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An Informal Communication Approach with Online Instructions

Updated on December 1, 2012

Personalization Principle

In instructional design, the principle of personalization regards including a pedagogical agents or an onscreen character to help guide the instructional process. Research evidence indicates the idea of an onscreen agent is beneficial, but the controversy is whether the agents should convey formal or informal information. Pedagogical agent research is near new, but the cognitive theory supports that an onscreen character delivers information in a conversational style because it engages learner interactions more than a formal style (Clark & Mayer, 2011, pp. 180-182).


At first, I could not believe that delivering information informally would be more beneficial than the formal style because a first person and second person view appears subjective and distracting. However according to the cognitive theory, the formal process of delivering information is inconsistent with how the mind works (Clark & Mayer, 2011, p. 184). In general, human socialization consists mainly of an informal style and as a result, the human mind is accustomed to deciphering informal messages; therefore, an onscreen formal delivery method is less effective.


The challenges with implementing the conversational style are extensive. The quality of the voice must be near human to be effective, even if the on screen character is not human. Additionally, the agent’s voice must be polite because commanding information can be offensive (Clark & Mayer, 2011, pp. 188-90). Another problem may include professional expectations. To maintain professionalism, it may be difficult or unwarranted to implement informal expression because it may make the design appear inferior or inappropriate.


Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2011). E-Learning and the Science of Instruction (Third ed.). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


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