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When choosing instructional materials, keep the following criteria in mind:

  • Quality: make sure your content related materials are from credible sources in the field and that your materials for facilitating activities are up to industry standard.

  • Relevance/Alignment: Your content materials should provide students with all they need in order to achieve your learning outcomes. Your assessments must test the learning outcomes as they are stated. The scaffolding materials you provide should actually help learners understand the material better rather than confuse them further. The equipment that you purchase should not be superfluous. It should be necessary for learning.

  • Equitable: Make sure that you do not require your learners to have access to something they may not have the privilege to access. For example, laptops and the internet are not readily available to everyone. Be sure to have a backup plan for those who do not have access.

  • Varied: Prepare materials of all different forms: texts, audio, visual, and physical. The deepest learning occurs when we have the opportunity to experience the content from a variety of different modalities. For example, if you are trying to learn how to change the oil in your car you might read an instructional manual, watch a youtube video and try to physically do it while someone orates the instructions to you. This sequence of modalities taps into our auditory, visual, and kinesthetic parts of the brain.

Here is an article that offers additional advice on what you should consider when choosing the appropriate instructional material:

Summing Up

When planning your day to day instruction and instructional materials, make sure that all of your decisions are driven by your learning goals. Being clear about learning goals will ensure that they are achieved. Choose accompanying materials that will guide and help your students towards these outcomes. Choose assessments that will truly get at the knowledge that you want them to have. Along the way, be prepared to be flexible with your instruction as you respond to your learners’ needs and challenges.