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"It's not so much what we do, but how we do it that really matters."

(4) State Intended Outcomes

(5) Select Content
(6) Design Experiential Methods

This phase provides step-by-step procedures for developing useful, learner-oriented curriculum materials. Keeping in mind learners' needs as identified from the needs assessment and analysis, intended outcomes (educational objectives) are developed to match learner needs with the components of the issue. The content (what is taught) is based on the intended outcomes as well as the knowledge, attitudes, skills, aspirations and behaviours (KASAB) of the learners. How the content is taught, is determined by experiential methods. It is important to take into consideration the characteristics of the learners, styles of learning, and the content. An example of how to organize content from existing FAO population education curriculum materials is provided as well as ten sample activity sheets to demonstrate experiential methods used to deliver population education content in the Addendum.. The emphasis throughout this phase is to design curricula with youth at the center. The approach is life skills oriented (i.e., to help youth acquire the knowledge, attitudes, skills, aspirations, and behaviour through experiences they can apply to their own lives).


In this step needs identified in the needs assessment process are converted into measurable outcomes for the learners. Instructional or educational objectives are called intended outcomes here, intended outcomes is the preferred term because it implies learning is planned, intentional, and a measurable outcome is expected. The following is a synthesis of key concepts, simplified and adapted for experiential learning. Further study of references and background information provided in the Addendum is recommended for those who want more depth on this topic.

This step is critical because it provides guidance for the content (what is to be taught) and links the needs of the learner to the issue or problem. It also sets the stage to evaluate or measure if the learner has attained the intended outcome, (i.e., the impact of the project). By now it is obvious that "each step builds on the previous." If the issue has been clearly defined, a statement of the problem properly framed, and the needs of the target audience accurately assessed and analyzed, the next step leads to stating intended outcomes. Intended outcomes should clearly state, in measurable terms, what the learner will be able to do as a result of participation in planned activities designed to help the learner attain knowledge, attitudes, skills aspirations, and behaviors to bring about change. For example:

Given information presented in this step, curriculum developers will be able to:

  • describe, identify, and apply the three essential components (conditions, performance, and standards) to state measurable intended outcomes;
  • identify, apply, and evaluate categories and terms of each category of learner skills: knowledge and intellectual skills (cognitive); physical action and motor skills, (psycho-motor); and feelings and attitudes (cognitive); and
  • identify and apply life skills in determining curriculum content and activities.

The intended outcome should be measurable and specific. Without measurable outcomes, experiential learning activities cannot be successfully planned or evaluated. All intended outcomes should serve as a bridge between the issue of concern and the needs of the learner. "They serve as a guide to learning, a guide to instruction, and a guide to evaluation" (Wentling, 1993, p.68).

What is an intended outcome?

An intended outcome is a statement of what a learner will specifically know and be able to do as a result of participating in the activities planned in the curriculum.

Components of an Intended Outcome

A broad question to ask for each intended outcome might be: How will learners be different after completing the curriculum? A list of specific skills, knowledge, or characteristics that learners will have as a result of going through the curriculum can be generated.

"There are no mistakes, only lessons.    Growth is a process of trial and error
and exploration.    A lesson will be presented in various forms, and will be 
repeated until it is learned.    When you have learned it, 
then you can go on to the next lesson".

An intended outcome statement should include the following three criteria to be effective:

Population Education Components of Intended Outcomes

  • Conditions are clearly specified under which the learner will exhibit the desired behavior, (i.e. the situation, limits, supplies, materials, tools, and equipment under which the behaviour will be performed). Examples of terms helpful in defining conditions might be:

Given a list of examples.......
While in a group discussion...........
Using the personal budget plan.....
Using the data collection procedures outlined in the curriculum..... 

  • Performance states what observable (measurable) behaviour the learner will be able do in order to demonstrate the intended outcome (objective) has been attained. Examples of performance statements include: 

The learner will be  able to name............. 
The learner will restate......... 
The learner will apply............. 
The learner will be able to determine trends in population growth in his or her community. 

  • Standards describe how much or how precisely the quality of work (task or application of knowledge) is required to achieve an acceptable level of performance. Examples might include:

Two problem solving steps for each example. 
Restate each question before answering. 
Record keeping procedures for  one month. 
According to the methods described in the book.

These examples suggest a format for structuring intended outcome statements, with some adaptation or paraphrasing according to the content and situation.

Sample Format For Intended Outcome Statements:

Given                                     (Here the condition is stated)

          The Learner Will                   (Here the performance and 
                                                            the standards are stated)

Applying the above format to the previous examples for each criteria, the following intended outcomes are stated:

Given a list of situations, learners will be able to name two problem solving steps for each example.

While in a group discussion, the learner will restate each question before answering.

Using the personal budget plan in the activity sheet, the learner will apply record keeping procedures for one month.

Using the data collection and analysis procedures outlined in Activity 1, learners will be able to determine the rate of population growth in their communities without calculation errors.

