When does a learning material developer cross the line?

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    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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    Marie Smith

    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.



    Marie Smith

    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’.

    Tass Schwab

    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!

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