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A Collaborative Approach for Creating Curriculum and Instructional Materials.

Many states--and more particularly rural states--have trouble funding technology in education even when state technology coordinators know the benefit each technology initiative will provide to its students. Furthermore, many teachers lack training in computer technology, and they do not have the time, resources, or opportunity to explore it on their own.

In the case of North Dakota, a partial answer to the funding question came from a $287,000 grant to North Dakota State University's School of Education from the USWEST Foundation in 1995. The grant was used to fund a multifaceted project designed to assist K-12 teachers integrate multimedia educational tools into their day-to-day teaching (Hosskisson & Stammen, 1997; Nelson & Sologuk, 1996).

Although the project focused on teachers and educators using multimedia, the methodologies adopted and the lessons learned may be applicable in other domains. Furthermore, because the curriculum materials were implemented as learning modules on the World Wide Web (WWW or Web), issues of translating traditional paper-based courseware into a interactive, nonlinear, Web-based curriculum can be addressed.


Designing and implementing effective education and training materials-- especially when they incorporate and/or integrate new technologies--is a difficult task, because course design and its implementation are often likely to extend the competencies of any one individual (Hoskisson, Stammen, & Nelson, 1996). One of the project's underlying goals was to investigate how well Ohio State University's Systematic Curriculum Instructional Development (SCID) and Developing a Curriculum (DACUM) processes functioned as methods for creating competency-based curriculum and instructional materials in a largely interdisciplinary environment. Another project goal was to investigate whether or not these processes--which are well established for creating effective print-based curriculum materials--would also be applicable to creating Web-based curriculum materials.


DACUM is a relatively new and innovative approach to occupational analysis developed by the Center for Education and Training for Employment at Ohio State University. It has proven to be a very effective method of quickly determining, at relatively low cost, the competencies or tasks that must be performed by persons employed in a given job or occupational area. The profile chart that results from the DACUM analysis is a detailed and graphic portrayal of the skills or competencies involved in the occupation being studied. The DACUM analysis can be used as a basis for curriculum development, training needs assessments, student achievement records, worker performance evaluations, competency test development, and job descriptions. DACUM has been successfully used to analyze occupations at the professional, technical, skilled, and semiskilled levels.

DACUM operates on the following three premises:

* expert workers can describe and define their job more accurately than anyone else,

* an effective way to describe a job is to define the tasks that expert workers perform, and

* all tasks, to be performed correctly, demand certain knowledge, skills, tools, and attitudes.

A carefully chosen group of about eight to ten experts from the occupational area form the DACUM committee. Committee members are recruited directly from business, industry, or the professions. The committee works under the guidance of a facilitator for two days to develop the DACUM chart. Modified small-group brainstorming techniques are used to obtain the collective expertise and consensus of the committee. The DACUM committee is carefully guided through each of the following steps by the facilitator:

* Orientation

* Review of job or occupational area description

* Identification of general areas of job responsibility

* Review and refinement of task statements

* Sequencing of task statements

* Identification of general knowledge and skill requirements of the occupation, tools, equipment, supplies, and materials used, and desirable worker traits and attitudes

* Other options, as desired (that is, identification of entry-level tasks)

Because of their current occupational expertise, committee participants do not need to make any advance preparations. Participants on past DACUM committees have, without exception, found the activity to be a professionally stimulating and rewarding experience.

Systematic Curriculum Instructional Development (SCID)

The SCID model for curriculum development is an efficient and effective method for creating competency-based curriculum and instructional materials. Twenty-three components are grouped into five phases:

* Curriculum Analysis,

* Curriculum Design,

* Instructional Development,

* Training Implementation, and

* Program Evaluation.

The purpose of SCID was to provide a structured direction upon which to collectively develop instructional media.

Curriculum analysis. Curriculum analysis is comprised of six components. First is a needs analysis, in which actual needs are determined. If the need for training is confirmed, a job analysis is next (DACUM approach is recommended). Next is task verification, which can extend involvement in the job analysis from a few to 100 or more expert workers and can provide a means of rating the importance and difficulty of each task and obtaining other valuable decision-making information. Armed with this information, it is possible to select tasks (or deselect them, as some industry trainers say) for inclusion into the program. The next component in this phase is the standard task analysis. The information obtained in this step is absolutely essential in identifying performance steps and decisions, essential knowledge, industry standards, and so forth, needed to develop accurate and relevant teaching and learning materials. A sixth component, the literacy task analysis is recommended, but is optional here.

