It may seem surprising, but the number three plays a significant role in curriculum design in both theory and practice. There are seven triads. Part One looks at two of them: needs assessment and trainer decisions. Part Two looks at the desired level of learning and learning objectives. This Tip, Part Three, considers learning activity selection, learner practice, and hands on learning activities.
Learning Activity Selection
The decision regarding which learning activities to incorporate into a training program must satisfy the need to:
1.Select an activity that can effectively achieve the desired learning level;
2.Fit the learning into the specific time available, given the fact that different activities require different amounts of time; and
3.Use a variety of participatory activities to meet the needs of different learning preferences as well as to keep the learners engaged.
There are three closely related approaches that a trainer can take to ensure that the learners have the preparation and practice they need to build their confidence in their own competence:
- Plan for the learners to demonstrate their learning in the classroom. When designing the curriculum, the learning objectives should identify what the learners will do both to learn and to validate their learning during the learning session.
- Ensure that the learners are able to get immediate feedback regarding their mastery of the new learning. Participatory learning activities enable learners to practice and, at the same time, assess their ability to use new learning.
- Provide practice opportunities for learners that require them to assume increasing responsibility for their learning. Brain studies have found that learners require three examples or iterations to learn new skills or concepts.
The three practice opportunities can include:
- Directed practice, in which the trainer walks the entire group of learners through a new process or procedure;
- Guided, monitored practice, during which the learners work in small groups so they can support each other; and
- Independent practice, during which the learners either work singly or in pairs or triads. By the time of this third practice session, the learners should be sufficiently prepared to perform without the assistance of the trainer.
Hands On Learning Activities
Hands on learning activities accomplish three results:
- Learners can practice and demonstrate their ability to apply what they have learned.
- The trainer can have observable proof of the actual learning that has taken place.
- Learners can gain confidence in their ability to apply what they have learned. As a result, they will be much more likely to use their new learning back on the job.
Following the principles outlined in these sets of three will significantly improve the likelihood that the training you design will effectively achieve the desired learning results.
Question: Can you think of other aspects of curriculum design that occur in sets of three?
May your learning be sweet.
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