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What is a Learning Activity?

A learning activity for the purpose of this Learning Activity Bank, is a unit of learning with specific goals and objectives. It may be presented in one session or over a series of sessions. The activity may be part of a project or the entire project. Good lessons or activities are usually anchored in a larger context. In fact, Project-Based Learning for adults has many benefits. A project may consist of several learning activities. The project developer may submit one or all of these activities to the LAB while making it clear in the summary that these individual activities are part of a comprehensive project.

There are many ways to write an activity or lesson plan. The lesson submission form is meant to be a broad template, which will allow for various styles while capturing the most important elements of lesson planning.


I. About Your Learning Activity

Title

The exact title of the activity, lesson, or project. It should be as descriptive as possible of the content. Use lowercase except for the first words of a title and proper names.

Example:

Learning to register for courses


Project

Usually a learning activity is only one part of a larger project or unit.The project developer may submit one or all of these activities to the LAB while making it clear in the summary that these individual activities are part of a comprehensive project.

Example:

This activity was the first of two on registering for courses. The second activity focused on registering in person.


Summary

The summary is similar to an abstract. In a single paragraph briefly describe the purpose and procedure for the activity.

Example:

Learners complete a registration form for courses after learning how to read the adult ed course catalog.


Learning Objective

Write a measurable learning objective. State what learners will be able to do at the end of this activity that they could not do before it. What learners "do" must be observable so that learners know that they have learned and what they have learned.

Example:

Given a course catalog and a registration form, the learner will be able to register for courses.


Skills

What skill or skills will learners improve by the end of this activity? Depending upon the framework you choose - Equipped for the Future, SCANS, or GED - skills are stated differently. Look at the list of skills provided in the drop down list and choose the skills that are used the most in your activity. To see a comparison of skills across frameworks, go to the Frameworks Comparison Table.

Example:

Communication - Read, Decision-making - Research, Lifelong Learning - Learn in new ways


Subjects

These terms describe the topic of the lesson. Since there are many ways to describe the topic, a controlled list of terms is presented in the drop down list. Some of the topics included are employability, community involvement, resources, and work environment.

Example:

English as a second language (ESL), Reading comprehension


II. About the Learners

Length of Activity

State approximately how long the activity will take from beginning to end. If you want to be more specific about the timing, include this information when you describe the activity.

Example:

Approximately 3 hours


Level

Enter the level that best describes the audience for this activity.

Example:

Intermediate


III. Your Learning Activity Plan

Materials and Resources

Materials and resources may include handouts, transparencies, Internet Web sites, and commercially produced materials. Reference these materials accurately so that others may be able to replicate your activity.

Books and periodicals - cite author, title, publishing company, and date of publication.

Example:

Local adult education catalog

Teacher-made handouts and transparencies - If you have these materials in electronic form, you may enter their files in the area indicated.

Example:

Handout #1 - Suggested Pretest (Blank Registration form and Course Description)
Handout #2 - Transparency - Course Catalog Table of Contents
Handout #3 - Classes Worksheet
Handout #4 - Course Registration Form Worksheet

Internet sites - Provide the complete URL and title of the site.

Example:

http://www.ttrc.doleta.gov/SCANS/

Equipment - overhead projector, computer, VCR, tape recorder, flip chart, markers

Example:

Overhead Projector


Overview

The overview should provide the context of the activity. It will be helpful to those who use your materials to have a general description of your class setting and your learners. Provide some background on your situation so that others may understand the context in which the activity takes place.

Example:

The activity was the first of two on registering for courses. The focus of the first activity was on completing the registration form. The focus of the second activity was registering in person. This activity was pressented to an Intermediate ESL class that met two nights a week for two hours. There were 20 students in the class.


Learner Needs and Goals

What goals and objectives have brought learners to this class? What skills do they need to function in the workplace and community? A needs assessment of the learners is an important first step in designing any lesson. Find out why learners are in your class, why they want a GED, or what skills they feel they need most. Ask them to be specific. Your learning unit should be based on these needs and goals.

Example:

Several of the students had approached me about taking computer classes through adult ed, but did not know where to find information. They felt that some training would help them move out of their current jobs. Furthermore, they did not understand how to complete a registration form. Friends or relatives had registered them for their ESL class.


Describe the Learning Activity

Describe the steps in your learning activity plan.

Example:

1. Ask the class what skills they would like to learn in the future. Mention that these might be skills for work or for home. Give examples of each - computer keyboarding, accounting, painting, cooking, flower arranging, and sewing. Ask each learner to write down a specific skill to learn. Ask learners to share their choice with a partner. Walk around the room to see what some of the chosen skills are. Write some of these skills on the board.

2. Tell the class that they will learn how to read a course catalog so that in the future they may take classes to learn these skills. Also, mention that in the United States you are never too old to go to school.

3. Finding Courses - Distribute copies of the course catalog. Answer any questions that learners may have.

In preparing this lesson, make a transparency of the "table of contents" for the catalog. The lesson will be more effective if learners can work from the actual catalog. If you do not have access to the catalogs, use the transparencies and worksheets provided with this lesson plan.

Show the transparency of the "table of contents" for the catalog. Ask learners under which category in the "table of contents" the skills on the board would be listed. Find the page number for the category and then turn to that section of the catalog to check the answer. Distribute the "Classes" worksheet to give learners some practice in locating courses. When the class is finished, ask them to check their answers in the catalog. Review the answers.

4. Assign two course descriptions from the catalog and ask learners to complete the registration form for these classes. Review the completed forms with the class.

5. Give learners a different course catalog, possibly from a community college, and ask them to complete the form for a specific class.


Assessment

Learner assessment may involve using a variety of instruments and procedures to document whether or not learners are meeting their own goals and to what extent the learning activity is helping them to meet those goals. The following sites are recommended for more information about assessment:

  • Current assessment practices: a report Attempts to capture the reality of current assessment practices, including how much time it takes to collect, analyze, and use assessment data, what actually happens when assessments are conducted, and how assessment practices influence the teaching and learning processes.
  • How do we measure progress in Adult ESL? - A list of book, digests, Web sites, and other resources on assessment in Adult ESL.

Example:

To evaluate whether or not learners are able to complete the course evaluation form, provide them with a blank registration form and a new course description from the catalog. Learners should now be able to fill in all parts of the form accurately.


Reflection

How would you change the activity? What was most valuable? What was least valuable? How could the activity be improved? How were the skills learned in this activity transferred to an authentic situation?

Example:

This lesson would follow other lessons on identifying skills and training needs.

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