Curriculum design. Curriculum design is comprised of four components. Based on information collected in Phase 1, it is necessary to (a) make decisions about the training approach--type of instructional program and materials to be developed, the degree to which instruction will be individualized, and support media to be developed. Next is (b) the development of learning objectives for each task of group of tasks, followed by (c) the development of job performance measures. This phase concludes with (d) the preparation of a training plan, which should be fairly detailed and include all aspects of personnel and facility and equipment needs. Implementation of this plan must occur concurrently with the development phase.

Instructional development Instructional development consisted of four main components, although depending on the type of materials produced, the first two components may vary. One choice--usually for competency or performance-based programs--is to develop a competency profile and then to develop learning guides or modules. The second choice-usually for more traditional programs--is to develop a curriculum guide and then to develop lesson plans. The third component in either case is to develop supporting media, which can be simple transparencies, posters and slides, or more expensive videotapes or interactive videodiscs. Appropriate media add variety and clarity to the instructional process, motivate the learner, and help demonstrate or illustrate difficult concepts and procedures. The last step in development is to pilot-test and revise the materials. This step is important and worth the extra time and money to make needed improvements and modifications. Keep in mind that the purpose of these materials is to help learners achieve the performance objectives as efficiently, effectively, and economically as possible. In many cases, existing materials and resources may be used or adapted.

Training implementation. Training implementation is comprised of four components, beginning with activating the training plan developed in the design phase. By now, learners have been recruited, instructors selected and trained, and the availability of facilities, supplies, equipment, and other resources confirmed. The next step, after pretesting, is to conduct a formative evaluation of learner and instructor performance. This information is invaluable in making in-course corrections, should this become necessary. Documenting training in the form of student achievement and instructor performance records is is the final step in this phase. The student competency profiles can be used to report achievement to parents and potential employers as well as to administrators.

Program Evaluation. Program evaluation, the final phase, is comprised of three components. With the formative evaluation complete, the next important step is to conduct the summative evaluation to collect data for use in decisions on maintaining or improving the education or training program. This involves gathering data on the overall instructional process, program outcomes, student follow-up, worker productivity, and cost-effectiveness. Analyzing and interpreting this information will lead to recommendations on program improvement and, finally, taking corrective actions. Completion of the evaluation phase produces the performance data and feedback vital to any education or training system concerned with quality management and proving its worth.


This project followed the five SCID phases. Twelve local multimedia experts were assembled to perform the DACUM curriculum analysis. Each individual profiled expertise in different skills and competencies (computer technicians, multimedia experts, and classroom teachers) and were considered to be top performers in their area. After two full days, under the guidance of a facilitator, the panel generated a DACUM chart (Figure 1) outlining a list of general "duties" and many specific "tasks" for each of the duties.

The curriculum design phase involved 24 people trained by the Center for Education and Training for Employment (CETE) to use the SCID process. The SCID participants also came from varied backgrounds: computer technicians, multimedia experts, curriculum developers, classroom teachers, teacher educators, students, administrators, university students, and practitioners. The SCID panel developed the training approach, learning objectives for each task, job performance measures, and the training plan. We decided on a competency-based curriculum approach where the curriculum package would consist of modules (duties) and learning guides (tasks related to the duties). The basic structure of the learning guides would identify the task, the performance required, the conditions under which it would be performed, and the criteria or standard to be met.

The instructional development phase determined the actual instructional content used in the teacher training program. The learning guides were written in the standard competency-based format provided by CETE. This allowed the designers to be free of routine decisions so they could concentrate on content. The DACUM chart shown in Figure 1 was used to identify modules and to cluster tasks.

The modules were named by the duty and the tasks were identified in the specific learning guides. The learning guides produced by the design teams turned out to have considerable overlap of content due to commonality that existed between multiple tasks. A refinement process was established (in the form of checklists) that was used to validate the articulation between all the learning guides within each specific module. When this step was completed, naive readers were assigned to read the revised learning guides for completeness and clarity.

