With the advance of technology, students and educators have options outside of the traditional classroom experience. Online learning, or eLearning, is a fresh educational setting that provides more opportunities for engagement and sets the stage for an inviting learning experience. Interactive assessments through eLearning are also transforming the way learners and educators exchange information. An effective online course ensures that varied learning styles are considered so that the learner remains engaged enough to complete the course. Since there is usually no instructor to guide the day-to-day activity, both the content and the related assessments must be engaging. Interactive assessments are assessments that involve interaction on part of the learner. This can be as simple as an immediate response that displays “Correct!” or “Good Job,” but the most effective interactive assessments require the learner to participate in the learning process. When this is done effectively, learners not only engage in the processing of content but are able to test their knowledge of the content almost simultaneously. Examples of interactive assessments in eLearning include the following: Drag and [...]
Why is it important to use Instructional Designers (IDs)? The curriculum development process involves many moving parts that work to create material that compels the learner. This process includes a team of graphic designers, web developers, writers, copy editors and instructional designers. The instructional designer (ID) plays an important role in the curriculum development process. An ID is an expert in the learning process and advocates on behalf of the learner throughout the curriculum development process. The ID’s role To get a better understanding of what an ID does, let’s look at tasks they complete in the curriculum development process. An ID: Conducts a needs assessment to determine what the learner needs to know and what gap of knowledge exists. Identifies the learning environment and existing equipment available for the learners. Asks questions such as: Do the learners have access to Microsoft Word? Do the learners view the material on their phones or on a laptop? Works with a subject matter expert to collect information based on the needs of the learner. Writes learning objectives with [...]
The instructional design process takes information from a subject matter expert and transforms it into curriculum with measurable results. An effective instructional designer (ID) creates dynamic instruction that meets the diverse needs of specific learner groups. IDs who create engaging curriculum share similar characteristics. Below are the top five characteristics you can expect to find in effective IDs. Knowledge of learning theories An effective ID is knowledgeable of learning theories and employs those theories to meet the course objectives. This knowledge helps to make the appropriate design decisions. The ID stays on top of current research and communicates the importance of this research to the team. Download the Brief: 4 Critical Questions to Ask Instructional Designers Advocate for the learner Each individual learner group has its own needs and will take different approaches to the course material. In the analysis phase, the ID identifies the specific needs of the learner group to create a learner profile. The learner profile is used throughout the development process. The ID then gathers the information from the subject [...]
The curriculum development 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 development process. 1. Gathering Information The first step of the curriculum development 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. Some examples of questions to ask at this stage are: 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 [...]
Let’s think about verbs. Regardless of your level of interest in sentence structure, the word verb most likely brought one thing to mind: action. The physical act of doing something. Now, what verb in the following standard do you consider most significant? Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the Sun and the force of gravity. If you picked develop, congratulations! That’s what the middle-school science student has to do in this case: create something to describe something else. Both the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards are all about action, regardless of the age of the student. So, how does a student develop a model on a traditional multiple-choice assessment? Hmmm… Chances are, this question made you pause a bit and think about it. Can a model be made by choosing A, B, C, or D? Kind of. You can definitely complete a model by selecting the correct answer. You can troubleshoot a model’s design in a similar way. But the actual [...]
“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 [...]
The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. To give students an education they can be proud of—and one that will help them thrive in the career of their choice—higher education institutions have a responsibility to stay current and marketable. One way the academy can accomplish this feat is to offer new degree programs that help them expand their reach and demonstrate their relevance in an already saturated educational market. While program development can be an exciting adventure, it can also be overwhelming and a somewhat daunting and arduous undertaking. Whether an academic institution seeks to introduce a new discipline or make significant changes to an existing discipline, there are some key principles to keep in mind in the development of a degree program. To ensure success of the new program, things such as program viability, fit within an existing program, available resources, administrative support, financial stability, clear academic vision and mission, and [...]
Use these three steps to encourage learning outside the box.