APHL is seeking an instructional designer to help broadly guide and execute the development of the comprehensive curriculum, the accompanying design, and packaging of modules and field guides. The curriculum will be designed based on pre-identified learning objectives and prioritized competencies utilizing the
MMWR Competency Guidelines for Public Health Laboratory Professionals, which provide a guiding framework for producing education and training programs. Each eLearning module and associated material will be aligned with a Core Competency (see Competencies RES 7.00 and RES 8.00 in MMWR link).
APHL has a repository of independently developed scientific writing courses and accompanying materials, and the goal is to use these existing resources to package them into a cohesive, standardized source of information. Content, in the format of multiple PowerPoint slide presentations, already exists for all learning objectives, outlined in Appendix A. These presentations will serve as the basis for curriculum development. As such, the awardee will be asked to rely on these existing materials and, with few exceptions, will not be generating de novo content but rather reorganizing and repackaging existing materials to create focused eLearning modules and accompanying field guides, which align with the Appendix A learning objectives. Proposals should include different, scalable options for the presentation of the content. This award will be for a maximum of $230,000 and work must be completed by August 31, 2020.
APHL recognizes that the current time constraints and funding may not be sufficient to address all learning objectives in Appendix A and as such requests applicants to propose feasible phases based on prioritization outlined in Appendix A.
Through this RFP, APHL seeks to identify a company or individual who can support a concept to completion project. Desired expertise and approaches include those found in the following traditional Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation (ADDIE) model:
- Program analysis and needs identification
- Program instructional design and development expertise
- Graphic/design layout capabilities and expertise
- Program monitoring and evaluation expertise
- Strong facilitation and project management methodologies
Interested parties must submit a proposal to APHL that provides all of the information specified in the Proposal Submission section of this RFP. In order to be considered for funding, an applicant must ensure APHL has its complete proposal by no later than the Proposal Due Date specified in the Anticipated RFP Schedule section below.Late submissions will not be accepted. Applicants will find proposal submission information in the Response Submittal section below.
Anticipated RFP Schedule
Applications are due to the individual(s) specified in the Final Response section of this
RFP by 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST) on November 22, 2019. APHL anticipates the following schedule for the entire competitive bidding process:
October 28, 2019 RFP issued
November 5, 2019 Letter of Intent due to APHL by 5:00 pm EST
November 22, 2019
Complete RFP responses due to APHL by 5:00 pm EST
November 25 – December 5, 2019 Proposal review
December 5, 2019 APHL publicly announces the names of the selected applicants on its procurement website,
January 6, 2020 Anticipated start date of project
If APHL makes any modification to this anticipated schedule, it will post the change to APHL's procurement website,
Confirmation of Intent to Respond
APHL requires that prospective applicants submit a brief email statement indicating intent to submit a proposal by
no later than 5:00 PM EST on November 5, 2019. The letter of intent should be emailed to
firstname.lastname@example.org Attn: Elizabeth Toure). While the letter of intent is not binding and does not enter into the review of the RFP, the information that it contains allows APHL's evaluation team to plan the contract development and review process. A letter of intent is required for consideration of application. Potential applicants must include the name of the organization or individual that will submit the proposal in their email.
Upon receipt of a letter of intent, APHL will provide PDF files of the existing PowerPoint slides for Phase 1 learning objectives to help aid the applicant's proposal.
APHL must receive a complete proposal by no later than
5:00 PM EST on November 22, 2019. Applicants should submit proposals via email to
email@example.com (Attn: Elizabeth Toure). It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the proposal is received at APHL by this deadline. APHL will send an email acknowledging the receipt of your application. If you do not receive an acknowledgement within 48 hours, please call
240-485-3860 and email
firstname.lastname@example.org. APHL may terminate or modify the RFP process at any time during the response period. All changes to the RFP will be posted to the APHL's procurement website,
Please direct all questions regarding this RFP or its application requirements via email to Stephanie Chester/Elizabeth Toure at
email@example.com. A member of APHL's Infectious Diseases staff will respond directly to the questions on an individual basis as questions are received. While APHL will endeavor to answer questions within one business day of receipt, additional time may be needed depending on the issue raised. APHL anticipates that it will also post each question, together with the answers, to APHL's procurement website (www.aphl.org/rfp) within one business day of responding directly to the email sender.
Instructional Design for Scientific Writing Comprehensive Curriculum RFP provides detailed information in regards to this request, please read it in its entirety.
Questions and Answers
Is there an incumbent for this project?
A: There is not an incumbent for this project. APHL and CDC developed course materials in early 2019 and presented them at an in-person international workshop in July 2019. In an effort to make these materials available to a larger audience, APHL and CDC decided to further invest in developing and designing this curriculum in a format that can be shared and accessed globally.
