Instructional Design with eXe

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Open-source software for e-learning made easy


The 3 hour workshop aims at presenting a set of open source software that can be used to design and deliver interactive learning environments that are both cost effective and requiring absolutely no programming aptitudes. We base ourselves on Merrill’s first principles as both our model and to ensure that knowledge and underlying concepts are conveyed to learners through the quality of the pedagogical design. The workshop is based on the five principles Merrill had derived from his study of Instructional design theories. The demonstrations and resources pertaining to e-learning are integrated into the workshop and will form the scenarios for the hands-on, reflective activities while engaging the participants in the collaborative creation of their own e-learning module.


The three main software that will be introduced are elgg, exe and freemind.

Elgg is an e-portfolio which allows its users to create their own personal profiles, communities and provides spaces for uploading resources.

eXe is a freely available authoring application to assist teachers and academics in the publishing of web content without the need to become proficient in HTML or XML markup.

Freemind is a free mind-mapping software that will be used for brainstorming and linking concepts for better understanding.


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Objectives of this workshop

The Objectives of the workshop are:

  1. To introduce Merril's First Principles of Instruction for Designing online courseware.
  2. To Introduce blogs and demonstrate how their use adds to the learning experience.(
  3. To introduce concept mapping techniques for representing complex knowledge structures using Freemind. ( )
  4. To create educational websites without having to know programming or HTML (



Post Workshop Reflections

The timing for this workshop was optimum as most of the faculty were not even aware of an Open Educational Resource movement..let alone the software we had introduced. Most of the lecturers wanted to know how to get an Elgg account..and of course we said we had the Moodle platform..and thus demands for a future workshop are already flooding in on Using Moodle for course management and delivery.

Some things that didn't go quite right:

  1. The local elgg installation was taking too much time to respond. Which meant that people sitting next to each other when they want to add friends couldn't do so.
  2. the freemind presentation was very scanty owing to time constraints..

I've thought of thus doing away with elgg..we'll have a proper introduction to online tools and interactions and reflexive practices during another many little time... We thus start the activation principle through simply brainstorming..using obviously Freeminds..and I can demonstrate the lil tricks that you can do with this neat software..organising, regrouping, colouring..time-encapsulating etc.. Will get back be continued