The Educational Process
Perry Sprawls, Ph.D.
Virtually all educational institutions, programs, and courses will benefit from some degree of re-engineering in preparation for the future. This applies both to degree-oriented programs and continuing education lifelong learning opportunities.
The objective of re-engineering is to enhance both the effectiveness and the efficiency of various educational activities.
The stimulus for re-engineering is the combination of four ongoing transitions in society. They are:
1. Changing educational needs because of innovations in various professions, trades, businesses, and expanding information and knowledge in society in general.
2. Requirements for alternative learning opportunities that are more compatible with contemporary lifestyles and individual responsibilities.
3. Extensive availability of digital technology for educational materials development, communications, interactive information management and retrieval, access to resources on a worldwide basis, simulations, and the management of educational activities.
4. The potential of enhancing human performance (both learners [students] and learning facilitators [teachers]) with the design and implementation of learning activities that are based on established educational principles and the capabilities of state-of-the art technology.
The objective of enhanced efficiency is to achieve desired learning outcomes with reduced financial cost and personnel time.
The process is also appropriate for the initial design of activities (courses) in newly created programs.
Re-engineering is a systematic process of analysis, design, and implementation.
Analytical models of an educational process are the framework upon which re-engineering is built.
The specific steps include:
· Determine the educational needs that are to be met by a proposed educational activity. This can range from the institutional to the individual lesson/module level.
· Design a curriculum to define the scope, general content, and structure of the proposed activity (program or area of study).
· For each area of study define the elements or units (class topics, modules, exercises, etc.) that are appropriate for concentrated study.
· For each unit develop well defined learning objectives and expected outcomes. These are derived from the documented or perceived needs for the activity.
· Develop an analysis of the proposed learners (students) with respect to educational background, location (geographical distribution) and times available for learning activities.
· Apply established principles of learning to define the materials, media, and methods to design each learning unit.
· Develop or acquire the learning materials and media as required.
· Identify and make available additional references and resources to support the learning activities.
· Develop or acquire access to facilities with sufficient technology infrastructure to support the learning activities.
· Develop an appropriate management and administration system for the educational activities.
· Develop a faculty and collaborators with “real world” experience and the ability to guide and stimulate the learning activities.
· Provide faculty with learning and development opportunities to enhance their effectiveness as learning facilitators.
· Provide faculty with incentives to develop and use technology to enhance their teaching and academic activities.
Well-designed (re-engineered) educational programs, courses, and individual learning units provide significant value to the learners/students, faculty, and the institution. The value is derived from enhanced academic performance that produces outcomes appropriate to the established educational needs. Compared to traditional educational methods, the re-engineered methods using advanced technology and associated resources can provide major reductions in cost to individual learners, institutions, and society in general.