The final step involved transitioning from print-based curriculum (i.e., the paper-based learning guides) to an electronic, interactive, nonlinear, Web-based curriculum. (The final product can be viewed at:

The training and evaluation phases of the project consisted of pilot testing with learners on an individual and group basis as well as both formative and summative assessment. The information gathered during these phases allowed us to improve curriculum content and correct problem areas on the Web site (for example, navigation problems) before the product was made widely available.


On the whole, though, the project was considered a success. The results of both the pilot testing and the formal evaluations clearly showed that users were enthusiastic about the product and found it to be useful to integrate multimedia into the classroom. The "job skills" of a multimedia technologist, as outlined in the DACUM chart of duties and tasks, showed the variety of expertise that is needed to carry out this job. This is valuable to anyone who is contemplating a career in multimedia curriculum design and development. The Web site created as part of this project is currently being used by teachers and teacher educators to develop multimedia educational curriculum and instructional materials.

Lessons Learned

Although DACUM had been used effectively to determine job analysis in business for several years, we found that a group of expert workers with such diverse backgrounds had difficulty determining what tasks and duties were required to "integrate multimedia into the classroom." The DACUM facilitator noted that, traditionally, DACUM panel members comprised one specific occupation. Having a trained facilitator helped tremendously, and the SCID process itself forced these diverse participants to think collectively. Independently, they may not have not have thought about some of the issues for different reasons--for example, lack of interest or expertise. In this particular instance, those in technical positions simply did not have many of the problems or concerns facing an elementary or secondary teacher (Stammen, 1997).

In terms of actual implementation, it was found that performance objectives for lessons were often written after the learning activities were determined, which is contrary to good curriculum design. Strict adherence to predetermined curricula criteria is needed to ensure consistent curriculum design. Moreover, it was found that the paper-based curriculum had considerable overlap between modules. The interesting but nonessential information from the learning modules as they were converted into electronic form had to be eliminated, primarily because the nonlinear nature of the Web allows material common to two or more modules to exist in only one place with a hyperlink connecting the module to it. The "nice to know" material was placed in an appendix and simply linked to it.


Design teams encountered difficulty converting static learning guides written in a traditional lesson plan into WWW electronic-based multimedia modules that were interactive and nonlinear. Writing curriculum for web pages requires a very different style and more dynamic presentation. For example, curriculum materials (modules) must be designed with navigational links built into them and organized in an easy-to-follow fashion. The pilot testing revealed that users could not easily follow the original navigational organization, and we ultimately settled on a "table of contents" approach that was viewed more favorably by the user community.

It was also discovered that most web page guidelines do not address instructional issues (for example, do students learn better if no scrolling is allowed on the web page?). Concerns addressed were:

* The merits of a web page that allows the user to scroll through the text as compared to the use of a frame which requires the user to click on buttons to link to the next frame or instructional component.

* Should color coding be used to make different instructional components more distinguishable? Pilot testing showed that learners sometimes cannot determine where one component ends and another begins.

* How to create learning materials that are functional, usable, comprehensible, interactive, visually stimulating, and information rich? We found it difficult to develop materials that had all of these characteristics.

* The difficulty of transitioning from concept maps and storyboards to prototype learning modules. Hard-fast techniques for going from static paper-based models to dynamic electronic-based models are not yet well developed.

These are areas that need further investigation.

Copyright Concerns

One very interesting issue that arose was whether permission was needed to link to external sites from within the web pages. Concerns over copyright issues arose early on in the project. The problem was "made worse" because we had little expertise in this area and standards were still underdevelopment (for example, the Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia, Since existing guidelines do not address this issue we decided not to worry about it! It is strongly recommended that developers of web-based education and training materials educate themselves early on about this important topic. Some of the material developed by the design teams was deleted since we could not verify its origin. This resulted in wasted time and effort. Also, since the web documents were placed on a CD-ROM, we needed to secure permission to include the Netscape Navigator browser, QuickTime, and Adobe Reader on the CD-ROM as well since they were all vital parts of the web pages.


The success of the US WEST Multimedia Project was confirmed by the contractual commitments of 13 K-12 school districts for the 1997-98 school year. Three university professors continued to implement the modules into three courses.

Through presentations, panels, and word-of-mouth from the participating field testing schools, the enthusiasm generated by the USWEST Multimedia Project development initiative was overwhelming. Because of financial and budget constraints, there was not enough available equipment and professional staff to meet the needs of all interested schools. Reluctantly, administrators had to be put "on hold" and the authors were unable to schedule all of the interested school districts.

