Saturday, January 23, 2010

What is Instructional Technology

Instructional and Performance Technology, as the name implies, is a combination of an Instructional Technology degree, and a Performance Technology degree. The combination of courses in my curriculum focuses on the foundations of Instructional Technology. But, exactly what is Instructional Technology?

What should be understood about instructional technology is that its objective is to solve human performance problems using physical and behavioral science. Instructional Technology is especially concerned with the design, development and evaluation of instruction. Two methodologies of Instructional Technology are Systematic and Systemic approaches.

According to “Foundations of Instructional and Performance Technology”, by Yonnie Chyung, “Systematic applications refer to purposely planned, methodical, step-by-step approaches that are likely to lead to desirable outcomes.” (Chyung, 2008, p. 9)
These Systematic approaches are best used for “the design, development, and evaluation of instruction”... Systemic approaches “take into account networks of interrelated factors while trying to implement solutions to achieve desirable outcomes”… They should be used “in order to understand the interacting relationships among different elements of the instructional system” (Chyung, 2008, p. 4 - 8).

Two types of technology are used by Instructional Technologists, hard technology (computers), and soft technology (concepts, theories and ideas such as the ADDIE Instructional Design Model). Instructional Technologists must therefore choose the correct approach, systemic or systematic, also the correct type of hard and soft technology for each situation.


Chyung, Y. (2008). Foundations of Instructional and Performance Technology. Amherst, MA: HRD Press.

Learning Theory: Cognitivism

Background Information

In the 1950’s, trainers began to look at the cognitive aspects of learning, as opposed to observable behavior. The Cognitivist theory focuses on “thinking, problem solving, language, concept formation, and information processing.” (Etmer, p. 57 from Snelbecker, 1983) There are two key assumptions that “underlie this cognitive or information-processing approach:
(1) that the memory system is an active organized processor of information, and
(2) that prior knowledge plays an important role in learning.” (Merriam, p. 285 through Gredler, 1997, p. 144)

Three concepts that cognitive strategies add are attention to the learner’s needs, an individual learning style, and the context of the lesson (making the lesson as realistic as possible). Additionally, Jean Piaget developed the four stage theory of cognitive development. David Ausubel came up with the Assimilation Theory which generally states that “learners assimilate new experience into one’s existing cognitive structure” (Merriam, p. 286 from Hill, 2002, p. 138). Albert Bandura also contributed the concept that learning can also come through discovery. Discovery is “in its essence a matter of rearranging or transforming evidence in such a way that one is enabled to go beyond the evidence” and as a result, reconstruct additional new insights” (Merriam, p. 286 from Bruner, 1965, p. 606 – 608).

There are two other theorists that should be noted when discussing Cognitivism, and they are Jerome Bruner, and Robert Gagne. Bruner based his theory on three processes:
(1) acquisition of new information
(2) transformation, or the process of manipulating knowledge to make it fit new tasks; and
(3) evaluation, or checking whether the way we have manipulated information is adequate to the task” (Merriam, p. 286, from Knowles, p. 25, 1984).

Gagne and his colleagues Briggs, and Wagner (1992) theorized that there are eight types of knowledge, including:
• Signal Learning,
• Stimulus-response,
• Motor training,
• Verbal association,
• Discrimination learning,
• Concept learning,
• Rule learning,
• And problem solving. (Merriam, p. 286)

There is also a Social Cognitivism Theory that focuses on the idea that people learn by observing others. Merriam suggests that “much human learning occurs in a social environment. By observing others, people acquire knowledge, rules, skills, strategies, beliefs, and attitudes. Individuals also learn about the usefulness and appropriateness of behaviors by observing models and the consequences of modeled behaviors, and they act in accordance with their beliefs concerning the expected outcomes of actions” (Merriam, p. 288, from Schunk, 1996, p. 102).

When using behaviorist strategies, the learners are only responding to stimuli. When using Cognitivist strategies, the learners actively participate in the learning process. Knowledge is gained through the mental process of encoding and structuring information.

Instructors Role

According to an article by Ertmer and Newby, instructors must create instructional examples, demonstrations, illustrative examples, and matched non-examples in order to give the learner the opportunity to process information internally and commit it to memory. Instructors must give learners the opportunity to practice, and then provide feedback (Ertmer & Newby, 1993, p. 58). According to Ertmer and Newby, in order to link new information with prior knowledge, instructors can also use:
• advance organizers,
• analogies,
• hierarchical relationships, and
• matrices.

