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Designing Transformative Learning Experience Phase II

Learning Module


The institution is promoting a major shift from didactic to transformative pedagogy. The driving force behind this shift is the need for higher proficiency level in target language (TL) for the future military linguists. The rationale is that we cannot continue to do the same thing and expect better results. Especially since majority of our students are millennial and post millennial learners. Millennials expect more variety in the classroom and most likely perform better when instructors connect their lessons to real life. Therefore, the organization has introduced and is promoting the use of several teaching methods through series of rigorous training.

This is a blended workshop refresher course for experienced instructors. Previously, instructors learned about various instructional theories through an online self-paced course titled, Designing Transformative Learning Experience Phase I. Participants are language instructors teaching military personnel who are learning language in a rigorous program. In phase II, they will actively engage with the learning material and each other through this online module and in-person sessions for duration of 8 weeks.

In this experiential workshop, participants will be empowered to transfer theories into practice. At the end of the 8 weeks, they are expected to design and implement a lesson plan according to the principles of scenario-based while integrating either task-based or project-based learning. Participants will receive an email with a brief syllabus outlining the duration of the course, due dates of assignments, live in-person session dates, and links and resources for accessing the online module.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this model, participants will be able to:

  • Define and identify the key elements and principles of Scenario-Based, Task-based, and Project-based Learning
  • Create a scenario relevant to the target language syllabus
  • Describe the schema activation concept, its purpose, and share best practices
  • Identify and select authentic materials aligned with the descriptors of the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale
  • Integrate the created scenario with task-based or project-based learning and design and implement a lesson plan

Pre-course Survey

For the Participants

Please complete the following survey and bring it to the in-person session.

Pre-course Survey

The purpose of this survey is to help you begin thinking about what you learned during phase I.

For the Facilitator

Facilitator Tips:

During the in-person session, form small groups and ask participants to:

  • discuss their teaching philosophy/beliefs and share whether their beliefs hinder or promote transformative pedagogy
  • revisit their response and make modifications or additions


Lesson 1: Scenario-based Learning (SBL) A

For the Participants

 Learning Objectives:

  • Define Scenario Based Learning, identify its key elements, and its benefits.

“Learning occurs in a context, situation or social framework in scenario based instruction. Such learning requires the actors (both teachers and learners) go beyond the classroom and typical classroom instructions” (Kindley, 2002)

Watch the following video:

Media embedded February 9, 2019


Comment 1: How would you define SBL? What are some of its key elements? How will using SBL benefit your students and/or your own teaching practice? Write your answers in the comments section. Include at least two media that complements your comments (video/image/links/etc.). Also, comment to at least two of your peers’ comments.


Kindley, R. W. (2002). Scenario-based e-learning: A step beyond traditional e-learning. Learning Circuits. Retrieved from: http://www.learning

For the Facilitator

Background Information:

SBL stems from the situated learning theory (Errington, 2011). Situated learning argues that the mind devoid of social context is unable to explain the learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991).

The following video is a brief description and explanation of the situated learning:


Media embedded February 11, 2019

“A situated learning experience has four major premises guiding the development of classroom activities (Anderson, Reder, and Simon 1996; Wilson 1993):

1. Learning is grounded in the actions of everyday situations

2. Knowledge is acquired situationally and transfers only to similar situations

3. Learning is the result of social process encompassing ways of thinking, perceiving, problem solving, and interacting in addition to declarative and procedural knowledge

4. Learning is not separated from the world of action but exists in robust, complex, social environments made up of actors, actions, and situations” (Stein, 1998).

Similarly, SBL uses scenarios as a simulation and embeds “true-to-life” challenging tasks that learners might encounter in real-world (Errington, 2011). Scenario is a story, a set of circumstances, or a situation where learners engage in various tasks or projects. A scenario can invite students to solve a problem, demonstrate skills, explore an issue or concern, and/or to speculate on alternative outcomes (Errington, 2005). When learning objectives are set in a situation or a scenario that is relevant to learner’s future profession, it makes learning more purposeful. Having a possible real-world situation promotes engagement and elicits serious commitment from students resulting in taking ownership of their own learning.

Facilitator Tips:

  • In the invitation email to participants, remind them of the purpose of this training course.
  • During live session, allow participants to take ownership of their own learning, and collectively come up with the benefits and the criteria of the SBL. You will have the chance to clarify misconception/s and answer questions.


