The Systems Approach to Curriculum Development
This booklet provides a basic introduction to the paradigm that has dominated educational technology and educational development since the 1970's - the systems approach. It begins by looking at how educational technology evolved from the 'technology in education' model on which it was originally based to the current 'technology of education' model - a model that is founded on general systems theory. It then introduces some of the basic concepts that underlie the systems approach, and presents a simple, highly practical model that can be used as the basis of virtually all course and curriculum development. How educational technology has evolved since the Second World War When it started to emerge as a recognised discipline during the 1940's and 1950's, educational technology was based on what is now described as the 'technology in education' model. This model embraced all possible means by which information could be presented, and had two main aspects, namely hardware and software. The hardware side was concerned with the actual equipment - overhead projectors, slide projectors, tape recorders, television equipment, computers, etc. The software side, on the other hand, was concerned with the various things that were used in conjunction with this equipment -overhead transparencies, slides, audiotapes, videotapes, computer programs, and so on. The very first phase in the evolution of educational technology was the so-called 'hardware phase', which concentrated on the development of effective instructional equipment which was reliable, serviceable and within the budgets of schools, colleges and universities. However, when such hardware eventually became generally available, it was found that there was a shortage of suitable software to use with it. This triggered off a subsequent 'software phase', in which particular attention was paid to the development of suitable learning materials, often based on the currently dominant theories of learning and perception. Thus, even within this early development of educational technology, we can identify changes in the interpretation of the term 'technology'. Initially, this interpretation had distinctly engineering connotations, since the main thrust of educational technology was concerned with the development of items of optical and electronic equipment for educational purposes. Subsequently, it became much more associated with psychology and learning theory, as the main thrust changed to the development of suitable software for use with this equipment. However, at this stage in the development of educational technology, many people became aware that there was much in education which could be improved by thinking more carefully about all aspects of the design of teaching/learning situations. Such considerations led to a new, broader interpretation of 'educational technology' as the entire technology of education rather than the use of technology in education. The latter was now regarded as merely a part of the former rather than the whole field, as had previously been the case. Let us now take a closer look at this new interpretation. It could be argued that the principal role of educational technology is to help improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the teaching/learning process. Such an improvement can manifest itself in many ways, eg: 1. by increasing the quality of learning, or the degree of mastery; 2. by decreasing the time taken for learners to attain desired goals; 3. by increasing the efficiency of teachers in terms of numbers of learners taught, without reducing the quality of learning; 4. by reducing costs, without affecting quality;
5. by increasing the independence of learners, and the flexibility of educational provision. It is a value judgement as to which of the above interpretations are more important, and, indeed, such a judgement must be made in terms of the educational,...
References: The Year 1 studio programme changes from year to year. The current (1996-97) programme is divided into three sections, which are progressively more demanding.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document