Instructors should also:

• Place an emphasis on the active involvement of the learner in the learning process [learner control, metacognitive training (e.g., self-planning, monitoring, and revising techniques)]
• Use of hierarchical analyses to identify and illustrate prerequisite relationships [cognitive task analysis procedures]
• Emphasis on structuring, organizing and sequencing information to facilitate optimal processing [use of cognitive strategies such as outlining, summaries, synthesizers, advance organizers, etc.]
• Creation of learning environments that allow and encourage students to make connections with previously learned material [recall of prerequisite skills; use of relevant examples, analogies] (Ertmer & Newby, 1993, p. 60).

Instructors need to make sure that their learners understand how to apply their knowledge to different contexts. When learners gain this knowledge, they are capable of higher thought and problem solving.

Instructors should break information down into its simplest form to make knowledge transfer easier. They should also remove irrelevant information in order to reduce the amount of information that is processed by the learner.

One strategy to help with this process is known as “Chunking” information. That is, grouping information into small, manageable sections (no more than ten to fifteen minutes each).

When to Use

Cognitivist approaches are best used to teach:
• Reasoning,
• Problem-Solving, and
• Information-Processing.


In the business of inventory management and accounting software training, there is a need for both training and education that spans the entire spectrum of learning. As I stated in a previous post, the learning theory continuum begins with Behaviorism – Beginner (teaching basic skills that are observable and measurable), then moves to Cognitivism - Intermediate (reasoning, problem-solving, and information processing), and ends with Constructivism - Advanced (higher thinking, process modification, and innovation).

There is a need for basic training, where learners must grasp basic skills and knowledge. A Behaviorist approach should be used for this type of information. However, untrained employees within their stores often make mistakes in areas such as receiving data entry. This could lead to problems with their cost of goods sold, and therefore, someone in their store will need to be able to troubleshoot, or problem-solve within the software.

To teach problem-solving skills (to users that require these skills), we could employ several of the tactics already mentioned in this blog. Something that many learners have found helpful has been the opportunity to engage in discussion about these issues with trainers, and with employees of other stores. To reduce Cognitive Overload, we could also employ job aids in the form of flowcharts and matrices. The learners should be given the opportunity to think about how they would handle certain situations, and should be educated on how different processes affect each area on the system.


Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50-72.

Merriam, S.B., Caffarella, R.S., & Baumgartner, L.M. (2007). Chapter 11: Traditional Learning Theories. In Learning in Adulthood: A comprehensive Guide (pp. 278 – 280). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Learning Theory: Behaviorism

Background Information

Behavior is a learning theory that was developed in the early twentieth century by John Watson, and was later augmented by the works of B.F. Skinner, among others. In the book Learning in Adulthood, by S.B. Merriam, the authors explain three basic tenants of Behaviorism:

1. Learning results in a change in behavior,
2. Behavior is shaped by the environment, not by the learner,
3. Stimulus and Response are key components.

Three educational theorists provide helpful contributions to this theory. Edward Thorndike developed three laws of learning, which include:

• the Law of Effect (Learners remember responses which trigger positive reinforcement)
• the Law of Exercise (Repetition of meaningful connections improves memory)
• the Law of Readiness (Learning is improved when people are prepared to make meaningful connections, and hindered when they are not)

The second theorist is Ivan Pavlov, who added

• Reinforcement (Strengthening a desired response through repetition)
• Conditioned Stimulus (A Stimulus that triggers a conditioned response)
• Extinction (The elimination of an undesired behavior)

The third theorist was B.F. Skinner who contributed the concept of Operant Conditioning, which is the concept of reinforcing desired behavior, and ignoring undesired behavior.


Behaviorism focuses on a measurable, observable performance as the result of instruction. It typically can be seen in a three-part cycle, which includes Stimulus, Response, and Feedback, where the learner is simply responding to stimulus.

As an example, one could train children to observe traffic light laws by playing the classic game “Red Light, Green Light.” In the game, the instructor stands in the front of the room, while the remaining stand on the other side. The instructor will say “Green Light.” At that point, the children begin walking toward the front of the room. When the instructor says “Red Light”, the children stop in place. If anyone moves after the instructor has called out “Red Light”, they have to go back to the back of the room and start over. Whoever makes it to the front of the room first wins the game. The Stimulus being the words “Red Light”, or “Green Light”, the response being to stop, or move forward, and the feedback being they may continue (Positive reinforcement), or they have to start over (Negative reinforcement).

