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John Rogan, University of Pretoria, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan van den Akker, University of Twente, email@example.com
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Government and non-governmental organisations in South Africa are trying to develop successful HIV/AIDS
programmes (UNAIDS, 2002). The HIV/AIDS module, that is the subject of this study, is an example from one
of these initiatives. The module was drafted in 2001 by the Rainbow Biology Project, part of the Centre for
Science Education, at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. The aims of the Rainbow Biology Project have
included the design of biology modules for the teaching of challenging topics in secondary schools in South
Africa, and to promote excellence in the teaching of biology, keeping with the aims of C2005, the new
curriculum for South African education (DoE, 1997).
The Rainbow Biology HIV/AIDS module is designed for grade 11 learners. Many current HIV/AIDS
programmes are aimed at children in the 12 -14 age range (Wolff Schoeberlein, 1999). The Rainbow Biology
module therefore aims to fill the gap in the senior high school level by focusing on the 15 -17 age range. The
approach aligns with outcomes based education (DoE, 1997), as the module does not simply seek to transmit
information but encourages the learner to take on the role of active researcher. The module supports biology
educators in teaching the science of HIV/AIDS and the factors that influence its transmission. In this way,
learners are empowered to make informed decisions about behaviour.
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The initial design of the Rainbow Biology HIV/AIDS module was completed at the end of 2001. The processes
of formative evaluation, revision and preparing for implementation were scheduled for 2002. The aim of this
study has been to evaluate the design and pilot implementation of the Rainbow Biology HIV/AIDS module, in
order to arrive at a first revision, advise on a second revision and generate recommendations for further
implementation and research.
Evaluation of the design, and the pilot implementation of the Rainbow Biology HIV/AIDS module led to a first
revision, advised the second revision and generated recommendations for further implementation and research.
The aim of this study is to contribute to answering the following question: ‘:KDW LPSURYHPHQWV WR WKH 5DLQERZ
%LRORJ +,9$,'6 PRGXOH PLJKW RSWLPL]H LWV HIIHFWLYHQHVV¶ The conceptual framework presented in Table 1
(after Goodlad, 1979 cf. van den Akker, 1998) was used to divide this question into six specific research
1. What are the ideals of, and challenges faced by the developers of the HIV/AIDS module?
2. How does the HIV/AIDS module relate to the designers’ intentions, and to instructional
3. What were educators’ initial perceptions of the HIV/AIDS module?
4. What is the actual practice of the HIV/AIDS module in the classroom?
5. How do learners experience the HIV/AIDS module?
6. How are learners able to demonstrate their understanding of the science of HIV/AIDS before
and after experiencing the HIV/AIDS module?
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1. Ideal curriculum Describes the ideals and foundational tenets
2. Formal curriculum Reflects the curriculum as a written document
3. Perceived curriculum Interpretation of the curriculum by the users
4. Operational curriculum Presents itself in the actual learning situation
5. Experiential curriculum Experiences and the perceptions of the learner
6. Learned curriculum Presents the performances of the learners
The first stage in this research consisted of an exploration of the intended curriculum (ideas and material). Data
were gathered in two studies to address research questions 1 and 2. Designers who drafted the module were
questioned and the module was analysed.
The second (major) stage involved the collection of empirical information on the implemented and attained
curriculum. Two educators with different backgrounds, from two secondary schools, of different settings,
conducted a trial of the draft module in their classrooms. The data from these two studies were used to answer
research questions 3 and 4. The last two specific research questions were addressed by questioning the learners
from the classrooms of the two participating educators.
Although the 6 studies provided a wealth of data to answer the specific questions, it was necessary to also
consider other HIV/AIDS education evaluation studies. The literature review could only be conducted after the
data collection in South Africa, due to practical timing opportunities. The literature review explored the factors
that may influence the implementation of HIV/AIDS education. The findings of this exploration resulted in a
framework of relevant variables that supported the interpretation of the evaluation results.
The participants for the research in South Africa were:
Two members of the module’ s development team.