To assure that multimedia development projects continue to meet the needs of the preservice, inservice, and university teachers/faculty, assessment will continue to play a strong role in its growth. As more advanced technology and network connectivity improves, the content of the training will be adjusted.


Hoskisson, D.Y., Stammen, R.M., & Nelson, M. (1996). A case study: Selecting design models for multimedia training. Proceedings of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education 7th International Conference (pp. 637-641). Charlottesville, VA: The Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education.

Hosskisson, D.Y., & Stammen, R.M. (1997). Collaborative university/K-12 multimedia: Problems, solutions, and lessons learned. Proceedings of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education 8th international Conference (pp. 577-579). Charlottesville, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computers in Education.

Nelson, M.K., & Sologuk, S. (1996). A case study: Developing multimedia training for teachers. Proceedings of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education 7th International Conference (pp. 633636). Charlottesville, VA: The Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education.

Stammen, R.M. (1997). Creating multimedia: Difficult transition for educators. Proceedings of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education 8th International Conference (pp. 661-663). Charlottesville, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computers in Education.

Figure 1. DACUM chart

DACUM Research Areas for Teachers Integrating Computerized Multimedia Into Their Curriculum and Classroom

A. Acquire Basic Computer Skills

A-1 Obtain basic computer training

A-2 Perform basic computer functions

A-3 Match software application to need

A-4 Manage computer software

A-5 Manage computer hardware

A-6 Utilize computer documentation

B. Improve Curriculum with Multimedia

B-1 Identify criteria to evaluate curriculum

B-2 Evaluate existing curriculum

B-3 Gather student feedback on curriculum

B-4 Gather feedback from colleagues and community

B-5 Review multimedia software

B-6 Review multimedia hardware

B-7 Identify learning activities where multimedia may be used

B-8 Select multimedia hardware

B-9 Select Multimedia software

B-10 Select multimedia instructional clip media

B-11 Modify use of multimedia software/clip media

B-12 Design multimedia software/clip media

B-13 Try out new instructional media

B-14 Evaluate results of tryouts

C. Deliver Instruction with Multimedia

C-1 Select method of delivery

C-2 Set up multimedia system

C-3 Verify operation of multimedia setup

C-4 Prepare classroom environment

C-5 Introduce multimedia lesson

C-6 Provide group instruction

C-7 Provide individual instruction

C-8 Provide guided practice

C-9 Provide independent practice

C-10 Assess student performance

C-11 Assess instructional effectiveness

C-12 Develop alternative plan

D. Utilize Support Services for Multimedia

D-1 Identify need/problem

D-2 Identify available support service

D-3 Check trouble-shooting guide

D-4 Consult local resources

D-5 Consult extended resources

E. Enhance Teacher Communication with Multimedia

E-1 Share ideas and information with multimedia

E-2 Display student projects with multimedia

E-3 Prepare grade book with multimedia

E-4 Prepare student progress reports with multimedia

E-5 Publish newsletters with multimedia

E-6 Display classroom information with multimedia

E-7 Retrieve multimedia resources

E-8 Create multimedia resources

E-9 Retrieve classroom assignments with multimedia

E-10 Create student assignments with multimedia

E-11 Maintain student portfolios with multimedia

E-12 Prepare administrative reports with multimedia

F. Promote Multimedia in the Classroom

F-1 Share multimedia experiences

F-2 Invite classroom observers

F-3 Share multimedia results

F-4 Present at conferences and workshops

F-5 Provide assistance in using multimedia

F-6 Demonstrate benefits of multimedia use

G. Pursue Professional Development Related to Multimedia

G-1 Participate in in-service activities

G-2 Attend conferences

G-3 Pursue formal education

G-4 Network with others

G-5 Read technology related literature

G-6 Participate on technology committees

G-7 Write about multimedia activities

G-8 Utilize multimedia resources

G-9 Participate in mentoring program

G-10 Participate in on-site visits
COPYRIGHT 2001 Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:North Dakota State University's project designed to assist K-12 teachers integrate multimedia educational tools into their day-to-day teaching
Publication:Journal of Technology and Teacher Education
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2001
Previous Article:Teachers' Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Skills and Practices of Using ICT.
Next Article:Transforming Learning with Technology: Lessons from the Field.

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