Instructors Role

The Instructors role is to determine a starting point, based on the learner’s prior knowledge, and then plan out the learning environment by arranging the stimulus and consequences to the learners correct, or incorrect responses. To do this, the instructor must decide which stimuli will be effective in eliciting the desired responses. The instructor must then give the learners the opportunity to practice correct responses (Reinforcement). The instructor must also be sure to put the learners in a similar environment to what they will be working in, to ensure knowledge transfer.

When to use

Behaviorism is best used when the presenting new knowledge and skills which will result in an observable behavioral change. A modern example would be using a flight simulator to train pilots. Through the simulator, you offer various stimuli (rough weather conditions), the learners respond by taking the appropriate actions (the desired observable/measurable behavior), and then receive consequences, either positive or negative depending on whether or not their response was correct. What you are looking for is rapid reflex. Another example is basic training in the military. Soldiers are taught to react to stimuli without hesitation, this is behaviorist training.

Because the learner is simply responding to stimuli, behaviorism does not promote problem solving or innovative skills in the same way a Cognitivist, or Constructivist approach would. With Behaviorism, you are simply seeking a change in the learner’s behavior.


Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50-72.

Merriam, S.B., Caffarella, R.S., & Baumgartner, L.M. (2007). Chapter 11: Traditional Learning Theories. In Learning in Adulthood: A comprehensive Guide (pp. 278 – 280). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Making a Graduate School Decision

Choosing a Graduate School is never an easy task; especially if you don’t have immediate access to people that have done it before. With that in mind, I set my own guidelines and search schedule. Here’s what I did:

Step 1: Define exactly what you would like to get out of graduate school and set Minimum Criteria.

Step 2: Search for all of the schools that meet your minimum criteria.

Step 3: Evaluate Programs based on your Criteria, Weed out schools that do not meet minimum criteria.

Step 4: Extensively research all remaining programs and narrow list to top five.

Step 5: Get comparable course syllabus from each school, Interview instructors and former students. Narrow down list as much as possible.

Step 6: Apply to all remaining schools, Take GRE if necessary.

Step 7: After getting Acceptance Letters, do some serious soul searching and make a final decision

Okay, this was the process I laid out in advance of my search. So here’s how it worked out for me.

Step 1: Define exactly what you would like to get out of graduate school and set Minimum Criteria.

My Criteria

(1) My top criteria was that the degree MUST be viewed as valuable by top industry managers
(2) Degree must be related to using Technology in Training
(3) School must be within commuting distance, OR have an excellent Online Program
(4) Program must give me the opportunity to be noticed
(5) Program must be challenging
(6) Program must be affordable
(7) Instructors should be published, and well known in the industry
(8) Instructors make time to coach and mentor students if they seek it out
(9) Support Staff should be friendly, timely and helpful
(10) I’m a HUGE College Football fan. It would be icing on the cake if I went to a school that had a football team I would enjoy following

Step 2: Search for all of the schools that meet your minimum criteria.

With my criteria in place, I came up with a list of about twenty schools. I’m not going to list them all here. See Step 3 for a portion of my list.

Step 3: Evaluate Programs based on your Criteria, Weed out schools that do not meet minimum criteria.

After applying my criteria, the remaining schools were:

University of Missouri – Columbia
Florida State University
University of Georgia
University of Illinois
Indiana University
Penn State
San Diego State University
Boise State University
Bloomsburg University
Colorado State University - Denver
University of Central Florida
University of Texas
University of Massachusetts – Boston

Step 4: Extensively research all remaining programs and narrow list to top five.

Now that I had a smaller list of schools, I began to research each program. I looked at each of their websites extensively. One of the things that stood out to me was each schools website design. I noticed that some schools have a single web page or two to describe their program, while other schools have entire websites. Also, Dreamweaver is typically a tool used to create eLearning, so it surprised me a little bit to see how plain some of these websites were. First impressions are very important!

Anyway, at this point I began to read the faculty webpage’s at each school to see what they had been up to. Some of them I had heard of before, like Allison Rossett at SDSU, and Karl Kapp at Bloomsburg University. I also knew that Florida State was the origin of Instructional Systems Design. Some other things stood out to me… Some schools emphasized the use of technology; others emphasized Learning Theory, which would be assisted by technology.