Two biology educators, from two secondary schools situated in district Gauteng, South Africa. One
educator is also the designer of the initial module. Both educators are skilled in teaching about HIV/AIDS.
Trial School 1 is a modern private school. Trial School 2 is a government school with a lack of physical
63 learners, from three grade 11 classes, at the two trial schools, see also Table 2.
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Learners 46 learners (2 classes of 21 and 25) 17 learners (1 class)
Age 15 (9%) 16 (67 %) 17 (24%) 16 (18 %) 17 (65 %) 18 (17 %)
Male / Female 46% male 54% female 41% male 59% female
Boy- or girlfriend 35 % 60 %
All learners received HIV/AIDS education in 16 learners received HIV/AIDS education in
previous grades previous grades
Mother tongue English Setswana
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The methods and instruments used were: interviews, document analysis, observation, questionnaire, and a pre-
A pre-structured interview was conducted with two members of the module’ s development team The objective
of the interview was to gain accurate insight into perceptions regarding HIV/AIDS education, and the aims of
the development team. The result was a summary of the of the Rainbow Biology Project’ s development team’ s
aims and challenges.
The Rainbow Biology HIV/AIDS module was critically studied. Information was gathered to find out the extent
to which the module reflects the ideals of the curriculum designers. The module was also analysed in relation to
instructional design standards. As a result, a summary was produced of the elements that were found in the
Two educators were interviewed to gain a better understanding of their perceptions regarding HIV/AIDS
education. These interviews were semi-structured; they contained questions linked to the module’ s objectives. A
summary of the perceptions of biology educators towards HIV/AIDS education, as described in the module, was
developed from this data.
The selected educators conducted a trial of the module in their grade 11 classes. The trials did not occur
simultaneously – Trial 2 was scheduled after the completion of Trial 1. Observation was used to assess how the
learners responded to the HIV/AIDS lessons.
The primary author of the module conducted the first trial. She presented the HIV/AIDS draft materials over a
period of five weeks to her two grade 11 classes (a total of 46 learners), as part of the biology curriculum. The
module was taught separately in each class. The implementation process in both classrooms was continuously
monitored [see Figure 1].
The second trial was conducted by an educator in a different secondary school. The educator taught the module
for six weeks. In this trial, 17 grade 11 learners voluntarily participated during sessions after school [see Figure
1]. The implementation process in the classroom was also continuously monitored in this study.
All participating learners (Q=63) completed a questionnaire containing 55 Likert-type items about their
experiences with the module. The responses to this questionnaire were coded for each variable and were
An a-select group of 14 learners (divided over the two trial schools) were also interviewed. For this purpose, a
pre-structured interview was used containing 19 questions relating to how they experienced the actual
implementation of the module. A summary was made of these interviews.
A One-Group-Pretest-Post-test Design (O1 X O2) was used in both trial schools, to measure the performances
of the learners after experiencing the module. All learners (Q=63) were given a pre-test to measure their prior
knowledge on HIV/AIDS issues. After experiencing the module all the learners were given the same test to
again measure their HIV/AIDS knowledge. The questions tested the learner’ s knowledge on three topics. The
responses to the pre- and post-test items were coded for each variable. The resulting data were statistically
analysed. A paired-samples t-test and frequency analysis were conducted to measure the possible differences
between the pre- and post-test.
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Initial improvements of the module were made in a 4-week period between the two trials. Aspects of structure,
lay-out and instruction were addressed. Some new elements were also added to the module. A second revision
of the module will be completed in early 2003, after the second trial. This revision will be more thorough, and
will be based on the outcomes of the two trials and the literature review. Figure 1 illustrates the overall design of
the study and moments of revision.
