The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
Since the advent of the Web, demands for online curriculum development have continued to increase. Teachers and curriculum developers are encountering both unprecedented opportunities and challenges in developing effective curricula.. Kearsley (2000) notes that some issues in creating high-quality online curricula are really no different from those found in the development of traditional instructional materials, i.e. creativity, ambition, self-discipline, and teamwork, there are distinct and important differences. The differences lie in the opportunities inherent in a technological world that seems to change exponentially, along with network technology itself, hypertext structure, and digital multimedia techniques. Each of these advances allows us to design more flexible, motivational, and effective curricula. But developing Web-based curricula and courses is a complicated and time-consuming process, and requires a team approach. And the greatest challenge facing curriculum designers is often re-thinking and adapting traditional curriculum development models.
Any Courseware Development involves
- Content Planning ( Curriculum for the Course)
- Presentation Planning
- Evaluation and Delivery Mechanism
Tyler's (1949) model
This model suggests four basic principles for curriculum development, including:
- Purpose(s) of the school,
- Educational experiences related to purposes,
- Organization of experiences, and
- Evaluation of purposes.
Taba's Model (1962)
This model proposed a more complex model that builds on Tyler's view of effective curriculum development and includes the following stages:
- Define target students and their needs.
- Identify instructional objectives.
- Select the scope of subject content.
- Organize sequence and structure.
- Select presentation methods and media.
- Design assessment activities.
- Implement formative evaluation.
Web-based Learning Model
| 1.Define target students and their needs
Defining target students and their needs is much more difficult for Web-based distance learning than for formal classroom settings. Kearsley (2000) argues that the design of an online curriculum should start with a careful analysis of the students, not only to identify what they have already learned, i.e. their cognitive, affective, and psychomotor skill levels, as traditional curriculum designers do, but also to understand the nature of their computing capabilities and learning environment. an understanding and appreciation for distant students' lifestyles, because often students' realms of experience, living conditions, and cultures are foreign to the instructor and other class participants.
| 2.Identify instructional objectives
Jones (1997) notes, since the nature of the Internet promotes equal participation of all users, it nourishes a ' participatory democracy'. If we agree that this result of Internet use is a positive one, we need to reconsider the authorship of the curriculum: shifting authority from teacher to student may further advance such democratic ideals and practices.
French et al. (1999) contend that the figure of ' teacher' has traditionally been regarded as the ' sage on the stage', the individual who primarily determines the instructional objectives and provides most of the learning materials. However, in an Internet-based learning environment, the teacher is depicted more often as a ' guide on the side'. But both the teacher and learner are simultaneously ' guides' and ' sages' because they become continual learners and peer teachers who adapt rapidly to set learning objectives in light of changing information. French et al. (1999) also consider that Web-based learning is suitable for self-directed learning in which students have more choice of, or control over, not only their learning time and pace but also the objectives or learning outcomes.
Relan and Gillani (1997) explore the differences between traditional instruction and Web-based instruction. They found that in the student-centred Web-based curriculum the relative amount of time that students talk is equal to or greater than the amount of time that teachers talk. Students also help to choose the content to be organized and learned.
As a result, Web-based curriculum designers and instructors must determine how to include students, especially adult students of non-traditional age and students undergoing on-the-job-training, in the process of identifying instructional objectives and in balancing both teachers' and students' authorship in developing Web-based curricula. For example, a forum for both instructors and students to discuss course direction and progress may shape instructional objectives as the course progresses. A distinct, identifiable area in the Web curriculum can be allocated in which students contribute their learning materials (such as links to related Web sites and news groups); teachers can then screen students' contributions to determine which materials are suitable for the curriculum and course.
| 3.Select the scope of subject content
The Web is basically a hypertext system; Landow (1997) argues that hypertext is a fundamentally intertextual system, open, non-fixed, and boundless rather than closed, fixed, and bounded. The intertextual nature of hypertext makes it very different from page-bound text. Landow (1997) further suggests that when we produce and process hypertext, we abandon the concepts of centre, margin, hierarchy, and linearity upon which traditional text is based to replace them with concepts of multilinearity, nodes, links, and networks, all of which are hallmarks of hypertext.
Teachers and designers must determine how to develop Web curricula that are open, non-fixed, and boundless and how to link Web resources in such a way that curriculum content is enriched, and students' attention is both captured and maintained.
When teachers and designers try to enrich their curricula by tapping the unlimited hypertextual information on the Internet, they ought to review and screen a large amount of information from many Web sites and make links in appropriate places during the ' course'. At the same time, Draves (2000) points to the necessity of providing some kind of guidance for students regarding these links. The simplest way is to divide those links into three teacher-assigned categories: ' Critical' (must read), 'Important' (should read), and 'Nice' (could read). By doing so, individual students can determine when to read which linked materials, and when, depending on their schedules and learning paces.
