A Few Attributes of Effective Print-Based Distance Modules
Clayton R. Wright
crwr77[at]gmail.com, July 2010
is attractive and provides basic information such as the moduletitle, the course or program it is part of, the logo of the institution, and the date of publication.
The acknowledgement provides
of the contribution of all thoseinvolved in the design, development, and review of the module and their qualifications and affiliations. Thus, the creditability of the module is firmlyestablished.
or introduction describes the following module components: learningobjectives (which are achievable and do not use vague words, such as “understand”),key words, abbreviations/acronyms, instructional text, summaries, and unit exercises.
The overview indicates
learners should complete the module and how thecontent is related to their present or future lives. An effective overview motivates or inspires the learners. Modules that cover an important social topic (e.g., HIV andAIDS or domestic violence) explain in a forceful but encouraging manner why peopleshould know about the disease or situation.
of the learners are clearly identified, including the activitiesor assignments they must complete, when they are due, and how they will beevaluated. Assessments of learners are valid, relevant, reliable, and feasible.
are specified and, if necessary, students are told how to obtainthem.
An interactive conversational
is used, as if the writer were speaking directly tothe learner. This is a key feature of effective distance study modules.
Module content is written in the active
is adjusted to the educational level of the intended audience. Thesubject matter covered should be challenging, but the language used should notinterfere with the learning process. The language used should be aimed at a levelthat is slightly lower than the educational level of the intended audience.
are used to list steps in a procedure; bullets are used for items that are notprioritized.
are no longer than two lines, thus aiding comprehension.
explains key words that are highlighted in the body of the module.
, photographs, and other illustrations that help studentslearn concepts and procedures. Often, simple line drawings are most helpful.