FLIPPING LEARNING MATERIAL AND ASSESSMENT DESIGN PROCESSES

Seeking a better way to write compliant and interesting learning materials and assessments?  Tired of the same old lock step process of:

  • Writing materials according to the Performance Criteria, using each on as a sub heading and placing materials under it, even if you wrote something similar in other performance criteria before?
  • Design assessments at the end of the process
  • Realising after you have written the learning materials you have missed out information critical to the assessment

The reality of learning materials is they are driven by the assessment process and yet often many write the learning materials first and the assessment comes in after.  This is a bit like tying your shoe laces and then putting your foot in; sometimes your foot makes it into the shoe, sometimes it is an uncomfortable fit and often it just doesn’t work with either the shoe being too tight to get the foot in or too loose forcing you to either retie it or run the risk of a fall!

However if the design process is “flipped” and design your assessment first to guide your learning materials requirements, I believe you are likely to produce better integrated learning materials which relate to the assessment needs of the unit of competency.

My tips to flipping:

  1. Read the unit of competency (all of it) thoroughly
  2. Map each unit requirement (yes before you design the assessment). This allows you to discover what assessment instruments are required for the unit of competency i.e. an observation report, third party reports, scenarios (knowledge application) etc.  Note: you cannot use a “fixed” type of assessment for each unit of competency there must be room to have “alternative” assessment instruments according to the need of the unit of competency.
  3. Design you assessment instruments which will be compliant (as you have mapped them at the start, rather than after where you often find you have missed something).
  4. Having designed your assessments you are now thoroughly familiar with the unit requirements especially the knowledge evidence requirements as this needs to be basis of your learning materials (not the performance criteria).
  5. Having provided information on the knowledge required in order to meet the unit of competency requirements, go back and review the performance criteria and ensure you have covered the steps in the work process. In some cases this can be as simple of providing a flow chart of how the knowledge evidence is interlinked via the work process.

Please note: that the information I have given is simplified as comprehensive details are limited in reading forums (due to word limit considerations).  The aim is to provide instructional designers and those who develop learning and assessment materials a more practical design methodology (in my opinion) and for others to debate the merits or not of “flipping” the model.