eLearning programs are a great way for a society or association to improve its membership benefits by contributing to the continued education of its members or open up new sources of potential revenue, as we wrote about in the last post on eLearning. But once the decision is made to optimize an existing program, or develop a brand new one, the first hurdle may well be the development of an inspiring, relevant and high-quality curriculum. Other organizations may not develop a curriculum specifically for eLearning, but rather to define a body of knowledge that is expected to be an exemplary knowledge base for their members.
There are certain parts of the curriculum development process which should be considered both before the project to mitigate any unnecessary problems along the way, but also at the end to be able to evaluate success. So what are the critical success factors for curriculum development and implementation?
Choosing the right curriculum designer
Societies often have extensive and valuable networks of experts in their fields, but they often miss the precise specialist skills required to build a curriculum or entire eLearning program. This is where networking and professional connections are so important, as is finding a designer with the subject matter and curriculum design expertise, plus availability. Once selected, the curriculum designer not only sets up the initial processes, but manages the project and keeps stakeholders aligned throughout.
Start and end with needs analysis
Making sure the curriculum is relevant, appropriate and in line with any professional standards ensures the educational benefit to members is targeted at the right level. The best way to achieve this is through a structured needs mapping exercise, where extensive research is carried out before any curriculum designs are created. By doing this, the society and development team will be able to work according to a clear blueprint of where core competencies for the learning outcome lie and where gaps might exist that may not have been considered before.
Effective Project Management
Project management skill is a core capability for any organization wanting to design and build a functioning curriculum. Curricula should be developed according to an agreed methodology which demonstrates the following:
- Buy-in from all stakeholders
- Thoroughly researched
- Developed according to an overarching project plan.
- Prioritization of core and non-core elements
- Development cut into sequential stages
Resource allocation is also an essential part of the project management strategy, as well as defining roles and responsibilities for stakeholders, and managing commitment to those throughout the project.
Check back tomorrow for the second post in this series on curriculum design - we’ve collated our full list of critical success factors into an infographic for you.
- More factors for a successful curriculum
- How can scholarly societies or associations add value with eLearning programs?
- What you need to know to build an eLearning solution?
- What you need to know to build an eLearning solution, part 2: requirements mapping
- What you need to know to build an eLearning solution, part 3: taking stock of your options