[Edmentum’s Commitment] Quality Content for Inspired Instruction

Tuesday, August 2, 2016 -- Christy Spivey

Edmentum is committed to making it easier for educators to individualize learning for every student. This post is the second in a series where we will focus on each of the four components of this commitment: simple technology, quality content, actionable data, and customer success. You can check out the first post on Simple Technology for Intuitive Use here.

Every teacher wants and deserves the highest quality content for his or her students.  At Edmentum, we are committed to providing our customers with curriculum and assessments that meet the highest quality standards for online content. To achieve this, the former educators and subject-matter experts on our curriculum team partner with state agencies and review organizations, including ISTE, WebbAlign, and Quality Matters. But, how exactly do we define quality online content? For us, quality content should include pedagogically sound instruction, have depth and breadth of rigor, and contain engaging and motivating content for students.

Instruction

Quality online instruction starts with a good instructional design strategy focused on content and activities that promote both acquisition and retention of student learning. On the Edmentum curriculum team, we begin with the end in mind and plan our content to clearly align to the level of achievement required by state and national standards. As each activity is developed, we make sure we’re providing students with the opportunity to:

  • acquire new knowledge
  • practice what they are learning
  • receive timely feedback
  • think critically
  • problem-solve and be creative

Every unit in Edmentum Courseware also includes a culminating activity in which students are asked to apply what they've learned to a real-world situation. These activities usually include research, data collection, and a written, visual, or digital presentation to demonstrate what the student has learned over the course of the unit. 

Rigor

Rigor is not simply about creating more work or more reading. Rigor is a critical element of quality instruction and is essential to improving student achievement. Throughout the learning process, students need to interact with content that takes them from foundational knowledge all the way through application of their knowledge to real-world situations. Rigorous content comes from activities that

  • Tightly align to state standards
  • Provide foundational knowledge and key concepts
  • Require application of knowledge to real-world situations
  • Engage students in higher-order thinking
  • Include assessments that demonstrate deep understanding 

As an example, rigor can be found in our assessments through the use of technology-enhanced items. These items allow us to assess for deeper understanding by asking a student to solve a math problem and then have him or her explain the methodology for solving the problem or have a student read a passage and then use evidence from the passage to answer a constructed response question.

Engagement and Motivation

Learning can't happen if students are bored! In today's media rich world, online educational content has to compete with games, social media, and other digital content, so it must immediately engage and interest students. Edmentum content achieves this using a variety of approaches, including the incorporation of relevant, real-world situations; interactive lessons; technology-enhanced items; and animations and videos. All of these elements are designed to be instructionally and age-appropriate across our products. And, we know that, while engagement is one thing, motivation is the real key to keeping students moving forward in their learning. We are always searching for new ways to motivate learners by incorporating learning games, incentives, and other gamification elements to keep them immersed in the learning experience and inspired to succeed.

Developing quality online content is a complex and challenging process, and these three elements are just a starting point. As with any other aspect of education, at the core of quality content development is a team of knowledgeable and dedicated people. At Edmentum, we are proud to have built a curriculum team of experts in a variety of subjects who have thousands of years in total of combined real classroom teaching and technology experience behind them and who understand what good instructional strategies look like. Equally necessary is a process that starts and ends with quality, with validation from outside sources to provide feedback on what's working and what needs to be improved. We are confident in the content development processes we’ve created because we have sought out and received validation from state agencies, review groups like ISTE and Quality Matters, and our customers—the teachers using our products every day in the classroom. Their feedback is key to helping us continuously improve our products and deliver on our commitment to quality content that helps every student achieve academic success.

Want to see our commitment to quality content in action? Watch this short video to see how schools across the country are partnering with Edmentum to provide students with effective online courses! 

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