Chapter 1

In some articles about higher education the writer will stress the importance of instructional design. They explain that the procedures which are used to develop courses and curricula are primarily focused on the systematic approach. However, the task to develop all redesign existing courses or curricula is rather complex. You cannot finish this task with standard procedures. It’s a complex problem solving process in which design has a crucial role.

If you analyse the existing models or procedures it appears that design activities are not stimulated in these models or procedures. Of course, in educational development project there are many moments in which the participants will design interesting and sometimes very useful solutions. This raised the question is it possible to introduce in the systematic procedures typical design activities. The sources which can be used to do this, are the practical experiences in the many educational development projects. Crucial theoretical sources are the technical design theory, the theories about creativity and solving complex problems and the literature about instructional design (Reigeluth, Earl, van den Akker, Kessels, Malamed, ……
Technical design is a standard course in the technical University programs. Students learn how you can design your product or service they learn to use the technical knowledge and principles a used these in a creative way. The study of the technical design theory should offer all kinds of suggestions for design activities in the field of instructional design. (See chapter …). From this analysis, it appears that there are many ideas about design which are not yet translated in the procedures for course and curriculum development. In this book the insights from technical design theory, instructional design theories and the practical results in course and curriculum development projects are integrated into a practical approach. Suggestions are given how you can (re) design a course or curriculum.

A second element in this book is to focus on evidence-based education. From learning theories and instructional design theories many ‘suggestions’ are given about proper education. I prefer to call these suggestions design principles. Characteristics for design principles is that they give indications which you could do in your education. However, there is no guarantee that it will work. In technical design theory simply said that you have to follow an eclectic approach: you have select the best solution would help of the available evidences and experiences and explain why this is so. If you are convinced, then you will execute it and evaluate the result. Sometimes it works sometimes is not working. If it’s not working you have to design the new solution.

In the many didactical models or visions for curricula in higher education you can find these design principles. The next step to translate these principles in the courses of the curriculum is often too difficult. The principles are often too general, the consequence is that teachers are not able make this translation. Therefore, we will give a more detailed explanation about relevant design principles for higher education. A crucial quality criterion for the description is that the description give the teachers some points of impact how they could design learning activities and materials to apply it in their own course,  and to enable to get around constraints and  the teachers to get insight in the (I’m)possibilities of a good practice.

It is book a number of practical situations are discussed. The reason is that depending on the situation the teacher solve an easy, an difficult or a very difficult problem. This has consequences for the procedure of course curriculum development. For an easy problem, it is often not necessary to make again deep analysis of the learning objectives or about relevant learning theories. In a very difficult problem these activities are necessary. In the first cases you can say you have a simple design problem, in other situations where have a high level design problem. How you can fulfil these tasks is explained in this book. Also some specific procedures are explained in how to ….. descriptions,

idem for curriculum development course and curriculum development are often not distinguished. The activities are however very different. But on the curriculum level you have to consider the activities in the course development. And also in curriculum design activity and systematic approach are characteristics.


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