Errington, E. P. (2011). Mission Possible: Using Near-World Scenarios to Prepare Graduates for the Professions. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 23, 84-91. Retrieved September 23, 2018, from

Errington, E. (2005) Creating Learning Scenarios: A planning guide for adult educators. Palmerston North, New Zealand: Cool Books

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991) Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Stein, D. (1998). Situated learning in adult education.

Lesson 2: SBL Part B

For the Participants


• Examine sample scenarios and analyze their elements.

• Create a scenario relevant to the target language syllabus.

Scenario is a story, a set of circumstances, or a situation where learners engage in various tasks or projects. Think of scenario as an umbrella that covers other learning/teaching concepts such as task-based learning, project based learning, content-based learning, etc. Whichever concept you choose for your lesson design, it must contain a scenario placing students in a real-world situation.

  • Look at the SBL elements created for our institution in the following attachment. 
  • Read and examine the attached sample scenarios.
Essential Elements of SBL Design
Scenario Samples

 Comment 2: Consider your syllabus, identify your topic and learning objectives, and create a scenario for a specific hour/s of instruction which you will be teaching 8 weeks from now. Post your scenario in comment section.

Also, read at least two of your peers’ scenario and provide constructive feedback. Use the following sentence starters as a model:

  1. In your scenario, I liked:
  2. A question on my mind is:
  3. When you revise your scenario, please consider this variation/change/addition:

We will meet in a live in-person session for Q&A and clarification. Bring your modified scenario to the live session and prepare to discuss your scenario and the modification you made based on feedback you received from your peers.

For the Facilitator

Background Information:

In foreign language teaching and learning, Scenario-Based Learning is typically integrated with other approaches such as Task-Based Learning, also known as Task Based Instruction (TBI), Project-Based Learning (PBL), Content-based Learning, etc. This module mainly focuses on SBL, TBL, and PBL. 

The institution has established certain criteria and/or key elements for scenario-based instruction that are as follow:

  • Situation or context (simulate real-world practice)
  • Problems, issues, challenges, or dilemmas
  • Prior knowledge and skills
  • Options, choices, or paths, consequences of decisions
  • Feedback
  • Future oriented

Facilitator Tips:

  • Most likely, you will encouter several clarification questions, and a few participants will share their frustation. Please provide a safe environment for sharing/venting while soliciting resolutions and creative solution to overcome the obsticles the participants may face in their real classroom situations.
  • You can use the following image and umbrella analogy to provide a visual for the participants who may need additional guidance for understanding the blending of concepts:
  • Also, encourage participants to discuss, in small groups, if any of these examples are applicable in their curriculum/classroom. Remind them that they should only use these examples as a model and that they must create their own scenarios.   

Lesson 3: Task-based Learning (TBL)

For the Participants


  • Define Task Based Learning, identify its key elements/criteria, and its benefits.
  • Read the following definitions on TBL and principles of TBL categorized by Rod Ellis (the link to the full article is provided in the attached word document)
Ellis-Principles of Task
Definitions of Task
  • Watch the following video for quick demo of TBL
Media embedded February 11, 2019


Comment 3: How would you define TBL? What are some of its key elements? What are the benefits of TBL? Create a list of criteria/phases that are included in TBL. Write your answers in the comments section and include some media (video/image/links) that are relevant to your comments. Also, comment to at least two of your peers’ responses (share your opinion, ask questions, etc.).


For the Facilitator

Background Information:

The following is Rod Ellis video discussing the task-based language teaching:

Media embedded February 11, 2019

Lesson Design

“The design of a task-based lesson involves consideration of the stages or components of a lesson that has a task as its principal component. Various designs have been proposed (e. g. Estaire and Zanon 1994; Lee 2000; Prabhu 1987; Skehan 1996; Willis 1996). However they all have in common three principal phases, which are shown in Figure 1. These phases reflect the chronology of a task-based lesson.” (Ellis, 2006)

Facilitator Tips:

  • During the live session, provide the TBI criteria handout (see attachment) set by the institution to participants and ask them to discuss how these task criteria reflect scholars’ and their own common understanding of what the language task is and whether there is any discrepancy.
Task Criteria
  • During the in-person session, discuss the importance of peer-to-peer review and encourage the participants to include an activity where students provide feedback to each other. 
  • Lead the participants to consider the importance of students' self-reflection and students' feedback regarding the instructional design. Provide the following self-reflection form to participants to use with their students and inform them that this is mandatory:
TBL Students' Self-reflection


Ellis, R. (2006). The Methodology of Task-Based Teaching. The Asian EFL Journal, 8(3), 19-45. Retrieved February 8, 2019.

