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This section of the Guide helps you think through some of the issues in materials development or learning experience development. The key design issues are linked to the same five main questions we have already considered. A range of examples and supporting resources illustrate how educators are attempting to answer the key design questions to create stimulating and supportive learning experiences. Remember that your Course Design (section 2 of this Guide) has an impact of the development of your materials, and you will have to see and map how the materials fit within the bigger picture. 

Question 1 - Where do we start?


Designing learning materials is a problem-solving process. It requires understanding how a particular set of learning outcomes can be achieved for a specific target audience within a given context. A good starting point is to use the big picture of the course to guide the development of the materials for each module and unit. What is the link between a course plan and materials?

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Question 2 - What do learners need to learn?

Purpose, Knowledge, Skill

The primary focus is on establishing what concepts and skills learners need to learn in the course. The materials must reflect the decisions you made in planning the course content at the right level and in the appropriate context. How do you select the right content?

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Question 3 - How can we help learners learn?

Design the process

How can you fully engage and support learners to develop the intended course competences? Creating learning opportunities is more than including discrete methods and learning activities. It is about building an integrated learning pathway that links resources, mediates content, learning activities and assessment activities, and provides constructive feedback in a stimulating and supportive way. What kind of learning methods and techniques, and learning and assessment activities can you use in the materials to support learning?

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Question 4 - Where do we start?

Engagement, Assessment, Feedback

Assessment is a central component in the learning process and needs to be fully integrated into the design of the course and the learning materials. Well-thought-through, integrated assessment promotes learning and reflects the close relationship between assessment, feedback and learning. Achievable assessment that is fit for purpose enables learners to provide evidence of the specified level of competence they have acquired. How can you integrate assessment in the materials?

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Question 5 - How can we ensure good quality learning?

Quality assurance

Quality assurance processes are built into all aspects of course and materials design and development. Relevant quality assurance activities are included in the planning, development, delivery and ongoing review and evaluation of the materials. The aim of quality assurance processes is to promote effective learning that results in the acquisition of appropriate knowledge and skills on the part of the course’s target audience. What do quality learning materials look like?.

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