One other thing I noticed, some of the schools were willing to put up students work. San Diego State probably has the best website overall.

Here’s what else I noticed… Some of the programs had both Synchronous and Asynchronous training. Some had traditional course layouts, while others used COHORTS.

By the time I finished my list it looked like this:

San Diego State
Indiana University
Bloomsburg University
Florida State
University of Illinois
University of Missouri – Columbia
Boise State University

Okay, that’s more than five, but I was making progress.

Step 5: Get comparable course syllabus from each school, Interview instructors and former students. Narrow down list as much as possible.

For a comparison, I decided to look at each schools basic Adult Learning Theory course Syllabus. I also set up an appointment to speak with instructors at each school, to get an idea of how they would go about teaching a course, and what the average student could expect at their school. Then I made my next cut:

U of I
Boise State

I cut out Florida State specifically because of the cost of attendance. I really didn’t want to go too far into debt obtaining my Masters Degree.

The University of Missouri was hard to cut from my list. I would have gone to school there if they had some form of on-campus courses, but they didn’t. When I compared their online program to the others, it didn’t seem as involved.

Step 6: Apply to all remaining schools, Take GRE if necessary.

Next Step… GRE… My scores were high enough to enroll at all of the schools on my list, so I did.

Step 7: After getting Acceptance Letters, do some serious soul searching and make a final decision.

Much to my surprise, I was accepted by all of the schools on my list. I wasn’t expecting to be accepted at every school because of low class sizes. This made my final decision that much harder. For this, I got some help from my Corporate Mentor, Adam. Adam advised me that if I wasn’t set on studying the “How To” of educational technology, that perhaps it would be more strategically advantageous for me to study training on a more broad/strategic level. That left one school on my list… Boise State University. Here’s where the others Stood:

SDSU – Educational Technology (EDTECH) - (Focus is more on development than strategy)
IU – EDTECH – (Same)
Bloomsburg – EDTECH – (Same)
U of I – Human Resources Development (My long-term career goal is to get into Learning and Development, however, without HR experience I didn’t feel that this degree would be helpful to me)

Despite the advice from Adam, my decision was still hard, and here’s why. Boise State is completely Asynchronous, and I personally would have liked to take courses where I could verbally interact with other students and the instructors. Schools that met these criteria were U of I, IU, and SDSU. The courses are laid out in a traditional format, where I was more interested in belonging to a COHORT. The only school left on my list that used COHORTS was U of I (Colorado State has an impressive COHORT program, but they were not on my final list for other reasons).

Boise State offers a Masters Degree in Instructional and Performance Technology. To make a long story short, it focuses less on the actual development of eLearning, or of an LMS, and more on figuring out how to improve performance on an individual and organizational level using Scientific Methods. Boise State has a very close relationship with the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), in which they have students publish their projects monthly in an article called Performance Express. Their students also do annual presentations at ISPI.

Here’s something else I liked about the program that you just can’t put a price on… People at Boise just seem to have a drive to excel. They are very determined to maintain and improve upon their programs status, which is very obvious after speaking with them. They are constantly evaluating what’s happening in the world of training, and re-working their program to ensure that graduates have the skills companies are looking for. That was the most appealing to me. In the end, I felt like that drive was a match for my personality type, and it made me feel really good about my choice.

Going forward, I begin Graduate School this week. I plan to use this blog as a way to take notes for my courses. That means I will probably post more than once per week, and the topics will be centered on what I am learning at the time in school. However, I still plan to discuss challenges related to do-it-yourself trainers.

Monday, January 11, 2010

eLearning Audio: An overview From Start To Finish

In this week’s blog, I will discuss my audio process from scripting to editing. To be clear about how this process works for me, I will divide it into three sections. First, I will discuss my script process, second will be audio recording, and finally, audio editing.

For me, Audio in eLearning is part science, and part art, much like the graphic design process. From what I have gathered, most do-it-all eLearning professionals handle audio in one of two ways. The first way is to create your module, then record the Audio and then just plug it in. The second way is to record the audio first, and then create the module to match the audio. By the way, these separate methods are most prevalent with Screencasts. For the most part, I personally develop the module and then work on the Audio; however, if I need to create a quick screencast of something, I will do it the other way. The reason why I do it this way is because I typically find things to add to the script as I am creating the modules… Things my SME’s usually don’t think to talk about. I can ask them to be as detailed as possible, but sometimes when people are really good at something, they forget about the basics.