Can APHL confirm that seat time for the workshops for the material in Phase 1 material is five days, or 40 hours (based on information in the Phase 1 PPTs)?
A: The seat time for the in-person workshop was five (5) days, however this also included materials from Phases 2 and 3. The Phase 1 material was covered in about 3.5 days. The Phase 1 lecture material itself took about 10 hours to deliver. The remaining hours from the 3.5 days included interactive sessions with participants.
What is driving the dates in the estimated overall project timetable on page 18 of the RFP?
A: The main driver of the estimated project timeline on page 18 is the project end date, which is August 31, 2020. The vendor must complete all work by this date. The duration of the design and development phases in this table is an estimate, and the true time will depend on the vendor.
Does APHL anticipate that modules and guides will need to be produced in languages other than English for Phase 1?
A: All deliverables should be in English. The vendor will not need to translate materials into any additional languages.
May the vendor use subcontractors (located within the continental U.S.) for specific, approved portions of the project? For instance, creating closed captioning scripts for the videos.
A: Yes, the vendor may subcontract specific portions of the project with advance approval from APHL. Please indicate in your proposal whether you intend to use a subcontractor for any part of the work.
On page iii of the RFP, APHL notes that the learner and instructor guides should mirror the eModule content. Does this mean that the learner and instructor guides should have only the content that’s presented in the eModules? Should the vendor expect to develop additional/alternative material for the learner and instructor guides?
A: The content in the field guides for learners and instructors should closely mirror the content in the eModules. There may be some videos, graphics or interactive pieces in the eModules that are not feasible to translate to static learner and instructor guides. In these cases, we would expect the vendor to develop alternative material to convey the same message in a way that best suits the format. Conversely, the field guides should include activities and exercises that are better suited for in-person training than for an eModule format.
What format should the learner and instructor guides be created in (for example, Word and PowerPoint; Google Docs and Slides; other tools)?
A: The format of the learner and instructor guides is up to the discretion of the vendor, but should take into consideration ease of use for an international audience. PowerPoint, PDF and Microsoft Word are preferable.
What is the expected use of the learner and instructor guides (used to teach in-person classes, available as downloads)?
A: Learner and instructor guides are expected to be used to teach in-person workshops and be available as downloads for individuals who cannot access online eModules. The instructor guide should include slides with speaker notes, additional instructor notes, examples, and answers to exercises; the learner guide should include slides and exercises.
Will the eModules be hosted directly on APHL’s website or in something like a learning management system that APHL includes as part of their website?
It’s clear that the eModules need to be developed using HTML5. Does APHL have a preference for a development tool (an HTML framework such as Adapt, or development tool that can generate HTML5 output, such as Trivantis Lectora or Articulate Storyline)?
A: APHL does not have a preference for the development tool used as long as the end product is delivered in HTML5. The files will be hosted in a SharePoint library, so the final product must be delivered on the following file extensions only: .html .css or .js. The HTML5 modules should be compatible with Internet Explorer and Chrome.
Does APHL have a preferred survey tool?
A: APHL uses Qualtrics and Survey Monkey for surveys. The vendor will need to develop any surveys/evaluation tools for one of these platforms. The type of deployment will affect which of the two tools would be best suited to capture the data needed.
Will elements such as audio files, video files, photographs, graphs, and other graphics be provided by APHL, or should the vendor plan on creating them?
A: The vendor will need to provide all audio, video, photographs, graphs or other graphics. APHL does not have the rights to the images in the Phase 1 materials. The vendor will be responsible for securing any usage rights of images, graphics, videos, audio files or other media. There may be some limited cases where APHL can provide specific images, but proposal budgets should be conservative and not rely on this.
Do the eModules and the digital versions of the learner and instructor guides need to be accessible (compliant with Section 508, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG))?
A: Yes, the vendor will need to provide deliverables in a format that complies with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Will audio files, video files, photographs, graphs, and other graphics have the associated Section 508/WCAG treatments or will the vendor be required to provide the treatments? These may include closed captioning (audio files), audio description (video files), alternative text associated with photographs, images, graphs and other graphics.
A: All elements of the eModules should be compliant with Section 508, including audio files, video files and any images or graphics.
Are post-course evaluations from the source material workshops available for review? (These can help identify aspects of the training content that are particularly effective.)
A: APHL has a summary of post-course evaluations that we will share with the selected vendor.
Is it possible for APHL to map the planned content to the eight overarching research domain competency areas listed in the MMWR? The RFP indicates that APHL wants content to address all eight competencies, but only a few of the eight focus on scientific writing. The others seem to focus on issues related to research itself, such as getting funding, study design, testing methodology, etc. Does APHL plan to expand this training to include training on the other competencies?
