Moodle and e-portfolios provide the technical platform on which to build e-learning experiences and whilst e-portfolios assist in providing the pedagogical framework for establishing learning design, the instructional design of experiences need greater models to inform best practice teaching and learning within these two learning environments. Research into instructional design shows that it both informs the decisions about what tools to use but also how they are used, forming the solid foundation on which e-learning experiences can be built. However, instructional design models such as the ADDIE model, need the capacity to cater for e-learning environments that now encompass a different set of technologies, facilitating the decisions made by instructors as to the technologies that are integrated.
“There seems to be an endless number of learning portals and resources relevant to one’s courses, a growing number of tools that one can utilise within a course, and thousands of resources that might find their way into online course activities” (Bonk & Zhang, 2006, p. 2). This issue grows as rapidly as the tools on the web grow. The implications being that educators have access to so many tools that can extend the design of e-learning experiences. However, how does an educator make the decision about the right tool to use and when? The need for a model and framework for making the decisions about what tools to use can largely be informed by research and instructional design models, which then provide the scaffold for integrating further tools to extend the e-learning experience. The TEC-VARIETY model assists in the selection of resources as well as structure and scaffold of learning experiences.
Instructional design in the 21st century requires the development of models and frameworks like that of Bonk and Khoo’s TEC-VARIETY model in figure 1 (2012) considers the capacity of 21st century technologies. The TEC-VARIETY model addresses the need for engaging and motivating students in an environment where there is not always a strong teacher presence, however, the nature of the activities suggested by Bonk and Khoo (2012) when implementing the framework provides the necessary facilitation to compensate for lack of face-to-face interaction. The potential for collaboration and interaction in the activities outlined help develop a self- sustaining community of learners, independent of an instructor.