July 20, 2011

Year-long projects can revolutionize learning

A Results Only Learning Environment is built on the year-long project. Calling the ROLE a project-based class, though, is a bit of an understatement. Most project-based classes use projects as assessment tools, which is a much better way to evaluate learning than tests and quizzes.

The ROLE, however, uses multiple year-long projects as a way for students to exhibit autonomy and to create a thirst for learning, along with evaluating mastery. The year-long project encourages students to set an end-of-project goal, along with checkpoint goals. These goals give students a sense of forward motion -- a desire to see their projects grow.

The teacher becomes more of a facilitator/coach, providing a menu of activity choices, mini-lessons and constant narrative feedback. Students use the feedback to make changes and additions to the projects, in order to master all learning outcomes.

The year-long project is ideal for any learning environment, even the bureaucratic classroom, in which teachers are currently forced to reside. Although most teachers hate standards, the year-long project makes it easy to meet them, because any well-designed project will encompass all of the standards.

Watch for future posts with examples of meaningful year-long projects.