Instructional Frameworks

Instructional framework refers to the conceptual framework that guides the development and implementation of an entire course. This differs from instructional strategies, which are the variety of methods deployed on a day-to-day basis.  An instructional framework closely relates to the instructional strategies in that how one conceptualizes a course influences the instructional methods one chooses to use. Think of the strategies as being the eggs in a basket, and the framework as being the basket itself.

Below are some student-centered instructional frameworks worth considering.

Community Engagement & Service-Learning

The phrase “community engagement” is used as an umbrella term at Western that consists of general service/ volunteering and service-learning. Community Engagement is used in the classroom to teach students course outcomes and competencies but also used in extra-curricular aspects of student life.

Service learning is a method of teaching characterized by all of the following conditions: student participation in an organized service activity that meets an identified community need and is connected to course content/ specific learning outcomes with structured reflection occurring before, during, and after the activity.

Community Engagement & Service Learning Resources and Examples

Flipped Learning

Flipped learning, also called the flipped classroom, is a pedagogical framework that reverses, of flips, what we often think of as the traditional cycle of learning.  In flipped learning, students gain their first exposure to a topic outside of class, often via lecture-type videos, and then use class time to develop a deeper understanding of the material through discussions or other active learning strategies.

Seven Things You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms  (Educause, 2012)
This resource offers an overview of flipped learning.

A Few Concerns About the Rush to Flip (Weimer, 2014)
Read this article for a thoughtful critique that questions the rationale, practicality, and educational value of the flipped classroom.

Flipped Learning Network
Visit this professional learning community for educators who use flipped learning.

Project Based Learning

Project Based Learning (PBL) is a framework of teaching whereby a course is framed by posing or asking one or two real-world problems or questions relevant to the goals of the course. Students spend a significant amount of the term formulating a solution or answer. PBL encourages depth of knowledge and higher order thinking in order for students to adequately address the problem or question at hand. Often a PBL course uses a final culminating activity to showcase and assess student work and knowledge.

Seven Essentials for Project-Based Learning (Larmer & Mergendoller, 2010)
Read this brief article for a more in depth explanation of what makes PBL a powerful learning experience.

Click here for some tools that can assist in creating and running a PBL-focused course.