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close this bookEducational Handbook for Health Personnel (WHO; 1998; 392 pages)
View the documentObjectives of the Handbook
View the documentPreface
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentFor whom is this Educational Handbook intended?
View the documentHow to use the Handbook
View the documentIdentification of your needs as an educator
View the documentList of educational objectives
View the documentTheoretical background that will help you reach the educational objectives of the workshop
View the documentRecapitulative table of exercises proposed in the Handbook
open this folder and view contentsChapter 1: Priority health problems and educational objectives
open this folder and view contentsChapter 2: Evaluation planning
close this folderChapter 3: The teaching-learning concept and programme construction
View the documentPlanning and conducting an educational programme
View the documentThe four c's of curriculum planning
View the documentThe purpose of teaching is to facilitate learning1
View the documentTeaching
View the documentTeaching: a complex but challenging task
View the documentTeaching techniques
View the documentWhy problem-based learning (PBL)?
View the documentThe action and concept tree
View the documentSelf-learning packages
View the documentThe concept of integrated teaching
View the documentThe concept of integrated learning
View the documentPlanning the changes required to bring about programme reform
View the documentFeasibility study for the construction of an educational programme1
View the documentSpecification tables
open this folder and view contentsChapter 4: Test and measurement techniques
View the documentChapter 5: How to organize an educational workshop
View the documentChapter 6: Index and glossary
View the documentChapter 7: Bibliography
View the documentBack Cover

Specification tables


A specification table, or double-entry table, is a kind of check list enabling you, when you prepare a programme or an examination, for example, to make sure that the appropriate parameters have been taken into account. It sometimes happens that even the best-intentioned teachers who have made an effort to define educational objectives go on to prepare a programme or an examination which, when analysed, appears to neglect them completely. In order to “force” yourself to bear these objectives in mind, you would be well advised to make use of specification tables; they will help you to relate each part of the programme directly to a given objective. In other words, “every part of a programme or an examination should correspond to an objective”, and “every objective should have a corresponding element in the programme or examination”. That is the price of relevance.

How to use a Specification Table

One example of a specification table (p. 1.39) has enabled you to have a brief overview of both a teaching programme and a series of examinations.

A second example (p. 2.38) showed you how to compare different evaluation methods using selected criteria.

A third example (in this chapter, p. 3.70) has helped you to compare two teaching methods, using other selected criteria.

A fourth example will be given in the next chapter (pp. 4.70 - 4.72). By means of another exercise, you will be able to make a qualitative analysis of a series of tests (the exercises in the Handbook).

These four exercises will have allowed you to see what an extremely useful tool a specification table may be in educational decision-making.

Remember to construct one whenever that seems advisable.



Describe in chart form the type of organization (commissions, committee, councils etc, with a list of the functions of each) which you think could be set up in the institution where you are teaching with a view to introducing (or improving) a relevant programme. Compare your chart with that on page 3.92.





The classically rigid, inflexible departmentalization of faculties of medicine is probably the greatest single obstacle to educational reform.

D. Maddison
Dean, Fac. of Med.
University of Newcastle, N.S.W., Australia



Describe the obstacles you are likely to meet in setting up the type of organization that you described on the preceding page, and the tactics you could use to overcome them.










An educational system will never achieve its full potential in the preparation of health professionals if it continues to guard jealously individual and departmental autonomy and to maintain a lofty aloofness from the health care system.

G.E. Miller 1977

Obstacles to change



Dynamic conservatism
Institutional bureaucracy's built-in resistance to change
Complexity of programme change
Lack of institutional resources
Lack of model upon which to base changes

J. Bryant

Example of organizational chart of an integrated programme planning mechanism



Solid lines represent direct lines of administrative decision-making.


Shaded lines represent advisory functions.



(Check your answers on page 3.98)

Important: Select only one reply to each question.

Question 1

According to present educational trends, all the following statements are true, except one. Which one is false?

A. A systematic approach facilitates the choice of learning situations and evaluation methods.

B. The modern trend in educational practice is to transfer part of the teacher's role to the student.

C. Present educational trends seem to lay more stress on the student than on the teacher.

D. The student's judgement of the value of an educational programme is perhaps more valid than that of the teachers.

E. The primary role of the teacher is to transmit knowledge in the field of his specialty.

Question 2

Learning is made easier by an educational situation in which the teacher does all the following things except one. Which is inappropriate?


A. The teacher encourages the student to be active.

B. The teacher helps the student to discover concepts.

C. The teacher makes frequent checks of the student's level.

D. The teacher encourages individual learning.

E. The teacher gets the student to participate in educational decision-making.

Question 3

The many definitions of learning include all the following characteristics except one. State which.


