Each module consists of fifteen study sessions. Each study session is designed for approximately two hours of independent study time and follows a standard template. This provides users with a familiar framework and so makes it easier to plan study activities. The main components of each study session are as follows:
- a title that concisely and clearly describes the session contents
- an introduction that lays out what will be covered in the study session
- learning outcomes, each tested by at least one SAQ (see below)
- core content, text with illustrations, diagrams, graphs, examples etc.
- key terms that are highlighted and defined
- in-text questions (ITQs), short questions with answers immediately following
- a summary, which includes a numbered list of key points covered in the study session
- at the end of each study session there are between three and six self-assessment questions (SAQs) – students attempt the questions independently, but also learn from the provided answers which are provided at the back of the module.
The structure creates a learning pathway for the student that links the components in a narrative route through the text. They can track the introduction of a topic and a statement of the corresponding goal in a learning outcome, through the relevant section of core content to the summary points and SAQs at the end. Table 1 describes some of these components in more detail and highlights the reasons why they are included in each study session.
Table 1 Purpose of study session components.
|Learning outcomes||A set of statements that indicate what students should have achieved by the time they have completed a particular study session.||
Learning outcomes are the goals. They are important tools for both teachers and students.
For teachers, learning outcomes provide a way of making it clear to students what they are expected to have accomplished by the end of a study session. Learning outcomes indicate a knowledge outcome (what the teacher wants students to know) or a skill outcome (what the teacher wants students to be able to do).
For students, learning outcomes highlight what is expected of them. Outcomes provide a way for students to assess their own learning. For example, students should be encouraged to turn learning outcomes into questions and see if they can answer them.
|Key terms||Important terms, highlighted in bold type, that students should be familiar with by the time they complete the study session.||Students can often feel overwhelmed by the number of ideas, concepts and principles that they encounter in a lesson. The highlighted terms are the words and concepts that they really need to focus on and understand by the end of the study session. In the printed modules, the key terms are listed together at the back. In the online version, a glossary is also provided.|
|Core content||Text authored by experts, covering the topics outlined by the module title and learning outcomes.||
OpenWASH modules provide new teaching material and can also reinforce or complement existing teaching and curriculum.
Teachers in a classroom setting should integrate this material into a lesson, and not just read out the text to a class. Instead, teachers are ‘learning guides’, creating lessons that comprise short talks and activities based on the OpenWASH materials (see Section 5).
|In-text questions (ITQs)||Brief questions embedded within the core content that learners are expected to complete as they read through the modules.||ITQs encourage students to pause in their study and briefly reflect on what they have learned. The ITQs are based on preceding sections of the study session or may refer back to earlier study sessions in the same module, or invite students to consider how their own experiences are relevant to the topic. This reinforces prior learning and encourages students to reflect on what they have read. Some ITQs could be used as triggers for class discussion.|
|Summary||A brief overview of the main concepts covered in the study session.||The summary brings together the key ideas and concepts from the different parts of the study session. For teachers, the summary (and any subsequent discussion) can be used to recap important ideas and concepts at the end of the lesson.|
|Self-assessment questions (SAQs)||Another set of tools for learners and teachers to use to evaluate learning achievements in the session.||
We outlined above how students should be encouraged to transform learning outcomes into questions that can help them assess their learning. That task is essentially completed for them in the SAQs that appear at the end of each session. They can be used to test the student’s knowledge of the material.
At least one SAQ tests the student’s understanding of the key terms introduced in that session.
The consistent length of the study sessions is intended to make it easier to plan your schedule for study. Note that the module total of 30 hours of independent study is intended to be a guide only. This will obviously vary depending on the mode of study, depth of learning, individual capability, etc.