The Course Delivery Decision Model (CDDM)
This is an abstract from the paper : How Should I Offer This Course? The Course Delivery Decision Model (CDDM) (published on MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, Vol. 10, No. 2, June 2014)
The emergence of new methods of course delivery has increased the complexity of determining a course’s optimal delivery mode. In this paper, teachers and designers are encouraged to take a systematic approach to making decisions about how a course should be delivered. To support this approach, the Course Delivery Decision Model (CDDM) is intended to help teachers and designers make pedagogically sound decisions regarding what delivery modes best target their learning outcomes. The CDDM guides users through a series of micro- and macro-level delivery mode decisions. Implications are discussed for when and how this model can best be used to determine a course’s mode of delivery.
In the past, course delivery mode decisions were simple. Other than F2F delivery, few other options existed. Today there are multiple delivery mode alternatives but few recommendations for choosing among them. As the course development process evolves, delivery mode decisions must be considered and should assume a prominent part of that process.
Adopting a new delivery mode without due consideration regarding the relevant learning outcomes is not good teaching practice. However, some faculty function under the misconception that one delivery mode is just as good as another. As a result, the technologies and tools can overshadow the pedagogy, and faculty may end up with mismatches between mode of delivery and learning outcomes. For example, deciding to offer a course online because the F2F sections are under-enrolled is not a decision based on pedagogical considerations. In addition, if a desired outcome involves learning how to work effectively in a team, a teacher should not use a grouping tool in a learning management system (LMS) that severely restricts the sharing of information or active teamwork. Conversely, teachers may fail to consider alternative delivery mode options that would further enhance student learning and teaching effectiveness. For example, teachers might use the gradebook feature of an LMS but not incorporate tools (such as rubrics or self-assessments) that would benefit specific learning outcomes. Teachers and course designers should, therefore, strive for identifying the optimal alignment of the elements in the curriculum with the available delivery mode options.
Learning objectives are defined as targeted, competency-based statements conveying expected learning outcomes (Mandernach, 2003; MIT Teaching and Learning Laboratory, n.d.). For simplicity and consistency, outcomes will be used when describing the CDDM.
There are very good resources intended to help teachers and course designers with the process of articulating learning outcomes. These guides help faculty to determine what constitutes a well-written learning outcome, to know that their outcomes are clearly or accurately written, and to use general models, templates, and tips on how to write them effectively (e.g., Clark, 2010; Education Oasis, 2004; Fink, 2005; Mandernach, 2003; MIT Teaching and Learning Laboratory, n.d.).
There are several reasons why learning outcomes should be given primary consideration when making course delivery mode decisions. First, as already established, the content, activities, and assessments of a well-designed course should be driven by the learning outcomes (Bain 2004; Fink, 2003, 2005; Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). Second, when one’s delivery mode decisions are made independently of the course learning outcomes, the teacher runs the risk of sub-optimal implementation of those outcomes in the final course. Finally, while accreditation agencies note that course learning outcomes are critical in achieving optimal student learning (Beno, 2004; Council for Higher Education Accreditation, 2010; Ewell, 2001), there is little attention devoted to the fact that learning outcomes are critical to making pedagogically sound course delivery mode decisions.
Use of the CDDM can be a valuable tool for faculty to consider pedagogically sound delivery mode decisions during the course or learning design process. The model forces course delivery mode decisions to be driven by course learning outcomes. In addition, it encourages teachers and developers to be open to new modes, maximize learning outcomes, and increase their awareness of different delivery options. This model helps educators to be more cognizant of what and how they are teaching and has the potential to refresh their attitudes about content.
Referring to the methodology suggested by this paper, we can extend it to more diversified ways to deliver learning available through emerging technologies or innovations such as mobile learning, Augmented Reality, Alternate Reality Game.