TEL Library Information Science
Innovating learning content design and delivery means working with information both as an integrated whole and as independent, organic pieces. It means creating a curriculum in which topics and key concepts are connected between courses and subjects, and where lessons can be reordered or combined easily across disciplines without sacrificing product integrity, learning design goals, and information scaffolding.
We begin the content design process at TEL Library with the creation of subject taxonomies for a specific domain or 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. Next, we review the detailed tables of content from both commercial and open textbooks, syllabi from different types of institutions, 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 most people. Our goal is to create an information structure that different types of people — life learners, traditional students, teachers, and librarians — can peruse and know where to find or place content.
Once we have created 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 add “related terms,” from other subject taxonomies within 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 Macroeconomics and American Government, or Literature and Western Civilization and Introduction to Christianity.
Integrating Learning Design
At TEL Library, we design our information to deliver specific learning experiences or outcomes. We think of content information as being “activated” when it is framed within our lesson 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 used – text, media, or interactive assignment – we ensure that all our key concepts provide the proper contextualization, elaboration, and relevance, and they promote learning agency and information mastery. 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.
Mapping to Educational Values
The concept taxonomies that serve as the foundation for our products also enable mapping educational values — literacies and competencies — to specific lesson concepts. 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 understanding and competency development for personal and professional flourishing. In addition, these educational values 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.