EdBooks Information Science
Innovating content and delivery means seeing information both as an integrated whole and as individual, organic pieces. It means creating a curriculum in which topics and key concepts are seamlessly connected between courses and subjects, and where lessons can be arranged without sacrificing product integrity, learning design goals, and information scaffolding.
The EdBooks information process begins with the creation of a subject taxonomy for a specific product. We create this taxonomy with input from subject matter experts and by evaluating other taxonomies or thesauri already being used in the subject domain. In our case, that means reviewing the detailed tables of content from both commercial and open textbooks, syllabi from different institution types, and topic trees used by national organizations associated with the domain. Through these efforts, we are able to create a normalized topic and concept structure that will seem clear to everyone.
Once we have completed the basic subject taxonomy, we add keywords and editorial notes that correspond to our key concepts. These allow us to further define and contextualize concepts, and to ensure that we are accounting for the different lessons in which concepts may be taught or referenced. Finally, we will add “related terms,” from other subject taxonomies in our curriculum so that traditional relationships between key concepts are established across our products. This makes it possible for us to anticipate and plan for the use of standardized concept presentations and term definitions across different products, such as EdBooks Economics and EdBooks American Government.
Adding Key Values
The next step in our information design process is to layer in key values related to a concept. These values serve a number of purposes. First, they establish a useful bridge between “what” information we are highlighting and “how” that information can be connected to character and competency development for personal and professional success in the 21st century. In addition, our key values also provide a connection between information and learning design. Knowing the recommended purpose of a concept with regards to literacies and competencies helps us identify the best learning and collaboration activities to reinforce those values.
Integrating Learning Design
At EdBooks, we design our information to deliver specific learning experiences or outcomes. We think of content information as being “activated” when it is linked to one of our learning environments. This means thinking about the best way to present a concept and make it relevant, and to encourage agency, knowledge acquisition, and mastery. Regardless of the particular learning content – traditional, hybrid, or online – we ensure that all our key concepts are properly contextualized, elaborated, relevant, promoting agency, and leading to knowledge acquisition. Combining learning design with our information framework also makes it easy for us to work with third-party and open resources, and to map those to EdBooks lessons.
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