The backbone of Learner Power is a class curriculum. By curriculum I mean a full list of student learning objectives and outcomes for a course. Most teachers already have district, state, and national curricular objectives that they must follow. Many also have instructional calendars and mandated tests. A Learner Power curriculum combines all of these expected learning outcomes into one master list. I follow a standard process for objective writing practiced by professional instructional designers. While many schools have curricula that are broad, instructional designers write out explicit objectives that include every skill, piece of knowledge, and behavior that students are expected to master in that course. For example, the Learner Power video 1a course is a single semester, and has 477 items in it’s curriculum. A key is that every item in a curriculum be measurable. When I build a Learner Power course I find it helpful to divide curricular items into two categories: those measurable by objective means, and those measurable subjectively.
Once a curriculum is in place it’s pretty straightforward to build a course around it. The project manager, for instance, is simply a list of all the items in a course’s curriculum. And each learning module teaches one item in the curriculum. The objective curricular items are organized into self paced units that end in tests, where each test item corresponds to one curricular objective. The subjective curricular items walk students through the process of creating a project that will be assessed with a rubric. A few curricular objectives in a course are behavioral. These are usually embedded around student projects, and are designed to help students know how to behave while creating their projects. Behavioral objectives help students know what the expectations are, and help teachers create the classroom atmosphere that will help their population of students be productive.
Each item in a Learner Power curriculum must begin with one of the following terms. These are standardized vocabulary words that instructional designers recognize as clarifying what kind of student performance can be measured after the students have learned the objective. All Learner Power curricular objectives are assumed to start with the phrase “Student will be able to…”
- demonstrate (follow a particular rule requiring complex decision making)
- generate (create a learning artifact that solves a problem – such as a project)
- classify or identify (apply concepts to information or problems)
- state, list, recite, or summarize (give the right answer orally in response to a question or identify the correct answer on a multiple choice test)
- choose (exhibit a particular behavior, such as cooperating with group members)
- execute (perform some action, such as manipulating an object)