In Chou and Lin's (1998) study such guidance became a form of 'knowledge map', which was empirically evaluated. The study found that the map-type had a significant effect on students' processes in searching for particular pieces of information in a Web-based courseware, as well as their success in retrieving that information. Further, the map-type was a significant factor in their development of cognitive maps within the course structure. This study demonstrated that providing students with a global map, in which the entire hierarchical knowledge structure for the course is provided by means of a list of the concept names of all hypertext nodes, enabled them to more efficiently and effectively search for, locate, and learn from curriculum content.
| 4.Organize sequence and structure
Unlike traditional linear text, hypertext organizes information in sets of informational units connected by means of associative links (Conklin 1987). For Landow (1997) hypertext also denotes text composed of blocks of text and the electronic links that join them. The concept of hypermedia simply extends the notion of the text in hypertext by including visual information, sound, animation, and other forms of information.
Hypertext grants learners maximum freedom to navigate through hyperspace in a non-linear fashion -- they can select, search, and browse in an infinite number of sequential, and often recursive patterns. Teachers and designers therefore must determine how to organize Web-curriculum sequences that best fit students' prior knowledge and skills, but at the same time allow some degree of structural flexibility for individual navigation. Curriculum designers must also determine how to provide guidance so that students will not get lost in the Web curriculum.
When authoring learning materials in hypertext format, Woodhead (1991) suggests three basic rhetorical techniques: gradual disclosure, i.e. a smooth progression into finer, richer, more specific levels of detail; foreshadowing, i.e. giving repeated references to forthcoming items to guide audience needs; and recapitulation, i.e. prior topics are repeated for emphasis or to allow the audience to draw themes together. Beer (2000) also offers some guidelines for organizing Web learning content, including providing a site overview, using consistent vocabulary across the whole learning site, explaining the content architecture, and using hyperlinks sparingly and carefully. Chou and Sun (1996) have suggested providing 'next' buttons at the end of each instructional node to indicate the designer's recommendation for the next node to visit. The 'prerequisites' for moves can also be set in a Web-curriculum, that is, students have to read one node before they jump to other, related nodes.
Chou (1999) suggested adopting elaboration theory to organize hypertext-based curricula. The approach suggests, first, analyzing content and selecting a few most fundamental concepts for presenting in the epitome node, and then linking each concept to its subordinate concept(s). In each subordinate-concept node, another epitome is provided describing the lower-level subordinate concepts. Information is thus fragmented in the nested nodes of a hypertext curriculum. This approach was empirically and formatively evaluated to establish its effectiveness.
Draves (2000) also offers some operational guidelines for Web curriculum designers. First, the curriculum can be divided up into 5 to 10 modules. Modules should lead somewhere -- horizontally to the next module and/or vertically to a more intensive, advanced or detailed set of modules. Modules should also be able to stand-alone. In this way, the combination of individual modules can be systematically organized and interrelated.
| 5.Select presentation methods and media
The Web is a multimedia system that incorporates text, graphics, audio, animation, and video and the Web provides teachers with more choices of presentation methods than are usual in traditional curricula. Indeed, the growing use of Internet technologies opens new possibilities that move well beyond the provision of more sophisticated delivery tools. In a study by Chou et al. (2001) a combined presentation in Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) and Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) was designed to demonstrate the human digestive system for university students who were not majoring in health or science. Three-dimensional graphics written in VRML allowed students to not only view the digestive system from any direction, but to enter the digestive organs themselves using navigation tools provided by VRML browsers. In addition, text and/or 2-D graphics were organized in HTML in order to offer detailed health science information.
Kearsley (2000) argues that most online curricular materials would benefit from graphics in the form of illustrations, diagrams, icons, and backgrounds. Teachers or designers, however, may not have the graphic skills and knowledge of graphics software to incorporate these elements into their curriculum and courses. Moreover, some degree of background knowledge, understanding of, and skill in multimedia production are necessary to produce audio and/or video elements in Web-based learning sites.
Similarly, the creation of animations or simulations requires special programming skills and experiences which teachers and designers may not have. Teachers and designers therefore need to be adept at preparing and organizing content-appropriate presentations in a digital multimedia form. If they do not have the necessary knowledge or skills themselves, they need technical support, as Kearsley (2000) suggests, either from others within the institution or from an outside vendor, and should work closely with technical support personnel. But how much should curriculum designers and instructors know about the technology, and what skills ought they to possess to enable them to produce multimedia curricular components? In our opinion and experience, curricula designers must be familiar with the technology (the terms, capability, feasibility, etc.) to the degree that they know what the technology can and cannot do, and to the point that they can communicate their ideas clearly with technical support staff.
| 6.Design assessment activities
As Bugbee (1996) contends, if learning is via a computer, then it is more appropriate to assess it by computer. This assertion is becoming a widely-accepted fact, as Web-based testing becomes more and more popular and available. Beer (2000) considers that the Internet in general and the Web in particular have unique contributions to make to a broader conception of assessment. He provides several new assessment ideas, such as inviting experts to evaluate online individual and collaborative work as well as the content of Web discussions, and argues for connecting assessments to learning resources and the use the Web for individual self-assessment.
In response to such ideas, teachers and designers must be able to grasp the unique requirements and features of Web technology for implementing and maintaining Web-based assessments, and to design effective Web-based tests and assignments that accurately assess students' learning and provide useful data for further curriculum development. Chou (2000) contends that when analyzing the use of a Web-based test, the dimensions of time and location of testing can help developers conceptualize the use of any testing system. Noting whether time and location are specific or fixed, i.e. specific time/fixed location, flexible time/fixed location, specific time/non-fixed location, and flexible time/non-fixed location, testing types and situations can be characterized.
When designing online assignments in particular, Harrison and Bergen (2000) suggest preparing a detailed list of weekly assignments. The list should include the pages to read, questions to be answered and problems to be solved. It should also cover the material for online discussions. This will help to ensure progress in student discussions, and allow students to follow that progress easily.
| 7.Implement formative evaluation
Formative evaluation, a critical step in curriculum development, is the process of gathering information to advise design, production, and implementation decisions (see Flagg 1990). Kearsley (2000) suggests that the biggest problem in developing online curricula may not be their initial creation, but rather subsequent revisions and updating: even if the content of a course does not require much change, many small details, such as links to other sites, need to be continually updated.
Conducting a formative evaluation of Web-based curriculum requires experts in course content, curricula, media, and administration to work together to develop evaluative methodologies that take into account students' and experts' presence at remote sites. Therefore, teachers and designers need to develop methods for conducting formative evaluations within complex, technology-dependent learning environments and curricula, to set up a reasonable work schedule for continual updating and revision, and to work closely with formative evaluation team members.
In Chou (1998), a formative evaluation system was developed especially for Web-based distance learning. The Computer Logging of User Entries (CLUE) system combined computer-logging techniques to collect commentary during users' interactions with the learning materials, and was designed to be used to collect input from large numbers of users working in different remote locations. The inputs are automatically stored, calculated, and then presented in a format that can be easily interpreted by curriculum designers and instructors. Innovative formative evaluation methods and systems such as CLUE system are becoming increasingly necessary in order to ensure that more Web-based learning materials can be effectively evaluated.
| 8.Other concerns on Web-based curriculum and courses development
In addition to the above-mentioned seven major curriculum development stages, other factors relevant to developing Web-based curriculum and courses are also vitally important. The first factor is the degree of completion of a curriculum before the actual deliverery of that curriculum (or course). Many instructional designers do not always have the entire curriculum organized and developed before the school semester begins; rather, they prepare the course material as the semester progresses. However, Harrison and Bergen (2000) suggest that it is far better to have the entire course organized into weekly modules before the students actually come online. They emphasize that, at a minimum, the underlying structure of the modules as well as the first three weeks should be prepared prior to student participation. As mentioned before, a substantial amount of planning and preparation must go into the design of an online curriculum and course (Bergen 2000).
The second major concern is the team approach. Kearsley (2000) claims that the major difference between developing online curricula and traditional curricula (as delivered by textbooks and lecture notes) is the need for a team approach. It is difficult for a single individual to have the range of skills and time required to develop an entire online curriculum or course. Faculty members are usually subject-matter experts and familiar with how the content should be taught, but they typically have little experience developing curricular materials for online learning. An instructional designer, multimedia producer, systems analyst, network programmer, etc. should be invited to work with faculty members to develop various course components in the appropriate formats. Thus Byun et al. (2000) call for the establishment of a 'Web-course developer group'. They suggest that this group meet periodically, either in person or online, to share resources and experiences. A joint effort such as this encourages and offers material resources for those who are involved in online curriculum development, and those who are still curious or anxious about online teaching.