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O1: represents the pre-test in Trial School 1 O2: represents the post-test in Trial School 1 X1: represents the trial in School 1
O3: represents the pre-test in Trial School 2 O4: represents the post-test in Trial School 2 X2: represents the trial in School 2
R1: the first revision of the module R2: the second revision of the module
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The input for the framework (see Appendix) is based on the outcomes of several evaluation studies. The
structure of the framework is based on three educational models (van den Akker, 1998; Fullan, 2001; Norton
Dawson, 2000). The framework is divided into four blocks:
1. The first block summarises the factors that have influenced, and continue to influence, the
implementation of HIV/AIDS education. Successful policy must be innovative, and must support its
implementation, overcome difficulties, and empower others to take effective action against the
HIV/AIDS epidemic. Implementing HIV/AIDS education should be multi-sectoral, involving the
government, schools and the community. Policy development, together with the provision of financial
and/or technical support from national institutions, government authorities, local communities, school
environments and partners are essential for successful implementation.
2. The second block details four elements of the profile of a HIV/AIDS educator. Teachers are the leaders
to implement HIV/AIDS education and so also a role model. Educators will be well-positioned to lead
the development of HIV/AIDS education when HIV/AIDS educational programmes are successfully
implemented. Teachers must be up-to-date towards the teaching methods and HIV/AIDS issues and
there must be clarity about the HIV/AIDS programmes. The aims, objectives and implementation
strategies of HIV/AIDS programmes must be made clear and accessible to educators, who, in turn,
should be up-to-date with current teaching methods to be able to use the programmes effectively.
3. The third block describes the outcomes of HIV/AIDS education. The outcomes address the need for the
encouragement of active learners, and the transfer of the HIV/AIDS information.
4. The characteristics of a HIV/AIDS learners’ book are summarised in the fourth block. The learner’ s
book should address skills, knowledge, attitudes, and methods of gaining understanding of the
The six studies on the intended, implemented and attained curriculum, combined with the background and
literature study, proved to be valuable. From the findings, it can be concluded that the HIV/AIDS module would
assist the implementation of HIV/AIDS education in secondary schools by improving the learners’ knowledge,
skills, attitudes and understanding. The specific results of the six sub-studies are:
The development ideals are ambitious, aiming to change the participants from passive to active learners and
researchers. The approach is in line with the intended approaches and outcomes of the new curriculum in South
Africa (OBE C2005).
The module deals with peer and other social pressures, and provides many opportunities to practise skills. It uses
a variety of teaching/learning methods that involve and engage learners to help them to personalise the
information. The module is appropriate to the learner’ s age, experience and cultural background. The activities
range from discussions, role-plays, to experiments and simulations.
Both educators are trained to teach the subject of HIV/AIDS, and are willing to implement the module in their
classes. The educator teaching in the township area emphasised the impact of the lack of resources and time on
the implementation of the module. The private school educator has easier access to HIV/AIDS materials, and
was able to support the module with these extra resources. Support (such as slides, videos and simulation tools)
obviously optimizes the learning effect of the module.
Generally the learners were enthusiastic about the module, despite the fact that some information had been
positioned to the learners in HIV/AIDS programmes in previous grades. Learners wanted to learn more about
the scientific aspects of the HIV. It was remarkable that learners started vivid discussions during life skills
sessions, and matters such as relationships, sexuality and the risks of drug use were openly discussed, especially
in the township school. The role-playing, dialogues and drama-activities personalised the risks for learners. In a
few cases, scientific activities such as the condom test were regarded as a fun activity.
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The activities in the module encourage learners to actively participate and explore information about HIV/AIDS
issues. However, the development team should reconsider the outcomes expected from these activities,
according to their priorities. The way in which the module addresses these outcomes should then be checked.
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The module’ s presentation could be made more appealing if structure and lay-out is improved. This may also
contribute to optimizing the learning effect.
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The medical and scientific information, and biological facts of HIV/AIDS could be more strongly connected to
learners’ real-life situations. The development team could consider ways of increasing and/or emphasising the
scientific information in the module. More information on statistics (e.g. graphs) may improve learners’
awareness of the epidemic.
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For the next revision, consultation with learners at an early stage of programme design may be helpful to ensure
relevance. The participation of parents, community workers and people living with HIV/AIDS may help to
ensure inclusion of the real-life component. This approach may also help to address any problems in a culturally
and socially appropriate way.