Lesson 4: Project-based Learning (PBL) Part A

For the Participants


  • Define PBL, identify its key elements, and its benefits.

“Project-based learning (PBL) is a model that organizes learning around projects. According to the definitions found in PBL handbooks for teachers, projects are complex tasks, based on challenging questions or problems, that involve students in design, problem-solving, decision making, or investigative activities; give students the opportunity to work relatively autonomously over extended periods of time; and culminate in realistic products or presentations (Jones, Rasmussen, & Moffitt, 1997; Thomas, Mergendoller, & Michaelson, 1999)” (Thomas, 2000).

  • Watch the following video and post your comments 
Media embedded February 11, 2019


Comment 4: How would you define PBL? What are some of its key elements? What are the benefits of PBL? Write your answers in the comments section. Also, comment to at least two of your peers’ comments.


Thomas, J. W. (2000, March). A REVIEW OF RESEARCH ON PROJECT-BASED LEARNING [Inclusive Review of "Project-Based Learning" (PBL)]. Retrieved January 19, 2018, from

For the Facilitator

Background Information:

PBL shares many characteristic of Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory. Kilpatrick was one of the first educators who discussed the idea of project as an educational approach in his article, “The Project Method: The Use of the Purposeful Act in the Educative Process” (Kilpatrick, W. H. 1929). He emphasized that through purposeful action children develop cognition and learn to be better citizens gaining critical skills in order to adapt easily to inevitable changing social conditions.

Facilitator Tips:

  • During the live session provide the participant with the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) website ( and inform them of various graphic organizers such as, rubrics, project planning templates, and sample lesson plans that are available.

Lesson 5: PBL Part B

For the Participants


  • Examine the sample projects and analyze the essential elements
Media embedded February 11, 2019
  • Review the PBL elements/Golden Standards of PBL in the following attachments, choose one of the attached sample project, and analyze it against the PBL elements.

PBL Gold Standards
Sample Projects

Comment 5: does your chosen sample project meet the essential elements of PBL? If not, address the missing elements and suggest improvements. Write your answers in the comment section. Also, respond to at least two of your peers’ comments providing additional information or suggestions.

For the Facilitator

Background Information:

Graphs obtained from the following link:

Stoller’s model is centered around communicative and functional forms of language learning.

Stoller (2006) defines PBI as:

  1. Having a process and product;
  2. Giving students ownership of the project;
  3. Extending over a period of time (several days, weeks, or months);
  4. Integrating skills;
  5. Developing student’s understanding of a topic through the integration of language and content;
  6. Collaborating with other students and working on their own; …
  7. Holding students responsible for their own learning through the gathering, processing, and reporting of information from target language resources;
  8. Assigning new roles and responsibilities to students and teacher;
  9. Providing a tangible final product;
  10. Reflecting on both the process and the product.

Facilitator Tips:

During the in-person session form small groups, and: 

  • lead the participants to reflect on the feedback they received from their peers regarding their scenario, and create a list of its benefits.
  • encourage the participants to include an activity, in their lesson plan design, where students provide feedback to each other.

  • ask them to consider the importance of students' self-reflection on their own learning and students' feedback on the instructional design.

Provide the following self-reflection form to participants to use with their students and inform them that this is not optional:

Students' Self-reflection


Stoller, F. 2006. Establishing a theoretical foundation for project based learning in second and foreign language contexts. In Project based second and foreign language education: Past, present, and future, ed. G.H. Beckett and P.C. Miller, 19–40. Greenwich, CT: Information Age.

Lesson 6: Activation of Schemata

For the Participants


  • Identify the importance and purpose of schema theory in teaching and learning
  • Discover essential elements to consider in developing activities for schemata activation

“Activating schema is a concept that revolves around accessing the individual learner’s prior knowledge of the information being learned” (Activating Schema, 2014).

  • Explore the following videos and websites to review the purpose of activating learners’ schema and to discover some new activities that will promote students’ engagement and activate their prior knowledge on the subject.
Media embedded February 12, 2019
Media embedded February 12, 2019
Media embedded February 12, 2019

Comment 6: a) describe some of the strategies you have used in your classroom for activation of Schemata - this could be for reading, speaking, writing, or listening tasks. b) Consider the scenario you created for your chosen topic which you will implement in your classroom at the end of this course. How will you activate students’ schema? What activity would you use that fits your students proficiency level, background knowledge, and/or experience?

Also, respond to at least two of your peers’ comments.

