It is no secret that the influence learning material developers has on the industry is vital but to what extend can we as roleplayers tolerate personal views instead of sticking to plain definitions and SAQA guidelines.

The alarming fact is that it slips through SETA processes and learners accept the course outlay and content as absolute truth.

We can however blaim the SETA's but there must be a way of influencing the developer directly by highlighting the fact that SAQA guidelines and definitions is sufficient and important and any other "agenda" whether it is political, personal or social is irrelevant.

If there is no sollution to this problem then I guess the line is drawn.


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Manus, a client's selection criteria for designers/developers of learning material and assessments based on SAQA-aligned qualifications and unit standards should include an evaluation of the designer/developer's views on such development - appropriate questions  asked during negotiation about development should reveal the designer's views and approach.

Marie, that is not always possible since many material are being bought of the shelf and you only realise that views has been written in when you read through the learner guides. It is easy to analyse the writers political views and even those regarding the economy ... the parts that has not been cut and paste. You will only select things you agree with.


I am pro-government but the policies and procedures and I do and learning material are not written in my views or dressed up in "red" however I have notice that material reflects views that are not necessary true. Hence the question of Manus, when does a developer cross the line. It should be written in an objective manner, pro-developmental of nature.


Cartoons deflicting government or ex-government officials is also crossing the line. I always say: you don't add anything of a political, religion or explicit value. You write totally "A". Articles of a political nature is also crossing the line. We must remember to respect the views of others, even when we don't agree. To produce work that does not further our interest but the interst of education and training.



One of the many possible perils of buying material 'off-the-shelf', along with - as you mention - 'the parts that have not been cut and paste. I have come across many providers who have burnt their fingers. And providers comment 'but they market themselves so well..' I understand that it might seem worthwhile to buy materials at bargain prices.. but shouldn't that wave a red flag for' buyers'? It takes days and up to two weeks to develop a programme based on one unit standard if the topic is properly researched, the content formulated in the developer's own words and meaningful formative and summative assessment activities developed. I have found that providers who are proud to present meaningful programmes are keen to have material that belongs to them and is not bought 'off a shelf'.

Marie, thank you for this reply. Yes - for me its the amount of work that I put into the material I develop that does lead to a "woolies"price instead of "pep stores"price. The thing is that many training companies/departments are not on top of the reality behind development and therefore are daft enough to go for cheapies. It does make me dissonant, but I do so love doing what I am doing and will still continue teaming up with others who hold quality dear!

I once heard that education and training was a calling and not a career - I couldn't understand it then.

SAQA Guidelines and applicable definitions = "Pep Stores"

SAQA Guidelines and applicable definitions + Customisation = "Woolies"


No traces of SAQA Guidelines and applicable definitions + No intention of Customisation = Trash

You do make me smile!

I have a much simpler approach: Irrespective of the monetary value, you deliver quality material, whether you do it for R156 000 or you only do it for R35 000 or R15 000 - you deliver quality material that have been properly research on the correct principles, have been developed by yourself and not "cut and paste" [I hate that function of Microsoft Office] and you deliver it to improve the standard of education, irrespective of your own believes or feelings.


Deliver a product you will feel comfortable to give to your child to be taught on and heavenly sake...let us just write according to the set principles of the topic...


Quality Material for a quality education and training system irrespective of what you are paid to do it.


Yes, Mari, it takes about 8 - 10 days to deliver a good product, you can write 5 days with 5 nights = 10 good days...

I think that this debate is long overdue. It is almost as if those never having been involved in the process of developing the learning experience has very little understanding of the expertise required and the extent of the input to ensure efficiency and usefulness. Hence the thinking that one could just purchase something off the shelve and shove it into the arms of a willing facilitator. 

Unfortunately the lack of proper expertise in evaluating such material for approval often is absent in the SETA stuctures, and therefore the market is flooded with lots of offerings at very enticing prices.

The principles of a free marker system applies - so I have little sympathy with those having paid for stuff that they did not bother to inspect or to have internally moderated at so-called bargain prices. My goodness, you don't purchase clothes and shoes without trying it on first, why would you think that all learning material will meet the same standard and automatically suit your purpose and customisation needs? Surely the willingness of the developer to present and explain the material as well as allowing time to inspect a sample should be a clue towards whom you should be doing business with?

But it's not an ideal world out there.....

Marie, that is impressive that you are able to produce good material in 5 days and 5 nights!! 

I am with Tass on this one! That shoddy work is getting through the SETA's (and sometimes good work being prevented for whatever reason - including that submissions are lost or that the author is not known to the ETQA representative) is most unfortunate and very frustrating!! 

Manus, the onus however, rests with the provider to provide quality training AND materials.  As such, the provider should take the neccessary time to  evaluate the material before taking possession of it.  I too have learnt my lesson the hard way, having bought material because of a time constraint, only to rewrite it anyway.  This does not mean that there is not good material out there!!  Some material is great!  If great material is what one wants, one must be prepared to pay for it.   

This is an extraction from my new book: The DNA of Great Teachers.

It is a bit out of the context of Manus's initial question, but it addresses the principle of design.

'Average teachers and learning material design consultants see the curriculum as synonymous with a ‘race course’ to be run by all learners in the same way within a specific timeframe.  They translate the curriculum outcomes into lessons, using one or more textbooks and if possible other references to amplify the curriculum’s purpose and intentions.

Great teachers and learning material design consultants see the curriculum as the prime guiding document indicating what learners must learn, but not how they should learn. They know all learners don’t have the same background and abilities and cannot run the course in the same way; they elevate learning activities from the curriculum which works for their specific learners."

What standards are aplicable to course developers?

What are the rules and regulations pertaining to course development?

Who establishe such rules if they exist and where can they be found?

If you can define the "line" it will be easier to say when a developer has crossed it. Problem is that many course developers establish their own lines or boundaries and that makes it difficult to define when the lne has been crossed. 

For that reason Manus I find it difficult to comment on your specific question.  

I think that Manus is also touching on ethics in this arena...facts not being checked and other personal view points creeping in... yes it is up to people who purchase off the shelve to check using the principles of authenticity, reliability, validity and is it measurable. The mine field we often deal with is that you have an influx of people who are new at developing either doing it after hours or as a "I dont have a job so will write"type situation. They develop without the skills that some of us have honed for years - and sell it at very very cheap prices and the material is not up to standard or have got it from "somewhere"put it in templates and sold it. They are in this to write and make a sale and quality is lost.

This leaves those of us who do this for a living because we LOVE it, find it being a service to the greater community; being painted/tainted as an industry as a whole... I develop because I want to contribute to the skills in this beloved country, I develop because I want material to be able to be sold again and again because its of such a high standard that people keep coming back to me... but I too am affected by "quick writes". However this is not going to stop me, in the end people will know who to go to!!


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