In the Cognitive Design Model, E-Learning is situated within the context of Knowledge Mgt. resources. It provides a "blended learning" solution — that unites traditional classroom training with numerous other delivery formats, such as self-paced Web-based Training, online virtual classroom, simulation, peer-to-peer mentoring, etc. The keynote is "instruction" — meaning not just information presentation, but interactivity, guidance, reinforcement, demonstration and practice that strengthen learning.
The following list is a quick summary of E-Learning modalities currently in use:
E-Learning refers to Web-based training — anywhere, anytime, self-paced instruction — that is presented over the Internet to browser-equipped learners.
"E-Learning is the convergence of learning and the Internet."
(Banc of America Securities)
"E-Learning is content and instructional methods delivered on a computer (whether on CD-ROM, the Internet or an intranet), and designed to build knowledge and skills related to individual or organizational goals."
(Ruth Clark, e-Learning Developers Journal, Sept. 2002)
"E-Learning is the use of network technology to design, deliver, select, administer, and extend learning."
(Elliott Masie, The Masie Center)
"E-Learning is Internet-enabled learning. Components can include content delivery in multiple formats, management of the learning experience, and a networked community of learners, content developers and experts. E-Learning provides faster learning at reduced costs, increased access to learning, and clear accountability for all participants in the learning process. In today's fast-paced culture, organizations that implement e-Learning provide their work force with the ability to turn change into an advantage."
These technologies remove barriers to instructional delivery — overcoming problems of incompatibility and access — and they continue to dramatically increase in power, quality and effectiveness. These important capabilities include:
- Multimedia instruction ("anytime, anywhere" — asynchronous learning)
- Live "virtual classrooms" (synchronous learning)
- Streaming video and audio (new broadband capabilities will enhance the next phase of rich media delivery)
- Internet phone (IP telephony will transform the level of interactivity in virtual classrooms and collaborative learning tasks)
- Instructor resource sharing (instructors are now collaborating and building shared curriculum archive in ways never before possible)
- Enhanced instructor-student and student-student communication
- Global access to learners and instructors.
- Networking, both internet and intranet, establishes a new context for education and training. It redefines the dynamics of the learning community and its resources. So whether one particular learning experience is "online or offline," in cyberspace or in the classroom, the network effect is still present.
- Use of technology to enrich classroom/workplace learning (Internet, CD-ROM,, interactive multimedia, games/simulations, social networks)
- Online instruction for distance learning cost savings (no face-to-face meetings)
- Blended instruction (combining online and face-to-face learning events)
- Synchronous: real-time, multiple students online, instructor-led
- Asynchronous: students and instructor in intermittent interaction
- Instructor-led group work (combining both synchronous and asynchronous events)
- Self-study (online tutorials, research and discovery learning events)
- Self-study with subject matter expert (tutoring, mentoring, coaching)
- Web-based tutorials (individual or group using self-paced online resources)
- Computer-based tutorials (individual or group using CD-ROM resources)
- Video and audio resources (distributed by tape, CD, DVD, online streaming, download, or pod-cast, etc.)
| User Access
|| User Management
|| Learning Services
| Portal, Main Menu, Home Page with unique Login, password, Delivery through Intranet/ Internet/ CDROM
|| User Mangement
|| The LCMS is the Learning Content Management System.The LCMS provides the mechanism for an author to submit content into the repository for subsequent review, editing and final approval.
|| Databases: XML & SQL
|| Infrastructures: Internet & Intranet Servers / HTTP / FTP / SMTP / TCP-IP: This level of infrastructure establishes client-server network and physical hardware, utilizing standard internet technology protocols.
|| Asynchronous(Virtual Classroom with Whiteboards, Chat) or Asynchronous (email, threaded Discussions)
|| The LMS is the Learning Management System. It allows review, course selection, enrollment, student tracking, e-commerce automation, and launching the online content (course-unit-lesson).
|| Event Management ( Calender, Scheduler)
|| Assessment (Test / Score / Evaluation / Surveys)
|| Learning Administration
Evaluation and Delivery Mechanism
The technology infrastructure of E-Learning provides the mechanism for automated course delivery and lesson presentation. Here is a list of the major elements of instruction that are enhanced by this automation.
E-Learning Lesson Presentation
- Self-checks -- questions interspersed within the instruction
- Lesson and module quizzes
- Positive and negative examples
- Mixed media -- text, audio and visual
- Mnemonic devices
- Content chunking -- breaking up the content into manageable and logical topics and lessons as well as individual nuggets of instruction
- Letting learners practice — with feedback
E-Learning Course Delivery
- Tutorial presentation (receptive & directive learning)
- Guided discovery
- Guided and unguided demonstrations
- Simulations and practice
- Exploratory learning
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