A. A more or less permanent change occurs in the student's behaviour.

B. It is not directly observable.

C. Repetition by the student is a favourable factor.

D. The role of the teacher is primordial.

E. Motivation is an essential element.

Questions 4 to 7

Indicate for each of the following questions whether reference is made to:


A. an epidiascope
B. an overhead projector
C. a slide projector

Question 4

Can project outlined figures (or letters) on a transparent support (25 × 25 cm) so that they can be read in a lighted room.

Question 5

Can project outlined figures (or letters) on opaque paper so that they can be read in a darkened room.

Question 6

Is also called a diascope.

Question 7

Can project outlined figures (or letters) on a transparent support (50 × 50 mm; 24 × 36 mm) so that they can be read in a darkened room.

Question 8

A self-learning package must include at least three of the following elements. Indicate which:


1. A short statement of the subject.
2. The statement of the educational objectives.
3. A definition of the required level.
4. The full documentation needed.
5. Diagrams, photographs or slides.
6. A formative measuring device.



A if the elements are 1, 2 and 6
B if the elements are 1, 3 and 5
C if the elements are 2, 4 and 6
D if the elements are 3, 4 and 5
E if the elements are any other choice

Question 9

Upon which of the following criteria for the choice of teaching material does the quality of relevance depend?

The material should:


A. be appropriate to educational objectives;
B. promote active student involvement;
C. be appropriate to the students;
D. be of good technical quality;
E. be very cheap.

Questions 10 to 16

If a lecture course is denoted by X, and a self-learning package by Y.



A if the method described is consistent only with X
B if the method described is consistent only with Y
C if the method described is consistent only with both X and Y
D if the method described is consistent only neither X nor Y

Question 10

A method which places the student in an active situation.

Question 11

A method which allows the student to attain a given educational objective.

Question 12

A method which provides the student with feedback on his progress.

Question 13

A method which requires the student to work in a team.

Question 14

A method which allows the student to work at his own pace.

Question 15

A method which appears to be economical in time and in means.

Question 16

A method which emphasizes self-measurement.

Question 17

Among the educational objectives to be reached by a class of 250 students of the same year is the following: “to be able to measure the height when lying down of a newborn baby using a portable scale”. Criteria: maximum error of ± 0,5 cm in 90% of measurements.

Supposing that each student has to spend eight weeks in an MCH (Maternal and Child Health) centre in the course of his training, list in order of decreasing efficiency the following four teaching methods:


1. A 30 minute lecture to the 250 students in a lecture room, followed by a demonstration by the instructor.

2. A 30 minute lecture followed by practical exercises of the technique by the students in groups of 25, each group spending two hours with the instructor in rotation.

3. A demonstration of the technique by an instructor followed by practical exercises by the students in groups of 25, each group spending two hours with the instructor in rotation.

4. Each student receives a handout with diagrams during the training period; valid certifying tests are checked by the instructor on request by the student.



A. if the order of decreasing efficiency is 1234
B. if the order of decreasing efficiency is 2413
C. if the order of decreasing efficiency is 3142
D. if the order of decreasing efficiency is 4321

Question 18

When preparing a part of the programme whose aim is to stimulate the student's originality in looking for solutions to problems, the most suitable group of learning activities is:


A. The students participate in courses and demonstrations by teachers with a very creative attitude who are themselves excellent research workers.

B. The students participate in laboratory and field exercises during which they reproduce basic experiments.

C. The students participate in a series of hospital, field and laboratory activities, and must present the solutions arrived at in clear terms.

D. The students participate in hospital, field and laboratory activities and must write a report describing the experiments in which they have participated.

Question 19

According to L. Weed, all the following statements are true except one. Which is untrue?


A. Length of training should be fixed in advance for a given group of students depending on the type of degree.

B. The student should be able to define his own work objectives within an organized system of medical care.

C. An understanding of basic principles should result from the students' confrontation with practical problems.

D. The lasting ability to recall depends for the most part on repeated use.

Question 20

A programme specification table (double-entry table):


A. Is a table giving details of a teaching programme (timetable, premises, etc.).

B. Is a list of contents giving detailed instructions concerning programmed learning.

C. Is a control sheet for checking the specificity of the educational objectives.

D. Is a control sheet for checking whether the elements of the programme are related to the educational objectives.

Congratulations! You have attempted to work out a programme corresponding to your subject.


But be careful


Make sure once more that it agrees with the functions and tasks in your professional profile

Pay unfailing attention to relevance

Effective teaching can be more dangerous than no teaching at all if it is not really relevant

Suggested answers for the exercise on pages 3.93 - 3.97



Suggested Answers

If you did not give the right answer, reread the following pages.



3.05 to 3.10, 3.16, 3.17



3.21 to 3.29



3.21 to 3.29















3.61 to 3.66






3.39 to 3.66



3.39 to 3.66



3.39 to 3.66



3.39 to 3.66



3.39 to 3.66



3.39 to 3.66



3.39 to 3.66



3.39 to 3.70



3.39 to 3.70



3.73 to 3.77




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