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"Principles of Learning for Instructional Design" online course

In late summer 2015, we are excited to offer a new online course, Principles of Learning for Instructional Design, developed through the Improving Teacher Effectiveness project.  Once the course is live, we will let everyone know and provide additional information about how to access the course through the LINCS Learning Portal.

Comments

Catherine Green's picture
First

 In the video in unit 1 of  this course, we see Andrea teaching various literacy skills to a beginning level group of  English language learners.

  • What moments in the videotaped class do you think demonstrate effective instruction?
Sue Snider's picture
First

Watching Andrea teach was such a joy! She used so many effective instruction methods, but the one that jumped out at me was using multiple and varied examples and formats. The students looked like they were so involved and engaged in each of the activities that were shown. Andrea managed to get them moving, thinking, laughing and learning! The variety of activities demonstrated that she really thought this lesson through. Knowing that we want our students to be enthusiastic about learning, I'm sure each one of them continued to return to class to see what Andrea had prepared for them next!. There were so many ways to expand on the short lesson we viewed. I was sorry to see the video end! 

Cwebb's picture
Ten

Hi Sue,

I agree, the activties Andrea created, engaged the learners in, and demonstrated herself were fun and the learners looked interested and engulfed.  We tend to take our learning for granted of the alphabet system, word recognition, and pronunciation, that watching this makes me realize how important it is to understand the material enough to share with others. Andrea certainly had the learners attention and they were involved in the learning.  I wonder how the learners are able to use the material in the real world or if they are remembering the sentences.  Perhaps another interactive can be for the learners to explain going to the store to purchase items and what that means along with the process. 

Linda Moore's picture
Ten

In my opinion Andrea was most effective when she was giving accurate and timely feedback. The learners were actively engaged while answering her questions, and anticipated the immediate feedback that she gave.

Catherine Green's picture
First

In the Unit 1 PowerPoint presentations of this course, Rob Jenkins and Maricel Santos provide many concrete examples of what the key principles look like in daily classroom practice.

  1. Which of the strategies that they shared stand out for you?
     
  2. Which, in your experience, are the most difficult principles to implement? Why?
Sue Snider's picture
First

As mentioned in a previous comment, I believe Andrea did a splendid job using multiple and varied examples and formats, but she also grounded the concepts in the experience of visiting and then writing about the trip to the hardware store. She demonstrated that she listened to her students when they talked about issues in their apartments. The trip to the hardware store was relevant to most students in the class and they seemed to be engaged in all the activities Andrea presented. I was impressed when the class was able to write their own story about the trip and then read it out loud. This enabled them to practice the new words, pronounce them multiple times, and use them in the correct context. When the students had index cards with specific words to form a sentence, it got them up and moving and interested in not only the word they had, but the words of the other students. What a great way to learn sentence structure and grammar! I particularly liked the flyswatter game. Watching the students who had the flyswatters read over the words and listening to those seated shouting directions made for a delightful experience for all of them. It was easy to see that Andrea put a lot of work and thought into these activities and each activity could be used multiple times in future contexts.

 

I am not currently in the classroom, but in my work as a consultant, I often talk with teachers who lament the difficulties they incur with multi-level classrooms, whether they are ABE/ASE, GED, or ESL. As I look over the 14 principles, what stands out to me would be the two that deal with developing metacognition and self-directed learning. Complex learning strategies can be challenging enough, let alone trying to adapt them in a classroom with multi-level learners. Many of these principles, like generating content and reasoning, fit into the CCR standards and could be used with both ELA and math materials as teachers develop lessons. In the end, all of these principles take time and a willingness to change something in the classroom in order to realize improved student outcomes.

Linda Moore's picture
Ten

     The strategy that Jenkins and Santos presented that stands out for me is that you must choose the appropriate level of difficulty. If the material is too easy the student is not interested because they already know that information or skill, and if the content is too difficult the student will feel lost and confused which will cause them to stop trying.

