Designing course curriculum has always been an uphill task for educational institutions and publishers, requiring collaboration between various stakeholders. And with the advent of digital learning and its corresponding tools, the obstacles seem to have slowly increased in complexity. In our experience dealing with clients, we have seen concerns crop up with project management throughout the entire development process, whether for higher education, career or K-12 domains.
1. Quality – This is usually the most significant issue when it comes to content development for businesses, institutions, or universities. Designing a course curriculum requires in-depth research, engagement with subject matter experts and compliance with standards, which presents significant hurdles. Even incorporating subtext and diversity can become a concern when dealing with offshore content development. How do you account for all these aspects and still maintain a high content standard for your readers?
Solution – Delivering high-quality content and designing the required curriculum requires teams of researchers to engage with subject matter experts and scholars. You can either build this capacity internally or work with content development services. Course mapping can be conducted to accreditation standards, with supplementary information like training modules and instructor guides being provided. Furthermore, you can deploy automated tools to help weed out any issues related to diversity. Close out the process with rigorous testing to create better outcomes.
2. Engagement and User Experience (UX) – How do you measure engagement and learning outcomes? When rolling it out to your audience, are a focus group and preliminary research sufficient? Designing the UX is an integral aspect of determining the learning outcome of your course curriculum, which is a time-consuming and cost-intensive process. Institutions can’t afford to create a curriculum that does not deliver the required result, as students and other stakeholders counting on this.
Solution – Engaging with subject matter experts is the first step in overcoming this challenge of digital content development, with assessment being the key to creating favorable learning outcomes. The design and layout of your User Interface (UI) should include facets of instructional design, helping refine the UX. Prototyping and testing of the content is critical here, which allows for detailed assessment and remediation before a wider rollout.
3. Different Media Types – Do you have videos and other forms of interactive content in your course curriculum? Content dissemination is evolving, especially in educational institutions dealing with younger eyeballs on their content. It is becoming imperative for publishers to relook at the type of media being used and whether the content is more engaging. This invariably requires additional resource allocation and testing to ensure that your course structure delivers on its intended purpose.
Solution – The easiest way to get around this challenge is to enlist the help of content development services that can manage video content. Conduct a needs-analysis followed by storyboarding, scripting, production, and proofing of different content. Rich multimedia resources, such as videos, animations, and simulations, also be created by repurposing existing and ancillary print content.
4. Shift to Digital and stringent accessibility laws – Content is shifting online, whether we like it or not. This presents a potential roadblock for publishers and institutions who need to create digital-first content or repurpose content for a digital medium. This may not be their area of expertise, leading to delayed timelines and increased resource burden. Accessibility requirements are also coming into play worldwide, which demands compliance on alt-text, metadata, closed captioning, etc. These add to the technical complexities for publishers.
Solution – Training and building internal capacity is an increasingly vital step for publishers, but this could be costly and warrants a look at high-quality content services. Collaborate with organizations that have the facilities to transform your information or create content for the digital medium. This digital content transformation should include accessibility features, allowing your course curriculum to be compliant and accessible to persons with disabilities. Content transformation and document digitization services include converting your offline data or PDFs to digital content through data capture and coding.
5. Cost – The main challenge in content development is the cost, especially for smaller institutions and publishers who don’t have the required internal resources. Working with experts, quality control, accessibility-feature inclusion, SEO content development, research, digitizing, UX design, testing, and streamlining workflow adds to your costs. Some processes might not be easily available to your organization and could create delays that further impact your expenses.
Solution – Automation might be the solution for you. There are software and tools that can help hasten individual processes and reduce your overall cost. For example, Lumina Datamatics performs Automatic Item Generation (AIG), which creates psychometrically valid questions based on a ‘parent’ question that is deemed successful. This can directly impact your engagement and learning outcomes. There is also software that checks for sensitivity and bias, flagging harmful words that could have a negative impact.
Although challenges abound for content development in course curriculum, methods and tools exist to overcome these. Any skilled service provider can help you create an integrated workflow through modular course development, content writing services, and content conversion solutions. Click here to learn more about content development services.