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By Soledad Mina Roguel


This lesson discusses what an instructional module is all about, its parts, and the
different formats used in writing it. Also included are pointers in writing instructional
objectives and some tips for effective writing.

Modules allow the learners to go through the material at their own pace. They
may be used for self-instruction or to complement instruction. Knowing how to write
learning material in module format is an important skill that trainers should develop.


At the end of this presentation, you are expected to:

1. Define what an instructional module is.
2. Discuss the different components of a module.
3. Write objectives in behavioral terms.
4. Discuss some tips in effective writing.

What is a module?
Russel (1974) defines module as an instructional package dealing with a single
conceptual unit of subject-matter. Modules are designed to help the students accomplish
certain well-defined objectives. With the use of a module, instruction can be
individualized. The learners can go through the material at their own pace and at their
own time. They may also be used to complement instruction.

What are the components of a module?

The format and style of a module may differ depending on its purpose and the
institution where it is developed. See Table 1 for a comparison of different module
formats. As agreed upon in one of the meetings of the Technology Promotion Program,
for the training manual that will be produced at PhilRice, the components of each module
should be title, overview, objectives, discussion of content, self-check test and evaluation
activities, and references. A brief description of each part follows:

Title. It showss the specific topic of the module. A good title should be clear,
concise, and reflective of its content.

Overview. It serves us the introduction of the module and describes jts scope
and rationale. The overview summarizes the content and importance of the module. In
some modules, this section is called introduction, prospectus, or rationale.
Table 1. Comparison of Module Formats

Duldulao (2000) IRRI PCARRD (1997)
Title Title Title Title -
About the Module Prospectus Rationale Scope
Description and
Topic Opener Rationale Overview
Objectives & Topics Objectives Objectives Objectives
Suggested Discussion of Discussion of
Methodology Topics Topics
Materials/visuals Resources Self-check Test &
References Requirement
Evaluation Topics Reference

Objectives. A common feature of most modules is a statement oflearning

objectives. They explain the knowledge, skills, and attitudes you warlt to teach. They
should be stated in terms of the learners' behaviors. Objectives a11o\" you to focus and
organize the information you would like to present. They also help the learners do self

Verbs such as "know" and "understand" are vague and do not tell us what the
learners will be doing to demonstrate their understanding. See Table 2 for a list of
specific verbs that may be used in stating your instructional objectives. Remember the
acronym SMART when writing your objectives.

S - pecific
M - easurable
A ttainable
R - ealistic
T - ime bound

Discussion. In IRRI and Duldulao's models, objectives and topics are presented
together. The suggested format is to present all the objectives at the beginning and the
presentation of content follows based on the stated objectives.

What information should be included in a training module? Minnick (1989)

classified materials that may be included in any instructional material as:

1. need to know
2. nice to know
3. less nice to know
4. barely relevant
5. might be used someday
For purposes of training, the materials should be limited to the "need to know"
information that are vital and important. Furthermore, organize your content for clarity.
As Reddout (1987) noted, the structure is almost as important as the content. Organize
your material from simple to complex. Include pictures, diagrams, and other illustrations
that may help clarify the information presented including exercises and hands-on
activities that the learners should engage in. Emphasize the scientific principles and the
"why" in the topics being presented.

Evaluation. A self-check test, exercise, or other means of assessing learning

outcomes are common features of a module. Follow-up activity or topics for discussion to
reinforce learning may also be included.

References. This a list of books or guides used in preparing the module or other
materials that may be consulted for further understanding or appreciation of the lesson

Another consideration is the style that you should use. Should it be formal,
informal, or conversational? Decide on the treatment you wish to adapt for your module.
Regardless of the style used, what is important is clarity arid simplicity.

Tips for Effective Writing

Van Daele (1995) gives a number of suggestions on writing training manuals

that are easy to read. They are as follows:
Write for your audience
Organize your material
Rewrite, revise, and edit your material
Use charts and illustrations to support your message Identify your subject
Use clear, short, familiar words
Eliminate unnecessary words
Keep sentences short and simple
Use the active voice
Use the imperative mood
Use notes'
Use emphasis
Use ordering techniques.
Use point form
Avoid using only male pronouns.


Instructional modules are learning materials designed primarily for independent

or self-study. They may also be used to complement instruction. The recommended
components of the module for PhilRice training manuals are title, overview, objectives,
discussion of topics, self-check test and evaluation activities and references. What is
important to remember is to write your objectives in behavioral terms, focus on the need-
to-know kind of information, and to write clearly and simply.

Duldulao, Virginia A. Let's Produce More Rice (A Training Manual). Muoz,

Nueva Ecija: Department of Agriculture. Philippine Rice Research Institute, 2000.

Integrating Alternative Approaches to Infrastructure Development and Transport

Planning (IDTP) into the Educational and Research Programs of CLSU and Other
Institutions. A Terminal Report. CLSU-ILO Project, 2000.

Minnick, Dan R. A Guide to Creating Self-Learning Materials, Los Baos,

Laguna: IRRI, 1989.

Reddout, D.J. Manual Writing Made Easier. Training and Technology Journal.
April, 1987.

Russel, J.D:- Modular Instruction. Minneapolis: Burgess Publishing Co., 1974.

Strategic Communication Planning and Management: A Package of Training

Modules. Los Banos, Laguna: PCARRD,1997.

Van Daele, C.A. 50 One-Minute Tips for Trainers. Menlo Park, CA: Crisp
Publication, Inc., 1995.

Evaluation: Self -Check Test

1. What is an instructional module?

2. What are the components of an instructional module we wish to
develop for PhilRice?
3. Why are objectives important?
4. What are the characteristics of a good instructional objective?
Table 1. List of Specific Verbs Based on Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives in
the Cognitive Domain

Knowledge Comprehension. Application

Define Translate Interpret
Record Discuss Apply
List Describe Employ
Recall Recognize Use
Name Explain Demonstrate
Relate Express Dramatize
Underline Identify Practice
Repeat Locate Illustrate
Review Operate
Report Schedule
Tell Sketch
Analysis Synthesis Evaluation

Criticize Compose Judge

Distinguish Plan Appraise
Analyze Propose Evaluate
Differentiate Design Rate
Appraise Formulate Compare
Calculate Arrange Value
Experiment Assemble Revise
Compare Collect Score
Diagram Construct Select
Test Create Choose
Relate Set-up Assess
Examine Organize Estimate
Categorize Manage Measure
Relate Prepare