Developing educational resources

Developing Educational Resources are an integral part of education. In this article, we will take a look at the process of producing educational resources in South Africa specifically

Characteristics of Effective Educational Resources

Have a clear instructional purpose

Effective Educational resources need to have a clear instructional purpose. Therefore, decide on your instructional goal before you start developing your educational resources. Educational resources should help to improve educational outcomes for students by positively influencing teaching and learning.

Make positive connections with learners knowledge, experience and identity.

Learning is an active process that involves many different kinds of connections. People learn best when they can connect new learning with what they already know and can do. They also learn best when they feel that their culture and identity is valued and acknowledged. You must know who the audience is your resources are intended for and do some research to ensure you can connect positively and unintentionally make negative connotations within your resources.

Build understanding about what is required for achieving particular tasks

When we are learning how to accomplish a particular task, we need to build knowledge of the disciplines associated with the task actively. For example, a student working on a maths task needs to develop specialised knowledge about mathematical concepts, practices, symbols and terms. It is important you ensure you know what tasks need to be included in the educational resources to achieve the desired education task.

Are engaging

Effective educational resources hold learner's interest, stimulate thinking, fuel their imaginations, and reward repeated use. They captivate both the mind and emotions and build on the learners' cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Keeping in mind that educational materials need to engage the students who are learning is critical to developing effective educational resources.

Support the use of assessment to enhance learning

The primary purpose of assessment is to enable learning. Therefore, an essential part of the assessment is the ability to give and respond to feedback. Effective feedback involves the questions "Where am I going?", "How am I doing?" and "Where to next?". Structuring your planning around assessment is an effective way to ensure it is incorporated.

Help teachers to understand what research is saying about effective teaching and put it into practice

Effective teachers understand current research about teaching and learning, and they know how to put these theories into practice. They recognise that learning takes place when people critically and collaboratively reflect on new information in terms of their existing knowledge, experience and beliefs

Are ethical, just, inclusive and fair

All educational resources used in schools must be consistent with the principles and values of the South African Curriculum and with national and international policies on rights and responsibilities.

They are well crafted, structured and appropriate for their purpose

Educational resources will only achieve their instructional purpose if their content and suggested activities are aligned with their purpose and with the learner's needs. Educational Resources need to be well structured and appropriate within the learners current understanding and where they are heading in the future.

Let's dive deeper into some of the phases of developing educational resources: <\p>

Phases of Producing Resources:

  • Needs Analysis and Planning
  • Content: Researching development and educational issues
  • Presentation style and technical decisions
  • Piloting and revising drift materials
  • Printing, marketing and disruption
  • The Evaluation Cycle

Needs Analysis and Planning

Before starting development on new educational resources, we need to do a needs analysis and planning. Ask these questions before you start:

  1. Why produce this resource?
  2. What do you wish to achieve with this resource?
  3. What is the aim or overall purpose of this resource?
  4. For whom is the resource intended - Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the appropriate approaches and content for the age group the resource is intended for
  5. How is it building on what already exists?

Core Planning Considerations

Planning is the start of educational resources

  • Review Existing Materials

The first step of planning is taking a look at the materials that are already available. You don't want to put the work into creating something that already exists.

  • Know your Audience

Knowing your audience is the first step to creating effective educational materials.

  • Message, tone and approach
  • Internal Audit
  • Feedback, monitoring and evaluation

Thinking about Images, Photographs and Infographics

Images are a vital part of educational materials. When planning out what graphics, images or photos you are going to use, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Sources of Images
  2. Consider the messages in the images
  3. Are the images sufficient quality to meet all your needs?

Assess Comprehensibility

  • Identify strong and weak points of your educational resource that can be worked on and improved
  • Determine personal relevance to your learners.
  • Gauge confusing, sensitive or controversial elements that need to be adjusted or removed from your resource.

The last thing you need to consider is where you are going to make the resource available. Is it going to be a printed or online resource? Do you have the means to disseminate the resource the way you need to? You need to keep in mind once your educational resource is finished, the next phase of the work starts. It is time to review how your resources are received and used by both teachers and students.

  • Monitoring
  • Assess ongoing learning
  • Building incentives
  • Review Data