For the Facilitator

Background Information:

Piaget's developmental process involves schemas as building blocks of knowledge, and adaptation process that ushers the transition from one stage to another. The adaptation process includes equilibrium, assimilation, and accommodation. The idea is that individuals are at equilibrium when they find balance between their internal cognitive structure (schema) and environment. In other words, they can assimilate the new knowledge and fit the information into existing cognitive structure (into their schema). This accommodation changes the schema or create new schema. However, there are times that the new information is at odds with the existing knowledge; hence, learner experiences disequilibrium. Because of this unpleasant encounter, the learner will try to resolve and restore the balance and force to accommodate and master the challenge.

Facilitor tips:

Durning the in-person session you might reiterate the following:

Possible Elements to consider when planning an activity for activating schema:

  • Lesson objectives
  • Lesson topic
  • Challenging aspects of materials (content, language, or text organization)
  • Learner profile (reflective vs. active, kinesthetic, personality, sensory preferences, cognitive types, etc)
  • Learner proficiency level
  • Expected learner engagement level

Lesson 7: Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR)

For the Participants


  • Review ILR language proficiency scale
  • Identify authentic materials aligned with your chosen week of instructions given the descriptors of the ILR scale.

Watch the following videos on various ILR proficiency levels (Since the videos have domain restriction, you can only access them through your work computer. the links are provided below). As you listen pay attention to topic of the conversation and the type of questions and probes asked by the tester:


Level 1:

Level 2:

Level 3:

Review the following condense version of the ILR language skill level description for reading and listening:

Reading Language Skill Level Description


Listening Language Skill Level Description


Comment 7: Choose your authentic reading and/or listening passage (news report, websites, advertisement, etc.) that you intent to use in your lesson design and upload it in the comment section. Assign an ILR level for your passage/s and provide a relational for your choice of level. 

Also, respond to at least two of your peers comments. We will have furthur discussions during our next in-person session.

For the Facilitator

Background Information:

Visit the following website for the overview and the history of Interagency Language Roundtable:

The following descriptions of proficiency levels 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 characterize spoken-language use. Each higher level implies control of the previous levels' functions and accuracy. The designation 0+, 1+, 2+, etc. will be assigned when proficiency substantially exceeds one skill level and does not fully meet the criteria for the next level. The "plus-level" descriptions, therefore, are subsidiary to the "base-level" descriptions.

A skill level is assigned to a person through an authorized language examination. Examiners assign a level on a variety of performance criteria exemplified in the descriptive statements. Therefore, the examples given here illustrate, but do not exhaustively describe, either the skills a person may possess or situations in which he/she may function effectively.

Facilitator Tips:

During the in-person session,

  • post participants' chosen passages on the wall (allow them to move around), and discuss whether or not the level assigned to the passage is appropriate.
  • in pairs, ask the participants to create tasks for their passages (i.e., comprehension questions, summaries, fill-in the blank, etc.).
  • in whole class, ask them to assign ILR level to the tasks they created for their passages. This is an important step to remind the participants that level appropriateness of the tasks are just as important as the passage itself.



Lesson 8-Creating an Instructional Design

For the Participants


  • Create a TBL or PBL that is relevant to the target language syllabus.

You have already created your scenario according to week of instruction, topic, learning objectives of the week, and your students’ proficiency level. You have also chosen the level appropriate passages that students need to cover, and you have a few ideas as the type of activities you would use for activation of schema.

Your next step is to choose one of the learning concepts and design a lesson plan according to its essential elements. The following rubrics serve as a guide for your design. The same rubric will be used when you provide feedback to your peers during the in-person session.

PBL Rubric
Task Design Rubric

In the in-person session, you will team up with one of your peers for peer observation, and use the same rubrics to provide feedback during post-observation. 

Comment 8: This is your final comment for this module. Which concept (TBL/PBL) did you choose, and why? Also, search the internet and/or use your own creativity to find/adapt a lesson plan template that meets your lesson design’s needs. Upload the template in the comment section.

Remember to respond to at least two of your peers' comments. 

For the Facilitator

Facilitator Tips:

During the in-person session, inform the participants that after classroom implementation of their design, they will:

  • Collect students' feedback
  • Meet with their observers and collect their feedback
  • Take time to self-reflect and write their reflection useing the following form:
Instructor's Self-reflection Form
  • Create a presentation for the follow up session (date TBD -- usually a month after the last in-person session).


Inform the participants that they will present their scenario, classroom activities, students' feedback, and most importantly what worked, what didn't work, and what they will do differently. Remind them to bring their complete package to the follow up session.