directed learning activities
What Are Directed Learning Activities?
Directed Learning Activities are guided processes directing students through the steps needed to complete tasks that reinforce skills required to succeed in their courses. DLAs extend classroom instruction into a tutorial environment, using a one- or two-page document that walks students through a sequence of learning activities that are mediated by a tutor.
How does the process work?
DLAs often follow a classroom introduction. Students then take the assignment to a tutor who provides guidance (e.g., five minutes) on how to complete it. Tasks are generally presented as a series of instructional steps that, once completed (45 minutes), are taken back to a tutor for consultation (e.g., 10 minutes). The tutor signs off and the student returns the assignment to the teacher.
What are the virtues of this model?
We have with this model the focus of a worksheet with the crucial additional value of mediation by a tutor. DLAs are not subject to the criticism often applied to worksheets (that they don&rsqui;t work because they are empty and isolated exercises not connected to constructivist instructional models). DLAs also free the tutor from feeling obligated to “know everything”; tutors need deep knowledge only of the matters contained in the DLA, which simplifies training considerably while raising tutor confidence proportionately.
We would like to improve tutoring through Directed Learning Activities, using Long Beach City College DLAs as a partial model. This approach has several advantages:
- DLAs connect tutoring to the classroom.
- DLAs, if designed together as a departmental project, will enhance consistency of instruction and build consensus regarding foundational skills needs.
- DLAs will be a welcome time-saver to faculty who need help addressing core competencies.
- Faculty will have access to a library of DLAs to use, another time-saver.
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