     In my experience the most difficult principles to implement are the two for developing meta-cognition and self-directed learning. My adult learners have had such negative educational experiences in the past that they don't believe that they can succeed. Self-directed learning is very difficult for them. They lack confidence in their skills and abilities, so providing positive feedback is very important.

Catherine Green's picture
First

After viewing the entire videotaped lesson with the Observation Protocol provided in Unit 2, consider the questions below. (If you  opted to watch a different video than the one  provided in the course,  please identify which video you watched and its Web site, before answering the questions.)  

  1. What is one “specific, concrete, and descriptive” observation you would share with Andrea, the teacher in the videotaped class?

     

  2. One former course participant noted the following about her own experience as an observer:
    What I found most difficult in taking notes during the observation was describing what I was seeing and omitting evaluative language. This was the biggest challenge because I had so many suggestions in mind while I was observing. I concentrated on what the students were doing and what the teacher was doing. That helped me to describe what I saw.
     
  • What was challenging for you about doing the observation?
Sue Snider's picture
First

I was particularly impressed with the way Andrea drew every member of the class into the activities. Her energy and enthusiasm really set the tone for each activity. (Here she used multiple and varied examples and format). The students genuinely looked like they were happy to participate. When Andrea corrected them, it was with such finesse that it blended right into the lesson. The timely feedback encouraged students to continue to be engaged in all the activities, so nobody was taken aside to be corrected. (Accurate and timely feedback helps learning). There was such a feel of community in that classroom. I especially appreciated Andrea going over to a student to have her whisper a word for the flyswatter game. This gesture among others, gave a sense of inclusiveness that encourages students to take part in classroom activities. The principles that Andrea employs can easily be used in an ABE, ASE, GED, or ESL classroom.  

What was challenging for me during the observation was to keep my attention on  which disciplines of instructional design Andrea was using. I was so completely absorbed in the different activities and the enthusiasm of the students that I had to keep looking at my list to bring me back to the reason I was watching the video in the first place! It's obvious that Andrea put a lot of thought into the planning of the design she used in her classroom, which made everything look seamless. 

Pam1's picture
First

2.  What was challenging for you about doing the observation?

What I found challenging was the pace of the class, it moved so quickly it didn't feel like the students had an opportunity to fully absorb what they were learning, they were going from one activity to another and even though they were able to apply their skills I am not sure that they fully mastered the content.  I realize that this is possibly excerpts from an actual class, so my question would be how much time did the students actually have on some of the partner activities?

Allison Celik's picture
First

Andrea's enthusiasm and obvious concern for her students was one of the most effective teaching tools in her classroom. An area of concern would be that is seemed like the discussion moved so fast, some times it was hard for me to follow and it didnt seem like there was a lot of time for the students to process the new information.

Linda Moore's picture
Ten

     One specific, concrete, and descriptive observation of Andrea's use of the Principles of Learning for Instructional Design that I would share with her is her immediate and appropriate feedback to her students during the pronunciation of the words in the student generated sentences. By spontaneously providing the correct pronunciations of these words, she allowed the students to speak and hear the words repeated in rapid succession thus encoding the words in their memories more effectively.           

     While observing Andrea's class, the most challenging thing for me was that I wanted to be in the classroom itself so that I could observe each student more effectively. The camera cannot quickly switch from one student to another corresponding to the information that I wanted to observe. 

 

 

Cwebb's picture
Ten

I would have to say that the principle 'ground concepts in concrete experiences' stood out for me because, it is most important to match activities or information with real-world interactions.  This may sometimes be challenging because of the location of the program, such as being in rural area.  There may not be opportunity to walk to a local store to demonstrate the activity.  However, using a powerpoint presentation, a video, or an audio might help resolve this issue espeicially for lower learning levels.  The group will still be able to match the words to the activity t the actions that may also support the pronunciation and intonations.   

