Course Material Development

Posted on

Well, now we know what we need to teach, we know how to address this information, and now we even have our information outlined. We just need to develop the presentation material that best addresses the needs of the learners. How do you do this? Well, it begins with your design concepts and addresses the learning methods that you are most likely to employ in your training class.

Identifying Your Media
Your first step will be to identify the media you are going to use. Is lecture the best method? Perhaps a presentation slide show? It's all down to what you are teaching, and what your learners need in order to learn. For instance, if I were going to teach someone how to cook, I would probably use live presentations, video presentations, some take away material for future reference, and projects to evaluate what has been learned. But this works only in a classroom setting, and not in a distance learning environment.

So while choosing your media, remember how the media will be distributed. Will it be distributed through online means, physical methods (books, magazines, etc.), or are you going to use a live presentation? How many do you expect to reach at once? What phase of the moon is expected on the training date? Okay, that last one was a joke, but I hope it gets the point across. What are the physical limitations that you have on the training that need to be worked around?

Classroom Events
Classroom events are the best, in my mind, because projects can abound and collaborative learning is simple. Here the instructor can work with the learners in a more interactive way, allowing them to actually do hands-on work that can be easily and quickly evaluated. Lecture is easily integrated with project material, ongoing support by the instructor, and even group activities make this a really good opportunity for media deployment.

Live Presentations
Live presentations are generally presentations to a large, live audience. In these cases, breaking people up into groups can be more of an organizational hazard than it is worth, so visual demonstrations are more likely. But don't let this be your only presentation option! You can provide written material as well, and to some extent have audience participation. It all depends on the deployment of staff that you want to use.

Now that we are moving into the realm of asynchronous communication, audience participation during the presentation becomes almost impossible. But you can utilize your ingenuity in this area as well. Focus on following up with your learners. Find out what they thought, their positions, etc. Blogging or a live chat option in this case would be ideal, and gives you an idea of their understanding and comprehension as well. Another assessment method? You bet!

Posting Documents
Whether online or in a physical packet, reading is reading. That means many people don't when they are supposed to, or they choose to ignore the document all together (i.e., the instructions). If you are going to create only reading material, make sure you provide visual aids as well. Also include some step by step examples that allow tactile learners to follow along at their own pace. While it is my least favorite method of teaching, reading documents/books is actually my preferred learning method.

Once you have your materials planned for, start creating them. Here you can use any artistic abilities that you have (which I sadly lack), and create something that will turn heads. Not in the "Ahh! It's After Me!" way, but in the "Wow! How About That!" way. Once your materials are ready, you are ready to implement your training to it's fullest potential. And with that, I will leave you until the next posting on implementation. Cheers!