A: APHL is using the MMWR Competency Guidelines as a basis for developing competencies for this course. Not all eight overarching research domain competencies from the MMWR Guidelines will be covered, however aspects from many of them will be (especially RES 7.00 - Dissemination of research findings: disseminates research findings and RES 8.00 -Translation: translates research findings to public health practice). See pages 13-16 of the RFP for the table that shows the overarching topics, learning objectives and core competencies for this project. APHL is open to looking at competencies from other sources in addition to the MMWR Competency Guidelines in collaboration with the selected vendor if gaps are identified.
The table provided in Appendix C, page 21 appears to have cut off text in the criteria section. Can you please provide the complete text for the following content presented in the table?
- APHL has updated the RFP with a corrected table, which can be found on the same site:
- Row 10: “Does the applicant have experience in recommending and communicating appropriate technical and aesthetic solutions to course design challenges as evidenced by the proposal and references?”
- Row 11: “Is the applicant’s existing knowledge and experience in this field as described in the proposal relevant to the project? (provided company profile, length of time in business and experience with designing and developing competency-based training)”
Does APHL wish for the training course to include digital, interactive modules, quizzes, knowledge checks, etc.? Or should all these activities be contained within the field learning guide?
A: The digital eModules should be interactive and contain quizzes, knowledge checks, etc. The field guide for instructors should also include activities and exercises that are suited for in-person training. While the content and learning objectives of the instructional materials should be the same or very similar between the two products, the interactive portions should be adjusted and appropriate for the two different modalities.
Does APHL have an anticipated overall course length for Phase 1?
A: The course length will depend on the amount of interactive exercises in the eModules and APHL will work with the vendor to reach a length that seems appropriate. During the in-person workshop, the Phase 1 material was delivered in about 10 hours over the course of 3.5 days. Some Phase 1 topics may be broken into multiple modules to reach a module length that is ideal.
Does APHL wish for there to be a login feature to enable users to save their progress and come back to their work?
A: At this time, APHL does not foresee the need for a login feature; however, APHL would like to explore this with the vendor as a potential option at later stages of the project. This product will not be deployed on a Learning Management System at this time.
Can APHL share its webpage specs (platform, server, etc.) so that we can ensure our solution is readily compatible?
A: The course will be hosted on APHL’s website as part of a SharePoint library. APHL uses SharePoint 2013.
Does APHL wish for this course to be accredited? If so, can you share the desired accrediting body?
A: This course will not be accredited and at this time, we are not planning to offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs). However, APHL is approved as a provider of continuing education programs in the clinical laboratory sciences by the ASCLS P.A.C.E.® Program, Florida Laboratory Licenses credits and Certified in Public Health (CPH) credits. Materials should be developed with this in mind by clearly documenting the learning time per module and defining learning objectives to allow APHL to explore this option later.
Can APHL confirm that this course will be used both for remote, independent study and in support of an in-person, instructor led training?
A: Yes, the eModules will be used for independent study; the field guides (learner and instructor) will serve as the resources to provide in-person training, and a slide deck should be available for the in-person training (or for self-learning for those that cannot access online eModules).
Can APHL describe its review and approval process for deliverables? For example, the number of individuals involved in review, anticipated turnaround time, etc.?
A: APHL and CDC staff will review deliverables and provide feedback. Five to eight people may be involved in the review. APHL will work with the vendor to develop a timeline and process that works for both parties.
Does APHL desire monthly progress reports and/or regular progress meetings? If so, please clarify the frequency.
A: APHL will work with the vendor to determine a schedule will work best. Frequent communication throughout the project will ensure a final product that meets APHL’s needs and expectations. Most likely, monthly progress reports and bi-weekly or monthly check-in calls would be sufficient.
Page 19, point 8, item b states: “the awardee will not conduct an evaluation as part of this contract.” Does this preclude the awardee from conducting user testing on early iterations of the training? We find that user testing early in the design process often surfaces critical user preferences and leads to the development of a more successful product. If user testing is desired, can APHL assist in recruiting members to participate in a virtual focus group?
A: The instructional designer will provide a monitoring and evaluation plan for the final product, but will not be expected to conduct a final evaluation as part of this contract. If, during the development of the material, the vendor would like to evaluate the draft product and develop a focus group to test the training, APHL may be able to assist.
What does APHL value most in a vendor-partner?
A: The vendor will be selected based on the scoring and criteria found in Appendix C.
It sounds like the content coverage for both a self-directed and instructor-led curriculum will be the same. What is the degree of overlap between delivery modes?