Cwebb's picture
Ten
  • Encourage learners to generate explanations and resolve contradictions.
  • Encourage learners to construct ideas from multiple points of view and different perspectives.

I think that these might be the most difficult principles to implement because of the learner levels.  If the learner is at a high level, it might be less challenging to follow analytical or knowledge construction.  However, at lower levels, additional time may be needed to ensure that the learner has grasped the concepts and ideas, prior to requiring knowledge construction or analyzing.

Marcia Spadaro's picture
First

I agree wit CWebb, these are the most difficult principles to implement in the classroom. My students are in the repetition stage where meaningful activities are implemented but not completely absorbed without repetition or visual aids to support learning. However, her strategy to teach writing by modeling word order, and games for interaction was super! I had no problems following the video and taking notes.

andrea black's picture
First
  1. What is one “specific, concrete, and descriptive” observation you would share with Andrea, the teacher in the videotaped class? Andrea was so enthusiastic and seemed very comfortable in her instruction. She had every student very involved and they seemed to really be enjoying themselves while learning! Andrea very clearly used multiple and varied examples and formats. Just in that 30 minutes, she used so many different instruction methods with varying activities. What a fun class!
Pam1's picture
First

1.  What is one “specific, concrete, and descriptive” observation you would share with Andrea, the teacher in the videotaped class?

Andrea kept the students engaged and involved in the learning process, she had them interacting with each other as well as herself during the learning process.  She had a very logical sequence and strategy to the steps that the students went through.  She used real world and life experiences to make the learning relevant to the students lives, she also incorporated some fun activities and involved the whole class in the process of solving questions.  She constantly was helping students to correct their pronunciation of words individually and as a class on the parts of the sentence and the whole sentence.

Jeanne Grunden's picture
Ten

In the Unit 1 PowerPoint presentations of this course, Rob Jenkins and Maricel Santos provide many concrete examples of what the key principles look like in daily classroom practice.

  1. Which of the strategies that they shared stand out for you?
     
  2. Which, in your experience, are the most difficult principles to implement? Why?

The first strategy that stood out to me from the PowerPoint was Principle 4 that says to space presentations of new material across time. I know from experience that if you provide too much information in a short time you then have to reteach part of it the next class day in order for students to learn and retain the information. I agree with Rob's point that "straight lecturing doesn't work" any more and I like the quote that he provided from William Butler Yeats that "Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire." I want to fire up learner's desire to learn! The second strategy that stood out to me was principal 5 that says to test on multiple occasions with spacing. I want to incorporate the use of 3x5 cards that he discussed in the classes that I teach.

One of the more difficult principles for me to apply is Principle 7 to encourage learners to generate content. I have found that students have a hard time getting started and articulating themselves in writing. I continue to work on creative ways to help them work on this principle. I like the exercise that Andrea did with the field trip to the hardware store which resulted in the classroom's original text. I wont be able to take students on a field trip due to time constraints but I want to time to generate a classroom original text.

Jeanne Grunden's picture
Ten

What is one “specific, concrete, and descriptive” observation you would share with Andrea, the teacher in the videotaped class? 

I thought that Andrea did a great job at encouraging learners to generate content. I liked the way that the whole lesson centered on real life experiences as it began with the hardware visit and ended with learners answering questions from the landlord about reporting difficulties with living conditions. Andrea also extended the learning experience by including a writing section with each new exercise. My observation experienced was enhanced by using the Observation Protocol sheet and without it I think I would have had difficulties taking notes.

What was challenging for you about doing the observation? At first I thought that a few of the exercises were fast paced, but I realized later those were necessary to create learner interest and they helped the learners comprehend material that was difficult for them. The later exercises build on the material at a slower pace while still providing an engaging experience for the learners. I think that her lessons were well planned and thought out.

