Materials packaging

Ross Woods, June, 2006


It's increasingly clear that people need to develop their materials into "ready to use" packages that are usable by people other than those who wrote them. We have lots of reasons for taking this direction:

What form will they take?
Many of them will be a CD of files or a website version of the CD.

How many units should it cover?
Most seem to cover a cluster of units. Some packages are just one unit, and a few cover a whole qualification.

What should be in it?
This will vary according to the package. Most packages will probably need most of the following:

How much progress have we made?
Not bad. We have a number of packages that are ready to go:

How much time will it take?
Hitting the right balance between doing a full edit to polish everything in the package and packaging them "as is" will be a hard call.

It's the law of diminishing returns; at some stage, fine-tuning materials just doesn't produce value for the extra time it takes. You want to have something good enough for other people to use (understandable, neat and tidy, no typos), but it's not usually a good idea to re-write the whole lot from scratch.

How idiot-proof should they be?
We want more than a  "Watch the video and read the discussion questions" approach. But they do need to be very easy to use.

Would it help people get the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment?
TAA students have to unpack the units from scratch, prepare sessions, write assessment tools, etc., so an instructor couldn't get the TAA for using ready-to-go packages. But they could get the TAA for writing and teaching them.

What about intellectual property rights?
In ACAS, they'd be subject to the same policy as anything else we write.

Why share?
Because that way, everybody gets better materials.

How can we be sure that a package meets different local needs?
That is, will one set of documents meet everybody's needs? You'll probably only know after you've used the materials with a variety of students and revised them a couple of times. In some cases, we know that it won't. For example, a Diploma of Management could be contextualized to be specifically Event Management, or it could be specifically training management.

What possibility of forking?
When is it good to have two different packages to do the same thing? When is it not good?

When should packaging be mandatory?
Hmmm, not sure yet. Watch this space, but it's certainly a good direction to head.

What about publication for a wider market?
It's a good idea if you want to dress them up for a network of people you know and provide them "as is." It's usually not a good idea to aim for a mass market. It's only feasible if: