The demands of the 21st century have created an interesting tension in the world of education. The growing workforce calls for highly skilled individuals who have been prepared to respond to these demands. This preparation is not always possible in a traditional classroom setting. The students of today need class time devoted almost solely to hands-on, collaborative experiences, leaving little to no time for other necessary types of learning. These demands can be successfully met, however, through blended learning courses. What is Blended Learning? Blended learning is the combination of different learning approaches. This learning environment allows for both online and face-to-face activities, with the latter focusing on the most important concepts and ideas. This setup provides an immense amount of flexibility in many aspects: the how, when, and where students are learning and studying material. A number of schools and programs have already taken the plunge into blended learning. Programs such as biomedical science and biochemistry require more hands-on learning experiences, making them ideal for a primarily face-to-face setting, while the other material can be [...]
Instructional design is the practice of creating digital learning materials that meet student learning needs. In order to create such materials, you need to select an effective model. There are a variety of models available. While the ADDIE model is the most widely used for instructional design, there are several other models of instructional design. Let’s explore some other popular frameworks. ADDIE Because of its ability to facilitate the design process in phases, ADDIE is the most widely used model. Since ADDIE is broken into steps, the designer can follow the process one step at a time and address the client’s specific needs. Analysis: Gather information and determine the expectations of the client Design: Create learning objectives and choose the appropriate mode of delivery Develop: Develop materials based on the expectations and objectives Implement: Release developed material to target students and monitor results Evaluate: Determine the impact of materials through surveys and feedback Merrill’s Principle of Instruction (MPI) MPI focuses on task-based learning. At the onset of lessons, students are provided with the basics. As the [...]
What are soft skills? Different skills are used and developed for different situations. The skills needed for math are different than the skills needed for reading; athletic skills are different still. But what about more subtle skills such as listening and time management? These intangible but essential skills are known as soft skills. Soft skills are a set of skills students need to be successful in the workplace and world at large. Why are soft skills important? These skills are especially valuable for students in high school and higher education. High school students benefit from a well-rounded, differentiated curriculum. Colleges and universities require students to have a grasp on many soft skills, and they are expected in the workplace. Beyond that, students with a firm understanding of soft skills have a greater ability to connect interpersonally. Which skills need to be incorporated? There are a lot of skills that fall under the soft skills umbrella, so which ones should be included in a curriculum? Communication skills, especially active listening, should rank high on any list. These [...]
Here are three ways educators can learn from designers.
Most higher education professionals agree that quality matters when it comes to student learning opportunities. But did you know that quality matters is more than just a casual consideration? Quality Matters is actually an established process that provides educators with a systematic approach to sound course development. In light of this, make sure your courses meet the Quality Matters standards by following these steps. Write Effective Learning Objectives Effective learning objectives are the cornerstone of meeting Quality Matters standards. So what makes an effective learning objective? Learning objectives should be: Clearly written Measurable Coincide with learner prerequisites Create Supportive Activities and Assessments Activities and assessments in your course should directly align with your learning objectives. Make sure that students can clearly see the connection between what they’ll learn, how they’ll learn it, and how that learning will be measured. Choose the Right Instructional Materials and Technology Much like your course’s activities and assessments, the instructional materials and technology you choose should align with the course learning objectives. When all of these elements work together, [...]
They say you get what you pay for. With educational content development, that’s certainly true! But there are many ways to manage projects to keep your budget under control while creating a high-quality product that achieves your educational goals. How Pricing Can Become a Problem Many curriculum development companies have a one-size-fits-all approach to creating educational content. Others are eager to “up-sell” their products, and recommend the most expensive available options. This means you may encounter bids that Offer an inappropriate process, product, or scope of work Hide some costs within large budget lines with names like “content development” Suggest very expensive budget-breaking multimedia options How to Make Pricing Work for You Instructional design is not a commodity, and instructional design companies should not be offering you a “fill-in-the-blanks” product or a pricing structure that doesn’t fit your needs. In fact, top curriculum development companies like A Pass work closely with each client to prepare customized bids. This occurs after in-depth scoping meetings and a detailed review of available resources. Pricing can, and should, be itemized [...]
Any content developer can tell you that having a solid quality assurance (QA) process will ensure deliverables that hit the mark. From our years of developing educational content development, we’ve identified the following five keys to quality assurance. Training Both client-provided and in-house training can ensure that project team members are up to speed on what is required for a specific project. Senior project staff can rally a team’s focus and confirm workflow readiness. Acceptance criteria checklists provide the development team with clear direction and requirements. Calibration Instead of jumping into a large project full-steam, it’s helpful to begin with a small calibration batch to give the development team a chance to get accustomed to the specifications and the client a chance to ensure their requirements are being met. Feedback can be provided and utilized by the development team to hone their understanding and improve quality. QA-Friendly Workflow A development workflow with collaboration and built-in overlapping reviews adds another layer of vital QA. Multiple rounds of review and revision lead to high-quality deliverables. Building adequate cushioning [...]
As content developers, we are often asked the question, “How does the educational content development process work?” If you’re just getting your feet wet in the area of educational content development, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll explain what the process entails and what you need to look out for if you are considering collaboration with a content development provider. What Is a Development Cycle? Let’s begin by defining a development cycle. A development cycle refers to the framework, steps, or tasks comprising the development and creation of a finished product. It’s a lot like building a car in a factory. You follow a series of steps in a predetermined order, with inspections at specific intervals, to deliver a fully functional vehicle. In the context of content creation, the development cycle refers to all those tasks required to create and deliver content. Project Launch So, let’s look at how it all begins. Once a client and vendor have agreed to collaborate, the first question is, “How long does it take to launch a project?” The [...]