technique over another for fear of becoming the stereotypical dieter or self-help enthusiast who, having found a way of living that is working for them becomes an evangelist believing that the rest of the world must adopt this way of life as well.

With that in mind, the following sections are presented as a contemplation on several aspects of design, such as what design is, what makes a good designer, what makes a good design, and how to become a designer. 

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Unity3D on the web

In order for the game-based simulation that I’m working on to work, I’m going to have to be able to export my game to WebGL from Unity3D so that users won’t have to fuss with installing extra plugins before they can experience it. To test this, I have exported my result from the Roll-a-Ball tutorial on the Unity3D site to WebGL to see how that goes. The code is surprisingly simple in the resulting HTML page that is automatically generated. Instead of just linking to the page, however, I wanted to embed it into this post so that I could be sure to get the game to show up where and how I want it to. Here is the result (use your arrow keys to control the ball to pick up the yellow boxes):

Embedding this in a WordPress site like mine has some issues, the biggest of which is that the HTML generated from Unity includes some Javascript references in the head and since the post editor doesn’t have access to the HEAD tag, I had to work around it. At first I tried an IFRAME but since the game was in a different page than the post, the user would have to click on the game to get the controls to work.

My end solution was to just move the script reference down into the post with the rest of the code. Not ideal, but it works.

Instructional designer with expertise in graphic design and media production.