As I continue my journey of teaching and learning in distributed learning environments, I find myself continually being drawn back to one type of curriculum design model: hypercontent design.

(Simonson, Smaldina, Albright and Zvacek, 2012, p. 169)

This model, much like other design models, breaks instruction into units – modules – topics.  A learner must demonstrate satisfactory learning by completed an assessment in the initially chosen module before he or she can move on to the next module.  Learning is demonstrated through the topics, which are turned into learning experiences. Learning experiences be developed in a variety of formats, such as text, audio, video and pictures.

What I like about this design model is that the learner gets to choose the order in which he or she learns.  By giving the learner this freedom is also makes them more responsible as they have chosen what work to do when and how to demonstrate understanding.  I also like this model as it compliments the work of Understanding By Design (UBD)This design model prompts the architect to engage in backwards design, identifying first the overarching questions, or enduring understandings, followed by the essential questions, assessment, and lastly, topical activities.  While I am by all means not a professional with UBD, I have been working through this approach for almost two years, unpacking my curriculum.  Being past the assessment stage, I can definitely see possibilities for combining this work with a hypercontent design model in my course management system (CMS).  In fact, I may even try this in the fall with grade 9 Social Studies: Governance & Rights.  Perhaps through this model, student engagement will increase when having to learn about the parliament because they will get to pick the order in which they learn it. Has anyone else tried this model? I am open to suggestions! 


Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of Distance Education (5th Ed.). Columbus, OH: Pearson.


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