Including Learning Experiences in Curriculum

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  • 0:01 What Are Learning Experiences?
  • 1:00 Types of Learning Experiences
  • 1:58 Planning for Learning…
  • 3:29 Learning Experiences in Action
  • 4:25 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde
How do you decide what activities to use in a lesson plan? Learning experiences are an important part of the learning process. This lesson will identify learning experiences and explain what they look like in a classroom.

What Are Learning Experiences?

Amanda is a veteran teacher with several years under her belt. This year, the district she works for adopted a new curriculum program that is full of terms she has never heard of. For example, the term learning experiences seems to be cropping up in several different places. Hasn't she always given her students learning experiences?

The short answer is yes. Any experience a student has in the process of learning is considered a learning experience. This includes traditional methods of instruction as well as authentic learning. Learning experiences guide students towards engagement in content and help them learn new skills. When planning learning experiences, teachers should design them to gradually move students towards the goals and objectives.

Luckily, the new curriculum is specific about the learning experiences expected during instruction. Amanda reads on to learn about learning experiences.

Types of Learning Experiences

Like Amanda thought, she's been providing her students with learning experiences for years. Learning experiences include:

  • Opportunities for students to interact with content, such as experiments or using manipulatives
  • Having conversations about topics, like debating the success of the Civil War
  • Investigating questions, from low to high level
  • Working in groups to solve problems and present answers
  • Experiencing content in real-life situations, either in or out of the classroom
  • Traditional learning, like note taking or map reading

Amanda knows that to make sure her students get the most out of learning experiences, she needs to make sure students are engaged in learning. She plans experiences that immerse her students in content. At the end of the teaching, students should be able to demonstrate a high level of understanding.

What does this look like in a classroom? Let's review how Amanda uses the new curriculum to include learning experiences in her teaching.

Planning for Learning Experiences

Learning experiences are ways students encounter content. Amanda designs learning experiences as part of her teaching. She knows it's important to recognize that the way students interact with the material she teaches helps them to retain, understand, and apply learning. The more meaningful learning experiences she gives her students, the more meaningful their understanding.

The new curriculum steps teachers through lesson design in a straightforward way. Before considering what types of learning experiences students will engage in, the teacher must first identify learning objectives or unit goals. This way all learning is focused on this specific outcome.

Let's say Amanda is teaching a unit on early American explorers. The first thing she'll do is identify her learning goals. In this case, one of her objectives is for students to understand how groups of people who landed in North America in 1492 survived. She drives her unit with essential questions, those that ask students to think deeply on a topic and are not easily answered. For this unit, one of her questions is 'How does working as a community help ensure survival?'

Finally, Amanda needs to determine how she will assess students at the end of learning. Her culminating assessment, or a form of testing at the end of the unit that requires the student to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the content in a high level manner, will include a living museum with students posing as early Americans.

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