The main instructional objective of NE was to provide some type of scaffolding for the young visitors of the museum to facilitate their learning in this informal education setting. In terms of instructional design, we incorporated elements that address all four phases of instructional design: presenting information, guiding the learner, practicing, and assessment. Also, since Nature Explorer was addressed to young children it was imperative that it was compelling to them. In order to cater to this need, various techniques have been used to increase motivation and engagement, such as a) a meaningful goal through storytelling and role playing (fantasy); b) encourage exploration and discovery of physical space (curiosity); c) vary the difficulty level to allow advancing through experience (challenge). Overall, NE harnessed all three constituents of the motivational theory of learning according to Malone1, which appear within brackets above. Moreover, guidelines for effective information/visual design, drawn by the textbook “White space is not your enemy,” were used in order to ensure that information is communicated more effectively for the target age group. For this reason, we chose to employ a cartoon animator to help us in delivering an aesthetically pleasing result for our audience.
1 Malone, Thomas W. (1981). Toward a Theory of Intrinsically Motivating Instruction. Cognitive Science: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 5(4), 333-369.