Amelia Mott's picture
First

The most impressive element to me in viewing Andrea's classroom was the sheer amount of movement in her classroom. There were not 10 seconds of "down time" in which to lose a student's interest. The amazing variety of activities and teaching strategies keeps the class interesting, and keeps those students coming back day after day. There was a true sense of community in the classroom. They learn together, laugh together, "play" together, share similar life problems. Who wouldn't want to be part of such an environment?The moment when she went to a shy student to draw out a "target" word from her, and after receiving one, she gently rests her hand on that student's shoulder - that was both insightful and sensitive. That student, who might have begun to feel left out or "behind" the others, was again made to feel like an integral part of the class, having a role. Teaching is such a multi-faceted endeavor; it is beautiful to watch a skilled master and learn not just strategies, but also sense their sensitivities, observe personality traits that make for effective teaching as well.

Amelia Mott's picture
First

<p>The most impressive element to me in viewing Andrea's classroom was the sheer amount of movement in her classroom. There were not 10 seconds of "down time" in which to lose a student's interest. The amazing variety of activities and teaching strategies keeps the class interesting, and keeps those students coming back day after day. There was a true sense of community in the classroom. They learn together, laugh together, "play" together, share similar life problems. Who wouldn't want to be part of such an environment?The moment when she went to a shy student to draw out a "target" word from her, and after receiving one, she gently rests her hand on that student's shoulder - that was both insightful and sensitive. That student, who might have begun to feel left out or "behind" the others, was again made to feel like an integral part of the class, having a role. Teaching is such a multi-faceted endeavor; it is beautiful to watch a skilled master and learn not just strategies, but also sense their sensitivities, observe personality traits that make for effective teaching as well.</p>

Amelia Mott's picture
First

<p>Really, the only challenging part for me was trying to focus on a specific element of instructional strategy, as at a any given time there was more than one strategy being implemented at a time. I would be studying one principle obviously being used, and then be distracted because at some point I became aware of another going on at the same time, and trying to follow both. I finally just sat back and tried to enjoy the big picture, appreciating the synchrony going on. I began to recognize that a master teacher is not necessarily even thinking about these strategies as she operates, it is just how she operates on "auto pilot". It becomes second nature. But it is for us to begin by consciously making sure we are implementing these strategies, and from there, begin to blend them.</p>

Pam Sherwood's picture
First

1) For the observation, I watched the video for teaching positive and negative numbers.  The teacher was able to involve all of the students in her class doing the exercise.  I am assuming they were all studying the same level or area of math.  The exercises that she used allowed the students to be physically involved as they stood by the numbers that were on the floor and passed a ball back and forward as they were counting to answer the questions. Her instructions were clear and she progressed the lesson in an organized way.  She used a variety of formats to teach the lesson.  She also used word problems that the students could relate to--concrete problems to solve. 

Pam Sherwood's picture
First

2) Challenge to doing the observation:  I thought that the video was interesting to watch and I did not have much of a challenge watching it.  I sometimes found myself thinking about the students that I have taught and whether or not these exercises could be used with them.  Also, I wondered about having students at the same level in the class.  My classes are such that students are usually at varying levels in their math studies, so I wondered how this might work with groups that I have taught. 

Micaela Allison-Shropshire's picture
Ten

The teacher uses various teaching methods. Activities like reading, speaking, physical activities all combined helps retention of learning.

Micaela Allison-Shropshire's picture
Ten

The strategy that stands out to me is the variety of learning methods the teacher offered and the case for repetition. 

Micaela Allison-Shropshire's picture
Ten

Retention is the most difficult obstacle to overcome. In Adult Education, we do not have a captive audience. It is difficult to 'catch up' for students who miss class too much. 

Daphne Higgins's picture
First

With this segment - brevity says it all - patience, devotion and determination!  I love it!

