Thursday, May 5, 2016

The LIAS Principles and the CA Quality Standards for Expanded Learning Programs

By Sam Piha

Sam Piha
In 2010, the Learning in Afterschool & Summer (LIAS) project was launched to offer five research based principles that serves as a guide for programs wishing to increase the engagement, motivation, and learning of their young participants. 

Four years later, the California Department of Education (CDE)/After School Division released the California Quality Standards for Expanded Learning Programs (CA Quality Standards). LIAS staff served on all three phases of the development of these standards to ensure that the LIAS principles were embedded. These standards focused on points of direct service with youth (#1-6) and standards that are intended to guide program managers (#7-12). 

Many afterschool and summer leaders asked how the LIAS learning principles correspond to the CA Quality Standards. To address this question, we issued a “crosswalk” paper, which correlated the LIAS learning principles with the CA Quality Standards for points of service with young people. This “crosswalk” paper can be found on the LIAS website here.

Below we offer a summary of this crosswalk. 

Learning that is Active: 
Learning and memory recall of new knowledge is strengthened through different exposures – seeing, hearing, touching, and doing. Afterschool and summer learning should be the result of activities that involve young people in “doing” – activities that allow them to be physically active, stimulate their innate curiosity, and that are hands-on and project-based. 

Learning that is Collaborative: 
Afterschool and summer programs should help young people build team skills that include listening to others, supporting group-learning goals, and resolving differences and conflicts. Collaborative learning happens when learners engage in a common task where each individual depends on and is accountable to each other.

Learning that is Meaningful: 
Learning is meaningful when youth have some ownership over the learning topic, the means to assess their own progress, and when the learning is relevant to their own interests, experiences, and the real world in which they live. Community and cultural relevance is important to all youth. 

Learning that Supports Mastery: 
If young people are to learn the importance and joy of mastery, they need the opportunity to learn and practice a full sequence of skills that will allow them to become “really good at something.” Afterschool and summer activities should be explicitly sequenced and designed to promote the layering of new skills. 

Learning that Expands Horizons: 
Afterschool and summer programs should provide learning opportunities that take youth beyond their current experience and expand their horizons. They should go beyond the walls of their facilities to increase young people’s knowledge of their surrounding neighborhood and the larger global community. 

You can read other blogs by the LIAS project by going to: 
  • Expanded Learning 360°/365 Project website 
  • LIAS Blog Written for the California Afterschool Network

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