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Hitting the Mark with Quality Course Design

Hitting the Mark with Quality Course Design

Foundations in quality revolve around targeting the right outcomes, assessing whether outcomes have been met, and adjusting the next steps for improvement.

Students today have vastly different ways of approaching information. A traditional instructor-centered approach, where content is disseminated in a top-down fashion, focuses heavily on giving information and has historically been easier to adapt to the online environment. Instead of continually molding individuals into sequential learners, performance-based instructional designers employ an approach where:

  • Learning is competency-based
  • Learning styles are considered
  • Learning modules promote metacognition and the student’s internal process for monitoring learning
  • Practice is built-in prior to assessment, so students can make adjustments
  • Courses support achievement of program level outcomes

A performance-based approach to learning and assessment emphasizes high level cognitive performance rather than regurgitation of facts and information. Careful instructional design, based on what we know about how people learn, provides an important map that guides students toward successful completion of a learning experience.

Key Components of Quality Design

  • What will the student be able to do as a result of this course or program?
  • When will you know a student has achieved mastery of an outcome?
  • How will students learn the skills and knowledge?

The benefit of a systematic approach is that learning is quantified by standards of performance, typically expressed using a performance rubric or checklist. In combination with traditional testing methods, complex performances can be documented and analyzed. Such authentic assessment promotes application of skills and continuous improvement,  as instructors can more accurately pinpoint areas where students need assistance.

Based on principles of performance-based learning, the WIDS Solution features a fully relational database to organize and manage instructional components. The database links related curricular objects and allows users to rapidly produce top quality curriculum and move all components through an approval and archiving process.

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