Curriculum Planning/Afterword

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Afterword: Challenge and Opportunity[edit | edit source]

Designing and developing curriculum has become a well-defined field of study, with many excellent models and technological tools available to guide the work. In such situations, instructional design can be mostly scheduled to follow a set process which more or less promises to meet the educational need. But although instructional designers and curriculum developers often work in familiar educational settings, this is not always the case.

Most of my professional work was done in a small postsecondary institution in which I was very familiar with the learners, the instructors, the environment, and the types of content. However, my job also gave me the opportunity to participate in a number of international projects. In these situations, it was often difficult to do much curriculum planning prior to actually visiting on-site. Sometimes I had access to potential trainers or subject matter experts for the curriculum but usually no direct access to potential learners and only limited information about the learning environment. The available content was often meagre, out-of-date, or non-existent. More often than not, language was also a barrier.

Looking back, I realize what a wonderful learning experience the international work provided! It was, first and foremost, a humbling experience: my original guesses about the learners, the environment and the trainers were often way off, and I often accomplished far less than I had hoped. But I got to recognize what I didn’t know and I learned to ask better questions and lots of them. And I was able to bring my international experience back into my “regular” work and treat every new curriculum project with the freshness it deserved.

This resource has been designed especially for curriculum developers and instructional designers who find themselves (by choice or by accident) involved in an unfamiliar project, unsure how to begin and perhaps worried about making a mess of it. The advice here is pretty simple: approach humbly, ask questions, listen and take notes, and work with passion.

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