Tips on Effectively Implementing an E-Learning Performance Task
By Dr. David Reese
When we think about the remote classroom it is important to keep it structured for both the teacher and the student as everyone slowly becomes comfortable working remotely. Defined Learning provides teachers with a library of engaging performance tasks and an easy-to-follow framework that can help to keep teachers and students communicating, organized and engaged in the learning process.
Here is information and tips on effectively implementing an e-learning performance task:
1.) Select a performance task: The first decision for the teacher will be to select a project-based learning performance task that aligns with important academic standards and/or a theme that reinforces content and skills using an authentic topic of interest to students. Defined Learning offers hundreds of such tasks. These tasks will support teachers and their work, to help students understand and apply the content they have been learning. Once you have selected a performance task, creating a learning structure and utilizing ongoing communication with the students can make the shift to a remote environment minimally stressful for everyone.
2.) Set the Stage: Beginning with a hook activity can help students understand the bridge between the classroom content and the authentic challenge. Defined Learning uses a framework beginning with Set the Stage. This section provides an introduction to the task, followed by a Career Video which helps students learn about the career while making connections to content areas. The Guiding Questions that accompany the video are designed to have students share their knowledge and reflections from watching the video. These questions can be answered within the task, known as Student Check-Ins, to serve as student/teacher checkpoints. They can be answered individually or in small groups through the online environment.
3.) Explore the Background: The next section is Explore the Background describes the students’ goal for the project, the career role they will assume, and the audience that will be addressed. Through a Student Check-in, students are asked to restate the challenge in their own words. This is a good opportunity for formative assessment. Students are then provided Products that will eventually be the projects they create. These products include a multimedia description designed to engage students and help them begin to devise a problem solving plan. These products are aligned with standard areas and offer opportunities for the use of 21st century skills. Rubrics are provided to help students understand how their products connect to content expectations and how they will be assessed. Each product also contains Research Questions for students to complete as Student Check-ins, which can be used for formative and/or summative evaluation.
4.) Do the Research: Research is a natural part of the development of products, and students should be encouraged to conduct this research by reviewing the resources provided by Defined Learning, reviewing the ones that the teacher adds, and/or finding their own resources. In the Do the Research section, Defined Learning provides Learning Objects which serve as multimedia tutorials, articles, and Literacy Tasks to support research. This part of the framework can help students learn more about content and context to help answer research questions which will guide the creation of their products.
5.) Design Process and Product Creation: The students are now ready to begin working through the Design Process and Product Creation. Through Student Check-ins, students can share their ideas related to brainstorming and then their analysis of the best possible solution before they begin product creation. These are excellent opportunities for teachers to monitor and support student thinking and knowledge creation. Reminding and reinforcing the product rubric, can help keep students work toward their goal while applying important content and skills. As students complete the products and the overall task, products can be evaluated through the rubrics and the product can be scored and accepted as is, or sent back for the student to revise based on the feedback provided.
6.) Final Reflection: Finally, every task includes a Final Reflection, encouraging students to share their project based learning experience. Defined Learning offers a variety of questions so that teachers can choose the ones that best meet their needs. Teachers can also add their own reflection questions.
Using the project-based learning structure provided by Defined Learning can help to keep teachers and students organized and engaged in a learning process that promotes ownership for students. This structure can allow for some independence and/or promote virtual groups of students working together to complete a task, while helping teachers monitor and support all students by reviewing all the steps the students are taking through the Student Check-ins.