Anyway, the first part of the scripting process is to gather information from your SME’s. What information should be discussed? Are there any terms or processes that should be defined? During this process you should lay out every step in a logical order, and make sure the SME agrees. Once that’s finished, it’s time to begin writing the script. The first thing is to lay everything out in order, as approved by your SME’s. Start writing out steps in paragraph form… don’t worry about it being perfect at this point, just get something down. Continue this process until the entire script is in rough draft format. Next, have the SME’s look over it and make sure everything is accurate. After that, I will read the script over again and re-write areas into conversational English. This process usually takes a while because choosing the correct wording can be tricky at times. Once this is complete, I hand off the script to our department’s technical writer for grammar editing. At this point, it always gets interesting as there’s a push and pull between keeping things short, and keeping the conversation fluid. Once the script is ironed out, there’s one last stop before recording, and that is to the Narrator. Because I want the script to sound as natural as possible, I give him freedom to change the script, as long as it doesn’t change the meaning of the sentence.

With the script finished, it’s time for audio recording. With a No-Budget situation, I have to resort to free software, and personal equipment. As a Listed in my “Trainers Toolbox”, I am using Audacity as my recording software, and my own personal Rhode VideoMic to record the audio. I’ve had to learn the basics of audio engineering just to get a tolerable voice recording. The first thing I learned was that the better audio you can get going in, the better the end results. What that means is that if you have a bad microphone, record in a noisy area, or an area without something to absorb sound, or have a bad connection to your computer, at this level there’s not much you can do to make a good recording. With that in mind, I record in one of our training rooms, it has a fabric-covered retracting wall between it and the next room. This helps to keep the audio waves from bouncing all over the place when my narrator talks. The problem with reflective surfaces is that when you speak, the sound waves go forward, bounce off the reflective surface, and then return to the microphone… So essentially the microphone is picking up every word you say AT LEAST twice… probably more. There are a few things that can be done cheaply to combat this. There are a number of blogs out there with instructions on creating a mini-sound booth which only houses the microphone. Perhaps I will cover cheap alternatives in a future blog.

When I’m recording, the first thing I do is make sure my narrator has plenty of water, and the doors are locked to minimize interruptions. I then print out a copy of the script for each of us (if he hasn’t already printed one for himself. Next I set up the microphone away from the laptop. I found that when my laptop is close to the microphone, it creates some kind of frequency interference, and it picks up the laptop vibrations as well. From there I do an audio check to set up the recording levels. Audacity has an audio input meter that shows when sound volume is peaking. So I will have our narrator read the first paragraph, while I adjust the input levels. Once that’s set, we are good to begin.

The recording process can be a little tedious depending on what he is having to read. We typically record straight through until we hear something that needs to be re-recorded. Sometimes we get through whole paragraphs, other times it’s sentence by sentence. It was a real slow process at first, but after a while, my narrator began to pick up on when I would ask him to do things again, and just did it on his own. That really cut back the amount of time it took to do a recording. As a general rule, we leave a little bit of space between a bad take and a re-take to help me in the audio editing process. Sometimes we end up re-writing parts of the script during recording, if we feel like we can make it a little more fluid. That being said, we can usually lay down a ten minute script in about an hour to two hours. When we first started, this took about thirty minutes… because we were much less picky with what we considered “good” and “bad” audio.

Once I have the audio file, it’s time to edit. The first thing I do is save an original copy of the entire take. From a copy of the original, I first adjust the audio levels to about – 6 decibels, and then run an equalization filter to raise the base and mid-tones in his voice to a decent level. Once that’s finished, I save, and begin cutting and pasting the audio until it matches my script. When everything sounds good, I go back and drop in any into and outro music and save again. Finally, I export the audio as a WAV file. This is just a quick overview, but hopefully it gives you a good idea of my audio processes. As I improve in this field, I hope to post more about this topic.

