A subject matter expert, or SME, plays a critical role in the instructional design process. The SME is an expert in a particular content area, often with an advanced degree in this subject. Individuals from a variety of professions can be SMEs, ranging from elementary educators to biologists in the field. During the curriculum development process, a SME may: Collaborate with the development team Add substance to outlines and storyboards Ensure that content is accurate Answer questions that arise about the content area The Instructional Design Process The SME and the instructional designer begin their collaboration early on by determining the needs of the learner and the learner’s characteristics. The SME and instructional designer create a list of characteristics that a learner in their class may have. The SME then works with a writer to create a course description. Then the instructional designer suggests a sequencing of the class. The SME approves the sequencing. Once the instructional designer creates objectives for the course, the SME evaluates the objectives based on the content and makes sure that [...]
The Worst Fake News Story in Education Ever: Those Who Can’t Do, Teach Any professional associated with education knows that teachers not only can do but must do much more than teach. Do some of these roles sound familiar? Conflict resolution specialist Data analyst Administrative professional Diplomat MC/Entertainer Communications manager And we haven’t even discussed content or curriculum development yet. In a 2014 study, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that teachers spend less than half of their time in school actually instructing students. Some of those non-teaching moments are unavoidable and necessary. But according to the same study, the second largest use of time by teachers is individual planning and preparation of lessons. What if we could reduce that time? What could teachers accomplish with those extra hours? Is it even possible to reduce prep time? It is--if educators take the leap and decide to outsource some content creation. We’re not talking about finding some faceless Internet vendor whose only experience with a classroom has been as a student. There are writers out [...]
Today’s headlines seem to focus on everything that’s wrong with education. “American Schools vs. the World: Expensive, Unequal, Bad at Math”–The Atlantic “Wake-Up Call: U.S. Students Trail Global Leaders”–nbcnews.com “Obama Administration Spent Billions to Fix Failing Schools, and It Didn’t Work”–The Washington Post The list of objectives for educators at all levels seems to have no end: increasing access to high-quality education closing achievement gaps raising graduation rates preparing students to excel in a globalized economy keeping pace with rapid educational reform Creating new educational content to enhance choice, keep students engaged, and measure growth is vital. But if they are continuously asked to do more with less, how can educators keep pace? One answer is, simply, with help. Professional educational content writers use their expertise to develop tools that any superintendent, curriculum manager, and content developer can use. The objective is to facilitate educators in reaching their goals. And it’s those in the field who have had experience with successful students that know how to help students succeed. These writers can develop courses, curricula, and [...]
It is impossible to be completely objective. Creating bias free content is challenging. Our experiences and beliefs create a lens through which we view the world. This lens can subconsciously create biases. A bias occurs when we favor one thing or one person over another for unfair reasons. When we create content for education, the material will be in the hands of learners. It is important during copyediting to be able to identify a bias and remove it. When educational content is written with biases, a learner is given an unfair advantage. We need to make the content inclusive for all learners. Below are several best practices to help you create bias free content. Cultural Diversity The inclusion of diversity in the language we use is critical. Text for students should use a variety of names from different cultural backgrounds such as Juan or Li. It is empowering for minority students to see their background represented in educational materials. When looking through your content, track the names and cultural practices that are written and detect if [...]
Effective curriculum goals and objectives should have two major outcomes. First, students should acquire the same knowledge from the same courses, regardless of teacher. Second, the students should finish a course ready to move on to the next course, year, or life stage. These goals and objectives aim to standardize learning objectives for all students and simplify outcomes for teachers. That said, constructing straightforward, achievable goals and objectives can be a lofty task. Here, we will discuss these processes so that you can more simply focus on constructing a holistic curriculum that benefits all parties. Curriculum Goals Curriculum goals are general, broad statements that lead towards long-term outcomes. These goals are typically designed to be met by students after a longer period of time such as a year of schooling or a series of courses in a discipline. Specifically, goals are always farther-reaching than objectives, and as such are usually based on the idea that they lead students towards being better able to be productive members of their societies. Here are some ideas to consider when [...]
The curriculum design process takes information from a subject matter expert and, through much iteration, creates instruction. But how does information from an expert get translated into educational content that is effective for learners? It goes through four steps of design. In each step are important team members including project managers, instructional designers, writers, copy editors, and subject matter experts. The team works together to create effective content. Let’s have a look at the four steps in the curriculum design process. Gathering Information The first step of the design process involves planning and determining who the learner is and what they need to get out of the material. The team begins by initially identifying what the scope is. This involves asking questions like: Who will take the course? What does the learner already know? What is their attitude towards the subject? Instructional designers then work with the subject matter expert and obtain the necessary information by asking many questions. With information in hand and a clear idea of the audience, the team moves on to the [...]
“Good morning, class! Today, we’re going to study the literature of the ancient Mayan civilization and examine how it shaped their economy, understanding of the natural world, and language. At the end of the lesson, you’ll be assessed based upon your ability to calculate the total increase, in square miles, by which their empire grew during the height of their literary period and apply this knowledge to civil engineering in our own community. Is everyone ready?” If the scenario above reminds you of the last interdisciplinary lesson plan you read (or wrote), you’re not alone! With more districts around the country moving toward the interdisciplinary approach, there’s a good chance it’s at least on your radar. Imagine, for a moment, the reactions of the students presented with this lesson. Or, the disbelief of an administrator preparing to observe it. To round out the ELA/math/science/social studies lesson, the students in the scenario are going to show what they know in a performance-based assessment (PBA). Another hot topic in the education world, these assessments allow for a deeper [...]
Three ways to think about the relationship between Higher Education Course and the academic programs to which they belong.