The path from curriculum to an item : how to create learning opportunities in a technology-based learning system

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Creating items for a technology-based learning environnement is a tedious and long process that requires a huge number of actors, all with different skills and talents.

Here’s a graphic that covers the path from the early reflections based on the curriculum until the final release of the interaction item on the learning platform. This path is based on the experience of collaboration between the Ministry of education in Luxembourg and Vretta, a learning company specialized in mathematic learning tools. The commonly developed product is a multilingual, online learning tool for students in mathematics, called MathemaTIC.

You can roughly split the process into three main parts, which are not necessarily consecutive,  but interdependent throughout the whole process.

a) the conceptual part : As the objective of the project mathemaTIC is to deliver a learning tool for the Luxembourg education system, the mathematical items have to be tightly aligned to the local curriculum and its objectives. This alignment is represented in an interactive curriculum framework that provides teachers with the ability to monitor each student’s progress through the learning resources, their areas of strengths and their areas of weaknesses. It should also provide students with a clear understanding of their knowledge based on national educational objectives and standards. Therefore the first part of the development part is to deconstruct the national curriculum and to rebuild its contents (knowledge, skills, attitude) into a comprehensive map of internally linked items. Once this map is constructed, the pedagogical advisor an his team collect for each item (mostly for a set of coherent linked items) ideas for the implementation of technology based learning process. The a first blueprint of the map identifies the content topics that should be covered and the general structure of the item. It also looks for appropriate interaction of the student.

This leads to the elaboration of a storyboard in which the design and the script of the item are discussed. Discussions include issues like interaction and feedback with the user, item visuals, general layout as well as language challenges.

b) the realization part : During this “nuts and bolts” part of the  process, the graphic designer, the interface developper and programmer are in contant exchange with the subject specialists and the instructional designer in order to develop an item that fits the needs of the learning process. Interactive previews of items are developed, tested, reviewed, rejected, redone until the final version of the items is finally published on the platform.

c) the verification part : This part is permanently present throughout the whole process, a process which is decomposed in small parts or development sprites at the end of which only the validation of all relevant issues can lead to the next step. Bringing in the feedback from as many as possible persons in the process is an essential factor for the development of a functioning item. Of course these loops have to be monitored, especially in order to keep in line with the time line and the delivery dates, therefore an dedicated person on this task is an essential asset for the project.