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The module could include guidelines for assessment and evaluation instruments. These guidelines could assist
educators to evaluate knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviours at various stages while conducting the
Further research is necessary for the effective implementation of the module. The following areas have been
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The presentation of instruction and procedures can be explored further. The development team could investigate
new elements that could be added to optimize the effect of the module. Implementation of this module on a
large scale could be compromised - some activities will be less effective because the material does not take
wider political, religious, or cultural issues into account. The condom experiments, where the learners fill the
condom with lead, are an example of this.
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According to Campbell and Lubben (2002), science education is the right place for learners to meet issues
related to HIV/AIDS. The first task for the designers, when implementing the module within the biology
curriculum, should be to conduct more research on the learners’ environment. This is important because learners
may not necessarily share the developers’ attitudes on HIV/AIDS issues. The information is also necessary to
establish the most appropriate grade at which introduction of the programme would be most effective. The
results of such research will have a direct impact on the rest of the curriculum design.
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The Rainbow Biology Project intends to support educators by providing workshops. It is necessary to question
whether or not workshops are the most effective way to support the development of skilled educators. A study
conducted by Campbell and Lubben (2002) in Namibia showed that HIV/AIDS education programmes for
educators were mostly unbalanced, focussing only on knowledge about the disease and the mechanisms of
van den Akker, J.J.H.: 1998, ‘The science curriculum: between ideals and outcomes’ , in B.J Fraser K.G
Tobin (eds.), ,QWHUQDWLRQDO +DQGERRN RI 6FLHQFH (GXFDWLRQ, Kluwer Academic Publishers,
Campbell B. Lubben F.: 2002, ‘Science teaching and HIV/AIDS education in Namibian secondary
schools’ , proceedings SAARMSTE, pp. III - 35-40. University of Natal, Durban.
Department of Education,: 1997, ‘Outcome based education in South Africa’ [online], Available from:
Goodlad, J. 1979, XUULFXOXP ,QTXLU WKH 6WXG RI XUULFXOXP 3UDFWLFH, McGraw-Hill, New York.
Fullan, M.G.: 2001, 7KH 1HZ 0HDQLQJ RI (GXFDWLRQDO KDQJH, 3th ed., Teachers College Press, New York.
Norton J. Dawson, C.: 2000, ‘Life skills and HIV/AIDS education’ , in A. Dyk , +,9$,'6 DUH
RXQVHOOLQJ, D 0XOWLGLVFLSOLQDU $SSURDFK CTP Book Printers, Cape Town.
UNAIDS.: 2002, ‘The report on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic’ , 14th International Conference on AIDS,
Barcelona, 7-12 July 2002.
Wolff, W.J. Schoeberlein, D.R.: 1999, ‘The status of middle level HIV/STD education as assessed by state
and local education agencies’ , -RXUQDO RI 6FKRRO +HDOWK, vol. 69, no. 6, pp. 239-242.
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support HIV/AIDS target members of framework that educators who implement
education the communities clearly state the HIV/ AIDS education
Create a supportive and affected by goals on HIV/AIDS Learn and support the use of
enabling policy HIV/AIDS education peer educating in the school
environment for School-community Monitor and Provide quality HIV/AIDS
programming HIV/AIDS partnerships evaluate regularly materials and financial and
education in the Educators must Stimulate peer- technical support for its
curriculum improve their educating implementation
Support openness about status as a role- Safe, supportive Provide educator guidelines
all aspects of HIV/AIDS model in the class and open school for implementing
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Critical thinking skills HIV/AIDS able to develop and its impact
Social skills How their bodies solid values that The HIV/AIDS facts
Communication skills and minds work will guide the Possible future benefits of
Decision-making skills What HIV/AIDS decision making HIV/AIDS education
Skills to get access to the problems they may Respect to people‘s The connections between
health services to which experience and rights and values wrong choices and risky
they are entitled how to deal with Confrontation with behaviour
Solving / negotiation such a problems prejudices and Manifestation of negative
skills to be able to make How to prevent stereotypes and undesirable
positive correct decisions HIV infection Discussing the consequences of risky
in their lives Medical and issue of gender behaviour
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community activism about HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS stigma The correct information