Farm animals orientation

Notes on designing modules using Farm animals as an example.

Farm animals modules; You are right in your interpretation of the content for animals modules. I always think, if I was in that position eg starting a sheep herd or thinking about what animals to introduce, what information would I need. You as tutor of course will think up things the client hasn’t thought of (maybe badly put).

Did you see my guidelines for prospective mentors?

This is the way I start planning modules. It is called Integrated Cognitive Task Analysis. In simple terms the trainer / tutor analyses the content in a table.

Orientation – introductory level concepts

Expert – what is expected of a person at the expert or competent level.

Then left to right, concepts can be divided into Structural knowledge – eg ‘facts’ basic concepts

Procedural – skills would be closest to what we mean here

Strategic – the sorts of thinking expected which indicates or requires any sort of mental analysis or organisation. eg heuristics or rules of thumb.

Last, knowledge that indicates or requires conceptual understanding eg mental models.

After doing that I get out pencil and paper (yes you heard right) and do a rough concept map to help me understand how to stitch it all together. This helps get the balance right and you can seen inconsistencies and overlap more clearly.

Then I do an 8 to 10 point Topics list with brief summary – much like what the prospective client sees.

My impression of how Animals / livestock modules should develop. You will see how I used mainly Orientation and Basic concepts and skills for the first module. Then I took out more of the expert and higher level mental ‘skills’ for the second module.

OK you can argue that this is a bit of overkill but I’m hoping that this will produce more rigorous and logical, cohesive content, considering the users perspective by starting at the knowledge base of that topic and analysing what is takes to become good at something being eg a sheep farmer!

Just a couple of points that come to mind:

Probably better to have too many resources. The tutor can help the client focus. Also it might create interest by the client to investigate other topics.

I like to think that for these courses the ‘assessment’ is really defined in terms of concrete outcomes. Eg after a module can I be confident that the client will be able to do something eg diagnose a sheep health problem or will have a year health and treatment plan on paper.

11.23Farm animals – getting started.

This module introduces concepts and tasks common to keeping all farm animals. Introductory level. It includes options for for choosing farm animals, housing and fencing management. It also covers basics of nutrition, feeding, breeding and health. Depending on individual interests the focus can be on specific groups such as dairy, beef or sheep.

Structural knowledge Procedural Strategic / Heuristic approaches Mental models
Orientation Moving, breeding stock, finding stock, differences in physiology eg digestion. Basic procedures eg trimming, Administering medicines,
Expert performance Differences in scale – facilities needed, handling animals for health treatments etc, Reproductive cycles, basic physiology. Handling sick animals
Development / Time / Process  

11.24Farm animals – building integrated management skills.

For this module the focus can be dairy, beef or sheep or other animals. Advanced level. Includes animal production and products, more advanced topics in nutrition, feed-base, breeding and health.

Outcomes: With the help of your mentor draw up a plan that includes housing, grazing and feeding strategy, supplying balanced feed, breeding program, strategies for dealing with common health and disease issues, yearly health, breeding and maintenance program.

Structural knowledge Procedural Strategic / Heuristic approaches Mental models
Orientation Breeding cycle, nutrition. Specific metabolism / nutrition solutions. Health and welfare procedures. Immunisations, drenches Supplying feed from difference sources.
Expert performance Specific animal health issues   Herd health. Diagnosing common health and disease issues.
Development / Time / Process Disease prevention and management, Herd management, development and breeding for production.