I was reading ReadWriteWeb’s posting about finding design balance – specifically between aesthetics design and functionality. This tension is something educators find all the time – especially when you factor in pedagogy and/or andragogy. Educators should be looking for some window dressing as well as the view, meaning there needs to be some beauty with the functionality. Too often, teachers are too consumed with the content, and not the presentation. As we know from communication and media theory, the way the message is conveyed plays a role in the way it is understood. Back to the article… it puts out there that sometimes users prefer a more complex interface. Certainly we see this sort of techno-snobbery with the iPhone being accused of being a toy (at least at first) – I think there’s an elegance that exists with the iPhone (and iPod Touch) that is lacking in other phone interfaces. Does this idea shift to e-learning?
Are there instances where a more complex, and potentially more confusing, interface could benefit some learners? Certainly, I like the idea of instilling confusion in learners – personally I hate feeling confused, but it tends to drive me to understand whatever I’m confused about more. If I feel that way, maybe someone else out there benefits from confusion too? Certainly, you can go too far – as confusion for most people is a huge turn off.