The Secret Formula: An Instructional Model that Works

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Prepare. Learn. Practice. Apply.

Four simple words reveal a brilliant strategy for teaching and learning. Our instructional model reflects the latest research and most advanced innovations in effective teaching and learning, combined with a web-based integration technique that is truly unique and highly effective. For simplicity, our instructional model consists of four discrete but interrelated steps: Prepare, Learn, Practice, and Apply.


This important step prepares students for the learning activity by activating background knowledge and generating interest in the topic. This preparation can begin offline as a discussion, but we also repeat the preparation online in the form of an introduction and scenario. The scenario is a situated learning proposition that provides students with a meaningful context for the lesson—a reason for them to pay close attention learn all they can.


During the learning stage, students are taken directly to a number of specific Web resources that engage students with rich content. We give preference to sites which contain rich media (audio, video, animations, and simulations) and primary sources.


To help reinforce learning and provide a low-stress level of accountability, students are given an opportunities to practice recalling some of the details of what they have learned.


The best way to reinforce learning—and also provide a means of assessment—is to give students an opportunity to apply what they have learned in meaningful ways. We favor variety, not formulas. We ask students to apply their learning in numerous ways ranging from Document Based Questions that require formal analysis or synthesis to projects that appeal to a student’s more creative side. We also provide educators with a number of differentiated learning exercise ideas and activities to further extend learning.

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