Darrell A. Dromgoole, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Erika Bochat, Regional Program Leader for Family and Community Health/4-H and Youth Development, Southeast Region, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Stacey Dewald, Graduate Assistant, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Katy Gottwald, Extension Program Specialist I, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Michelle Payne, Extension Program Specialist I, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
After issues are identified, priorities established, a situation is defined, the target audience is identified and described, and intended outcomes and objectives are defined it is time to move to the design phase of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Services Program Development Model. There are two steps associated with this phase as follows:
A design is the outline of an educational program from the beginning until the program is concluded. In this context, a program refers to multiple learning experiences over time—educational events and resources presented and delivered in a purposeful, sequential manner and intended to produce a change in the target audience (Ripley, Cummings, Lockett, Pope, Wright, Payne, Kieth & Murphrey, 2011). A key consideration is to determine what context or process is necessary to empower clientele to solve the problem or resolve the issue (Seever & Graham, 2012).
Content may be different when serving the needs of each target audience in order to achieve the desired results (Seever & Graham, 2012). In an effort to ensure that programming is sequential, educational content needs to be sequenced logically for effective learning to occur (Seever & Graham, 2012). There are numerous resources available to Extension Educators for developing and selecting program content. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has a built-in internal network of content specialists (Seever & Graham, 2012). This network may include other County Extension Agents and Subject Matter Specialists (Seever & Graham, 2012). In addition, a standardized curriculum exists for many Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s programs.
In order to design an educational program, determine what needs to be taught, develop the content, and decide how to deliver it efficiently and effectively the following factors should be considered (Ripley et al., 2011):
Often, Extension Educators fail to consider the many factors that affect learning and rate of adoption (Ripley et al., 2011). People learn about a subject by building on previous information (Ripley et al., 2011). Because people learn best through multiple learning experiences, educators should use more than one teaching method (Ripley et al., 2011). Design the program to cover the material over an extended period, allowing for the target audience members to build on their knowledge and change their behavior through a strategic process (Ripley et al., 2011).
When planning program delivery methods, Extension Educators should consider the following questions (Seever & Graham, 2012):
When considering program delivery methods it should be recognized that individuals in your target audience have different learning styles. Learning styles can be best described as simply different approaches or ways of learning. There are three primary learning styles: visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic (Ripley et al., 2011). Figure 1 illustrates teaching methods appropriate for various learning styles (Ripley et al., 2011):
Although issues, problems, technologies, and opportunities change, real learning and genuine impacts are achieved when engaged learners have a vested interest in the topic and a variety of delivery methods are utilized to reach them (Ripley et al., 2011).
Ripley, J., Cummings, S, Lockett, L., Pope, P., Wright, M., Payne, M., Kieth, L., & Murphrey, T. (2011). Creating Excellent Programs. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Publication. E-345. Retrieved from http://agrilifecdn.tamu.edu/od/files/2010/03/E345.pdf
Seevers, B., & Graham, D. (2012). Education through Cooperative Extension. (3rd ed.). Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Bookstore.