A: The content in the field guides should closely mirror the content in the eModules. The digital eModules should be interactive and contain quizzes, knowledge checks, etc. The field guide for instructors should also include activities and exercises that are suited for in-person training. While the content and learning objectives of the instructional materials should be the same or very similar between the two products, the interactive portions should be adjusted and appropriate for the two different modalities.
The competency framework below describes 4 levels (beginner to expert). Which competency level will be targeted in this curriculum, or will the curriculum attempt to address multiple levels (e.g. perhaps "Competent")? If the latter, how do you envision the curriculum catering to such a wide set of outcomes?
A: The primary goal is for laboratorians deemed at the “beginner” level of proficiency (based on the competencies) to transition to “competent”. In some cases, the target audience may be progressing within the “competent” continuum. APHL will work with the vendor to further refine the competency framework.
What activities does APHL envision for participants achieving skill-oriented learning objectives? Will offline work be considered, particularly to assist with meeting skill-based learning objectives?
A: The eModules and the field guides (for in-person training) will have different activities and assessments. The assessments/activities should be catered to suit the delivery method. APHL will work with the vendor to develop creative solutions, particularly for the eModules, to enable participants to meet the learning objectives, including offline assignments.
Once a master design plan/storyboard is created/approved for each course module, will APHL be able to help supply any missing content needed for examples, activities, scenarios, role-plays, etc. that are planned?
A: APHL or CDC should be able to provide additional resource materials to assist the vendor with supplementary content or activity materials. The vendor should note that APHL does not have the rights to the images in the Phase 1 materials. The vendor will be responsible for securing any usage rights of images, graphics, videos, audio files or other media. There may be some limited cases where APHL can provide specific images, but proposal budgets should be conservative and not rely on this.
Can you describe your vision for feedback and assessment? Will a scored, summative evaluation be required, or will it be sufficient to design activities that require the learner to demonstrate - and receive feedback on - what they've learned (formative assessments)?
A: It is not clear if your question pertains to assessment of the learner or the learner’s evaluation of the course.
- Learner assessment: APHL will work with the vendor to determine the best way for the learners to be assessed and receive feedback throughout the eModules and field guides. The method of assessment will be different for the interactive eModules and the field guides for in-person training.
- Course evaluation: The purpose of the course evaluation is to understand the utility and impact of the curriculum as a whole. The information will be used to make improvement to later phases and other similar projects as appropriate and meet funding reporting requirements.
Do the materials emailed out represent all of the source material for Phase 1 or were those files just a portion? If just a portion, can you tell us what percentage of the source the sample set represents?
A: • The Phase 1 PDF slides that were emailed represent all of the Phase 1 material that was delivered at the in-person workshop. APHL has additional source files from 2-3 different faculty; their materials were combined into the PDF files that were shared with you. The selected vendor will have access to these original source files as well, however the content is largely duplicative of the PDF files that were already shared.
Can you comment on what if any incoming experience or prerequisite knowledge target learners will be assumed to have?
A: Typically, the audience will be laboratorians and laboratory supervisors who have extensive laboratory experience but have likely never published a manuscript before. At most, they may have been minor contributing co-authors. In some cases, they may have written meeting abstracts or posters for scientific conferences but need more technical mentorship and proficiency to improve their delivery of these products.
Will the instructor-led design assume that instructors are already fluent in the content and have some experience delivering professional training? If not, what assumptions will be made about the instructors?
A: The in-person course may be deployed in a wide range of settings, some with expert consultants delivering the course, and others with less experienced instructors. In order to allow the course to be accessible to the widest audience range and reproducible, the instructor guide should cater to instructors who may range from “proficient” to “expert” competency levels in scientific writing and who may have limited experience delivering professional trainings. The instructor guide should therefore include a course agenda, slide notes, details and key points to cover, media use instructions, guides to facilitating activities, cases and/or project work, and any other tools that may aide with the delivery of the course.
Do the existing PowerPoints have speaker’s notes in addition to the onscreen text? If so how extensive are they? (We are trying to determine how much existing content there is to work from. The minimal on screen text seen in the PDFs of the PPTs will have to be fleshed out to create voiceover narration for the online modules; if there are extensive speaker’s notes, that shortens this process considerably.)
A: A few of the PowerPoint slides have speaker notes, but a large majority of slides do not. APHL has some additional resources that can be shared with the selected vendor that may be helpful for putting together the narration in the eModules. APHL can help edit and/or narrate out loud to the vendor to help develop the script.
Was any of the workshop audio- or video-taped? (Especially if there are no or minimal speaker’s notes, this would provide another source of content to draw on.)
A: Neither audio or video were captured during the in-person workshop.
Can you clarify the anticipated start date for the work?
A: The anticipated start date of the project is January 6, 2020.