AECT Policy Brief - Structure/Definition

The first outcome of the AECT Strategic Plan is, "AECT is internationally recognized and valued by policy makers and stakeholders as experts in the improvement of teaching and learning.” AECT Policy Briefs are intended to help achieve this outcome by presenting authoritative information directly to policy makers and stakeholders, thereby increasing AECT’s visibility as an association that can be relied on for pertinent research and expert opinion on policy matters related to educational communications and technology.

A policy brief is a succinct document that presents information and, as relevant, advice on a specific policy-related topic or issue concerning teaching and learning. Two definitions of briefapply. The document should brief—that is, inform—readers who are policy makers and stakeholders, such as legislators and officials in education departments at national and state levels, including non-U.S. policy makers as applicable. And the document should be brief—that is, short and focused—in order to be viewed as an efficient, easy-to-understand, relevant, and reliable information vehicle.

Policy briefs may present research findings, explore and discuss issues, distill lessons learned, or offer expert opinion or advice. Briefs are written using language suitable for non-specialist readers. Each brief is a stand-alone document, focused on a single issue or topic, and limited to approximately 1,500 words (2-4 pages).


Following are the five basic elements, in order, of an AECT Policy Brief:

Executive Summary. This initial element functions as an abstract, providing an overview of the brief. Busy readers may use this summary as a way of determining whether to read the full brief. Often the executive summary will be read in lieu of the expanded content.

Introduction. This section should define the topic and briefly explain its importance. It should set the stage for the discussion that follows.
Discussion. This is the heart of the policy brief, in which evidence and other information is presented to assist the reader to fully understand the topic at hand. The discussion should be focused and not overly technical. Pros and cons, benefits and opportunities should be highlighted. 

Conclusion. This section summarizes the foregoing and draws the discussion to a close. In essence, this section answers the question, What does it all mean? 

Implications and Recommendations. This section should state the policy ramifications and, if relevant, offer policy advice regarding the topic of the brief. Both implications and recommendations should flow from the preceding information.

AECT Policy Briefs are written on behalf of the association and must be authorized by the AECT Executive Committee. Policy briefs are intended to represent the official position of AECT. Policy briefs often deal with topics of the moment, and such topics may alter over time. Consequently, policy briefs may be archived, modified, or deleted on the authority of the Executive Committee.
Creating a Policy Brief for Adoption

Please read the above structure and definition of the Policy Brief and click here to download the sample brief for an example.

Download the Word document template to create the Policy Brief maintaining the style and formatting. Once your brief is prepared, send it to AECT President and the AECT Executive Director, at Your Brief will be previewed and then forward to the AECT Policy Brief Committee who then determine whether or not to authorize the policy.

The authorized AECT Policy Briefs will be made public being designed to inform the readers, state and national legislators, and educational department heads.

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