Next week I begin Graduate School at Boise State University, studying Instructional and Performance Technology. I’m hoping to discuss some of the things I learn from there in the future. In the mean time, next week I will discuss my graduate school search, and why I picked Boise State University over a few others.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Training Graphics - Theory and Software

There’s a lot to be said about the role of visuals in training. Now, we are all familiar with the four primary senses used in training. But just in case, the “Accelerated Learning Handbook” by Dave Meier lists them as: “Somatic – Learning by moving and doing, Auditory – Learning by talking and hearing, Visual – Learning by observing and picturing, and Intellectual – learning by problem solving and reflecting.” (p. 42)
Regardless of whether you are creating graphics for a face-to-face presentation, or for some type of computer-based training, it’s important for the graphic to accurately represent the concept you are trying to present. If this rule is violated, as it often is, you may actually be hindering the learning process. Also, I see a lot of people use graphics just to fill in space, or because they look “neat”. This may also be violating my #1 rule of graphics… Everything MUST have a purpose. If it doesn’t, don’t use it!
Now, I’ve only been developing e-learning for a year now, so I realize I have a lot to learn on this topic… Especially being self taught. However, I’ve picked up some really good information on this topic and recommend the following books if you are a beginner:

Graphics for Learning by Clark and Lyons
Design Elements: A Graphic Style Manual by Samara
Title Design Essentials for Film and Video by Plummer
Beyond Words: A Guide to Drawing out Ideas by Sonneman
Mapping Inner Space: Learning and Teaching Visual Mapping by Margulies

These are my favorite graphics related titles in my training library, and should give anyone a solid foundation in training-related graphic design theory. Deciding the graphic to create, to me, is the hard part. “Graphics for Learning” by Clark and Lyons presents this decision as a two sided coin in that graphics should fall under two areas: Communication Functions, and Psychological Functions. I don’t want to go too deep into this topic today, check out this book, it’s great! Something I do to help with ideas is to Google image search the words “flow chart”, and “Process.” Try it out!
Once you have an idea about which graphic to create, it’s time to start prototyping. I usually do this in either PowerPoint, or Word. It usually looks nothing like what the final version would, but it will give me a chance to test out interpretation and functionality. Since I’m not working in a team, I usually e-mail it out to random co-workers and see what they think, and ask for feedback. This ties into my last post as to where some of my challenges occur. Here’s some advice: create a form for your testers to fill out. Be specific with your questions (especially if it will be an interactive design). General or vague questions will get general and vague responses. Try not to tell them anything about it’s purpose. You need to get honest feedback from them, as someone looking at the graphic for the first time. If you tell them about the graphic before they look at it, it will influence their interpretation. This where you get the common saying “Garbage In, Garbage out.” Their feedback becomes worthless, and could give you a false sense of confidence as to its true effectiveness. After you receive feedback, make adjustments and then repeat the feedback process until you are satisfied with the results. Also, use new people every time if you can.
After the prototyping phase is complete, it’s time to refine the project. This is where you can use some type of image-editing software. I personally use The Gimp ( It’s free, and works much like Photoshop. I’ll tell you now that if you’ve never used image-editing software before, there will be a learning curve. To help with that, The Gimp has a large library of tutorials.
In training, we are usually dealing with some type of flow chart, or diagram. I try to visualize the image in layers. I’ve noticed that most of the time there’s some type of darker background layer with a lighter, slightly smaller layer laid on top of it. Create the background first and then slowly add layers on top of it. Learn which colors look good together. If you don’t know (I’m still learning myself), the best advice I’ve been given is to look around at websites that have “the look” you want. I still do this for almost every graphic. Something else to consider is the typography (Text type, style, etc.) you will use. It’s nice to create text in The Gimp because you can put in dropshadows that set the text out from the image. In The Gimp, you can also create text along a path if you need to curve it, as well as a ton of other features.
Once the graphic is created, do yourself a favor and save a multi-layer copy in case you need to makes edits. In The Gimp, you’ll need to save it as a .XCF file. THEN you can merge the layers together and save it as a .TIFF or .PNG file. I usually save images in this format because they are lossless. With JPEG files, every time you open the file, the image loses a little bit of its clarity (in laymen’s terms).

Ok, that’s it for today. Next time: Audio Recording and Editing.

Works Cited:

Meier, Dave. (2000). The Accelerated Learning Handbook. New York: McGraw Hill.

Clark, Ruth & Chopeta Lyons. (2004). Graphics for Learning: Proven Guidelines for Planning, Designing, and Evaluating Visuals in Training Materials. New York: Pfeiffer.