Program Development That Makes Sense
Time after time, educators find themselves in the position to implement change. This change is designed to promote student learning and achievement in targeted and specific ways. It is meant to make the learning process more effective and efficient, yielding incredible results. There is no question as to the end goal of optimizing learning. The question lies in how to reach the end goal and see the incredible results.
Going from the starting point to the finish line while transitioning to a new initiative is something that educators have had to encounter on a regular basis. There never seems to be one particular way to make the shift; however, there is a framework of program development that makes sense and allows for a smooth transition with educational initiatives. This five-step framework of program development is simple and straightforward for educators to follow. It provides a logical path to follow in any initiative.
Step 1: Research – Research is the first step of program development. Educators must completely research any initiative in order to have a comprehensive understanding. Thorough research should be conducted prior to the start of the initiative. Research should continue during implementation as well as after the transition.
Step 2: Planning – The second step of program development is planning. Planning can be relatively easy or complex depending upon the specific initiative. The ease of planning also depends upon the school entity’s baseline or starting point. What is the current reality? What is the desired reality? The space between the two realities will help determine how much planning needs to occur in order to achieve success.
Step 3: Implementation – Although most people think of implementation as the final step, it is the third step of program development. There are three phases of implementation. There is the initial phase of implementation, the development phase of implementation, and the delivery phase of implementation. Each of the phases addresses the unique aspects of implementation that involve preparation, completing action steps, and program delivery.
Step 4: Evaluation and Feedback – Evaluation and feedback is step four and has two distinct purposes in program development. Evaluation is summative and views the initiative and its implementation in its entirety. Feedback is formative and drives the transition of the educational initiative. Both forms of this step are necessary for any kind of new initiative as they are designed to gather feedback from different stakeholders at different times.
Step 5: Ongoing Support – Ongoing support for an educational initiative is the final step of program development. Ongoing support is provided in areas such as staffing, resources, and professional development. Support for a new initiative is paramount to its success and should be provided to those who have participated in program development as well as for new employees.