Modular design, also sometimes called “modularity in design,” is an approach that subdivides a system into smaller parts. These modules, or skids, can be independently created and then used in different systems. A modular system is generally characterized by the functional partitioning of the whole into separate scalable, reusable modules and making use of industry standards for how the parts fit together.
By requiring less customization, a shorter learning time, and flexibility in design, modularity offers lower costs and other benefits such as augmentation — the ability to add anew solution by merely plugging in a new module — and exclusion.
Modular design is an attempt to combine the advantages of standardization, where high volume ideally leads to lower per-unit manufacturing costs, with those of customization.
In software, modular programming is a design technique that emphasizes separating the functionality of a program into independent, interchangeable modules. Each part of the code contains everything necessary to execute its one aspect of the desired functionality.
So, how does modular design and programming affect education systems? In many ways. The educational environment is a permanently changing complex ecosystem. It is very hard to determine unknown variables for the manipulation in the information system. It is hard to define and determine IS core to accept all future functionalities that are currently not mentioned. Nobody sees it yet, but this is a future bottleneck that will equal additional costs.
When should an industry be described as highly complex? If there’s a lack of big players offering solutions, that’s the best sign. Do big players like Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, Apple dominate educational systems? No.
They are walking around this industry like the cat around hot porridge knowing it has huge monetization potential. It is still being shaped and they still don’t have proper solution.
Here is the difference
If the core concept is designed to accept current and future educational layouts and content, as in modular design, it is possible to handle many current and future requirements for integrative and scalable educational information systems for long term effectiveness and optimum investment.
It is important to make information systems conceptually good from the start in order to handle future upgrades without crashing — forcing you to rewrite the code from scratch. Schools do not currently have to worry about this, but they will soon have to with future upgrades and radical changes in features. Then they will have to worry because they will need significantly more resources for running something new.
Recognize what software is being written for. If it is written for a different appliance at the beginning of its life, then it is not most suitable for application in the educational system. This is not good logic because it will require a lot of tweaks later. For example, take Google Docs. They are good for use in education, but they are not the best solution as a long-term sole system unless they are embedded in other Information Systems as a module.
It is impossible to have only one IS that would have all the modules required for the work of a teacher and administration because the environment is simply too dynamic. This permanent change prevents creation of only one system. But it is possible to have a few harmonized systems that are excellent in different areas of expertise.
Educational features, games, forms and layouts like quizzes and questionnaires need to be designed as modules and plugged into information systems like electric appliances into sockets. Or, like Legos, each new educational feature just needs to be added as a Lego cube to the playground.
In this way, it is easy to give an extensive wealth of educational tools to teachers, allowing them to have effective and integrated information systems for the long-term.
If something is missing, you just need to shape a new feature as a module and plug it in. If the core of system is set properly, then every new educational feature is adds additional long-term value, enriching teachers’ possibilities.
Value of Multidimensions
This is why I love Lego: Add new blocks, and the building is bigger and richer. Add new educational features, and education is wealthier and the value for kids is multiplied. Each new feature is multiplied with existing features.
Add a new language, new feature and a new brain teasing game to the system.
(languages + 1) * (features + 1) * (games +1) = educational tools portfolio
Every new addition does not crash the system, but instead makes it richer. Values are multiplied like multidimensional multiplication. This is core value for educators, having a system that can allow them maximum creativity and customization in work with the most complicated systems the universe knows right now — our brains.