Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Building A Curriculum: The nuts & bolts

As discussed in an earlier blog post, curriculum development is a time consuming process but one that allows the presenter to become intimately familiar with the topic AND smooth the presentation style.

If you use the form generally accepted for curriculum development (see below), this will help you with development.  With this form, you can also use the Four Steps to Curriculum Development: Planning, Developing, Implementing, and Evaluating.  In Planning, an assessment is usually done prior to development to see if there is a need for the presentation or course.  If there is a need, then the planning for content continues.  During Development, measurable objectives, timing, and teaching strategies are assessed for maximum utilization with a broad spectrum of learners.  With Implementation, the presentation is actually put into practice several times to make sure of logical flow of topics, clarity of content, and to become familiar with the content.  Evaluations can be used to project the success of the presentation and assess for updates.

Identify the first topic and select the objectives that relate to that topic.  (Planning)

Format an outline of discussion points for this topic and then practice presenting this information.  
Time yourself a few times to make sure that you are confident in the length of time it takes to complete this portion of the topic.  

Then select 1-3 teaching strategies with which to present this information. Remember you are teaching to a wide variety of learners: audio learners, doers, visual learners, and those who like to have all of the input! (Developing)

Once you have put all of the topics and objectives together in this format along with the timing and teaching strategies, you should have a solid curriculum.  If you use this presentation numerous times, reorganization and updating become part of the routine.  A great presenter never presents the same twice.  Tweeking is expected, especially in the business of maternity care where evidence based information is refined frequently! (Implementing)

One Type of Likert Scale Evaluation
Is this all there is to it, you may be asking?  No, one more element is crucial to a great curriculum and that is a great evaluation tool.  You may choose the Likert Scale as the format for your evaluation tool.  This Scale was developed by Rensis Likert in 1932 and requires the individuals to make a decision on their level of agreement, generally on a five-point scale (ie. Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree) with a statement. The number beside each response becomes the value for that response and the total score is obtained by adding the values for each response, hence the reason why they are also called 'summated scales' (the respondents score is found by summing the number of responses).   (Evaluating)

While we do not like to have critiques of ourselves that could be deemed as negative, an evaluation is a useful too to refine the presentation and improve it for the future.  Understand that you will not please everyone all of the time, however if the majority of the individuals find that their expectations where not met, then you may want to re-examine your objectives to hone them more to what you are presenting.

In addition to the Likert Scale Evaluation, you may also want to make available to the evaluater a few lines that they can use to put into their own words some suggestions for future presentations.  These suggestions may further improve your presentation with specific indicators.

Are you designing a curriculum for use in maternity care?  Would you like someone to take a look at it between the Development and Implementation stages?  If so, contact me at info@birthsource.com.  

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