Ayesha Kalim's picture
First

The videotaped class has quite effectively demonstrated instruction for secondary language learners (especially beginner level) in terms of clear and concise instructional format. Reading and sentence construction strategies are covered quite effectively, helping learners to collaborate among themselves. Group activity of sentence making, using phonics, loud reading skills, listening and comprehending words and identifying words on the board was quite effectively implemented to boost student morale, listening and speaking skills. 

Ayesha Kalim's picture
First

Q1- Which of the Strategies that they shared stand out for you?

I consider all 14 strategies effective in their own way. Particularly, the stand out ones for me are: 

  • consider ourselves and them as participants in learning & consider "HOW" they learn and "HOW MUCH" they can retain at any given time. This particularly signifies that learners level is vital consideration while creating any learning solution or activity for them. Beginning level learners in secondary language class are already going through a challenging phase of adapting to learn a new language at their later age. Therefore, overwhelming content can be disruptive for students at this time. Hence, Andrea's class seemed more engaging, exciting, and motivated because she presented simple yet practical real world example to her learners. Moreover, her interactive strategies created an enjoyable learning environment, in which students did not feel any inhibitions towards new concepts. She intelligently identified shy students and provided them interaction opportunity through different means of learning. I learnt various new ideas of student engagement from Andrea's class. 

Q2- Pick one principle. How might your context affect, how you apply that principle (in your context, consider student level, course focus, program design, and so on)? 

I would pick for myself connecting each learning opportunity to real life examples or situations. Experiential learning is an effective strategy to provide and exemplary opportunity to adult learners. The way Andrea took her class to a hardware store, she choose a real life problem of her learners keeping in mind their living conditions. This brought a real life situation into the classroom, and students felt as someone is there to address their issues, hence their intrinsic motivation elevated towards language learning. Two of the most vital teaching strategies of 'PROBLEM BASED LEARNING' and 'EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING' are integrated by Andrea into this teaching scenario of secondary language learners. 

Which in your experience, are the most difficult principles to implement? Why?

Perhaps, the most difficult principles to implement are creating effective learning activities effectively aligned to learning outcomes. Plus, engaging adult learners is sometimes difficult to establish, the reason being that adult learners look for meaning and purpose in their learning. Plus, presenting learning material in a clear and organized format is another challenge, because classroom environment swings from effective to ineffective, engaging to disengaging quickly, therefore sometimes it is quite hard to figure out which and what content to present, and when. However, presenting in a structured format according to a laid out plan is most of the times difficult to judge. 

Principles of Learning for Instructional Design

Observation Protocol: Instructional Design Strategies

To help learners acquire, retain, and transfer new knowledge and skills

Principles of Learning for Instructional Design

Evidence of the Principles (what the teacher and students are doing)

  • Use multiple and varied examples and format.
  • Activities are varied in their content focus, covering phonics, pronunciation, sight words, word families, vocabulary, fluency, conversation questions, and the generation of original sentences.
  • Activities are varied in design: individual, pair work, and whole group work.
  • Attention is paid to learning modalities: auditory, visual, kinesthetic, tactile,
  • Activities are planned and structured according keeping in view the difficulty level of learners
  • Hands on practice through pair work of spelling and sight words by generating words of words families belonging to ch, th, sh
  • Ground concepts in concrete experiences.
  •  The series of activities is grounded in a shared experience of going to the hardware store.
  • Activities are based on vocabulary that is useful in the daily lives of students.
  • The lesson comes back to student’s own experiences and concerns. Throughout, the teacher is asking students about their own connections to the content (e.g., “Do you use mousetraps?”)
  • Teacher introduced the directions through hand movements to clarify the concept
  • Teacher is connecting their shared experience with classroom learning by using similar vocabulary building, identifying words on board spread out using directions (up, down, right and left)

To support learners in generating content and reasoning

Principles of Learning for Instructional Design

Evidence of the Principles (what the teacher and students are doing)

  • Encourage learners to generate content.
  • Students generated the language of the story text that anchors the lesson activities.
  • Students generated answers to questions about their own experience with housing problems.
  • Students generated family words from ch, th, and sh using flashcards as pair work activity

