Using revolution, evolution, randomness and dead-ends in Educational Design

ITHET 01/2006; DOI: 10.1109/ITHET.2006.339760


To think about how educational design will evolve in the future, we need to first analyse its previous evolution. The paper draws lessons for progress in the continuing educational design of successful courseware. Educational design is here the ongoing analysis of educational needs and the systematic development and refinement of educational courseware. The paper considers what irritants make courseware successful. To do so it analyses the irritants at work in producing courses that have been successful in that they have survived and are in international demand. It analyses the development and refinement of successful courseware as being directed by the irritant mechanisms of revolution, evolution, randomness and dead-ends.
Educational design of courseware has progressed via these four irritants. Revolutions in the process of educational design have included the introduction of new paradigms, hardware and software. Evolutionary pressures have included catering to student’s feedback and catering to the needs of diverse students. Random factors included the different educational environments in which the courses were presented. Progress has also been made through the discarding of dead-end tools.
The paper reviews the current development tools that survived and hints at those to come. The author takes the safe viewpoint that future tools will be similar but more advanced in producing tomorrow's tools for educational design.
The paper recommends that universities adopt best-practice development, which includes using evolution, revolution, randomness and eliminating dead-ends to succeed in the future production of high quality courseware of international standard. Universities must allow time, space, money and other resources for experimenting, feedback, buffeting, simmering, expansion and future best-practice.

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Available from: Ian Kennedy
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