To provide effective feedback

Principles of Learning for Instructional Design

Evidence of the Principles (what the teacher and students are doing)

  • Accurate and timely feedback helps learning.
  • Teacher gives immediate feedback on student pronunciation; offers rephrasing or vocabulary (e.g., in conversation with student about getting bug bites).
  • Teacher circulates to review group work (e.g., the word-building activity, the pair interviews).
  • Teacher offers different feedback depending on whether she is focusing on accuracy (she corrects) or fluency (she offers rephrasing, affirmation of understanding, follow-up questions).
  • Teacher provide immediate feedback while students struggling in word formation, phonics, and sight words relevant to their hardware store shared experience for example, using ‘thank you’ and ‘happy’ showing of emotions in timely and effective manner & through body movements by showing being ‘stronger’ by lifting her own hands in the air.

Instructions:
Which principles do you feel confident that you can and do implement? Score each item from 1–4 based on how much you understand and apply these practices, according to the following scale:

  1. = Don’t understand or apply
  2. = Understand somewhat but don’t apply
  3. = Understand and apply inconsistently
  4. = Understand and apply consistently

Principles of Learning for Instructional Design

Instructional Design Strategies: Self-Assessment and Note-Taking Chart

To help learners acquire, retain, transfer new knowledge and skills

Principles of Learning for Instructional Design

Pre-Course

Post-Course

Evidence/Examples of specific teaching strategies or techniques

  • Choose appropriate level of difficulty

 3

 4

 I prefer to conduct need analysis before designing my learning solution

  • Present material in a clear and organized format

 3

 4

 I feel more confident to present learning material more clearly and in a structured/organized format

  • Use multiple and varied examples and formats

 4

 4

 I do use variety of examples and formats to teach students according to the difficulty level of students.

  • Space presentations of new material across time

 2

 4

 Deliver new material with appropriate space across time

  • Test on multiple occasions preferably with spacing

 2

 4

 Try variety of assessment methods formative & summative preferably with spacing

  • Ground concepts in concrete experiences

 2

 4

 Prefer to create a concrete learning experience in the form of field trips, lab work, group work, case study analysis, videos etc

To support learners in generating content and reasoning

Principles of Learning for Instructional Design

Pre-Course

Post-Course

Evidence/Examples of specific teaching strategies or techniques

  • Encourage learners to generate content

 2

 4

 Enable learners to use vocabulary to generate simple content to help them retain learning experiences

  • Encourage learners to generate explanations and resolve contradictions

 3

 4

 Through group work, pair work to help resolve contradictions,

  • Encourage learners to construct ideas from multiple points of view and different perspectives

 3

 4

 Research about different viewpoint, and construct their own opinion about any particular perspective

To develop meta-cognition and self-directed learning

Principles of Learning for Instructional Design

Pre-Course

Post-Course

Evidence/Examples of specific teaching strategies or techniques

  • Structure instruction to develop effective use of complex learning strategies

 2

 4

 Role plays, group presentations, surveys are some complex learning strategies,

  • Combine instruction in complex learning strategies with learning of content

 2

 4

 

To provide effective feedback

Principles of Learning for Instructional Design

Pre-Course

Post-Course

Evidence/Examples of specific teaching strategies or techniques

  • Promote learning by offering accurate and timely feedback

 4

 4

 Shared learning experience, peer reviews, study guides are useful methods of feedback

  • Promote learning by giving qualitative  feedback rather than  test scores and flagging errors

 2

 4

 

To use adaptive, interactive learning environments

Principles of Learning for Instructional Design

Pre-Course

Post-Course

Evidence/Examples of specific teaching strategies or techniques

  • Provide opportunities to practice and use skills for a purpose

 3

 4

 Create first draft, review and guide, and create final draft after going through examples help improve skills for a purpose

 

 

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