Take time now to critique and improve upon the examples. Write an intended outcome statement for something you feel should be included in population education curriculum. As you probably noticed, each step includes an intended outcome statement for curriculum developers. Modeling is one of the most effective teaching/learning techniques. This guide models best practices and, in the case of intended outcomes, demonstrates the usefulness of intended outcomes in the development of curriculum. Analyze and critique the intended outcome statements from your perspective as the learner or reviewer of this guide. Has it been effective for you as a learner? Stating the intended outcome for the learner helps to guide the presentation of information for the author, and it will help to identify the content and methods to be included in the curriculum you develop.

Now let's go back and look at some additional questions that might be helpful in forming and evaluating intended outcomes:

Categories of Learning Behaviours

Intended outcomes are aimed at changing behaviour (how the learner will be different). There are three basic categories of observable behaviour:

Categories of Learning Behaviours:
1)  Knowledge and intellectual    (cognitive/thinking);
2)  Physical action and motor skills  (psychomotor), and
3)  Feelings and attitudes  (affective).


Several references describe and guide the development of educational objectives (intended outcomes) and define learning behaviours. The USDA (1992) Curriculum Development for Issues Programming includes a comprehensive description of each category listed above with examples of general instructional objectives and terms useful to develop intended outcome statements. Wentling (FAO, 1993) has summarized them for developing training curriculum. An adaptation of both approaches is provided in Addendum D. The intent is to provide you with sufficient information and examples to enable you to apply these categories when you develop intended outcomes.

Descriptions of learning behaviours include:

KNOWLEDGE AND INTELLECTUAL ABILITIES range from simple recall to complex synthesis, and evaluation. Bloom, (1955) categorized cognitive objectives in  a progressive hierarchy from the least to the most complex levels: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Several researchers have simplified these into three levels:

  1. Knowledge and Comprehension; includes  remembering or recalling: previously learned material and grasping the meaning of the material.
  2. Application refers to the ability to use learned material in new and concrete situations, This may include the application of such things as rules, methods, concepts,  principles, laws, and theories. Learning outcomes in this area require a higher level of understanding than those under comprehension and knowledge.
  3. Evaluation (includes analysis, synthesis and evaluation) refers to: the ability to break down and analyze material into component parts; identify the organizing principles governing the interaction of the parts; put the parts together to form a new whole (synthesis); and be able to judge the value of something based on definite criteria, Learning outcomes in this area are highest in the cognitive hierarchy. They use all of the skills in alt of the elements in all of the other categories plus conscious value  judgements based on clearly defined criteria.

PHYSICAL ACTION AND MOTOR SKILLS include  competencies in the physical performances   occupational  skill or task. Examples include physical acts such as writing, speaking, playing ball, sewing, or adjusting a carburetor.

FEELINGS AND ATTITUDES are observable emotions or indications of acceptance or rejection. Krathwohl (1964) identified five categories listed from lowest to highest levels:

Receiving refers to the learner's willingness to attend to  a particular phe­nomena or stimuli. Learning outcomes in this area range from awareness that something exists to selective attention on the part of the learner.

Responding refers to active participation on the part of the learner who not only attends to a particular phenomenon but also reacts to it in some way. Learning outcomes in this area may emphasize agreement to respond (reads assigned material), willingness to respond (voluntarily reads beyond assignment), or satisfaction in responding (reads for enjoyment). The higher levels of this category include those instructional objectives that are commonly classified under "interests"; (i.e., those that stress the seeking out and enjoyment of particular activities).

Valuing is concerned with the value a learner attaches to a particular object, phenomenon, or behaviour. This ranges in degree from the simple accep­tance of a value (desires to improve group skills) to the more complex level of commitment (assumes responsibility for the effective functioning of the group). Valuing is based on internalizing a set of specified values, but clues to these values are expressed in the learner' s overt behavior. Learning outcomes are concerned with behavior that is consistent and stable enough to make the value clearly identifiable. Instructional objectives, classified under "attitudes and "appreciation", would fall into this category.

Organizing is concerned with bringing together different values, resolving conflicts between them, and beginning the building of an internally consis­tent value system. Thus the emphasis is on comparing, relating, and syn­thesizing values. Learning outcomes may be concerned with conceptual­izing a value (recognizes responsibility for improving the environment) or with organizing a value system (develops a career plan that satisfies both economic security and social service). Instructional objectives relating to the development of a philosophy of life would fall into this category.

Characterizing by a Value or Value Complex. At this level of the affective domain, the learner  has a value system that has controlled his or her behaviour for a sufficiently long time to have developed a characteristic "life style." Thus, the behaviour is pervasive, consistent, and predictable. Learning outcomes at this level cover a broad range of activities, but the major emphasis is that behaviour is typical or characteristic of the learner. Instructional objectives concerned with the learner's general patterns of adjustment (personal, social, emotional) would be appropriate here.

Intended outcome statements should be structured to use the whole range of simple to complex thinking, feeling, and doing, to bring about the needed and/or desired measurable changes in learner behaviors. Toward that end, the statements should include measurable and observable conditions, performance, and standards that demonstrate the learner has attained the intended outcome. See Addendum E for additional examples of intended outcome statements related to population education and Addendum F, a checklist for intended outcome statements.

Life Skills

The skills acquired in the learning process that have life long benefit are classified as life skills. Such skills include: communicating and relating with others; problem solving and decision making; acquiring, analyzing, and using information; etc. Several lists have emerged over the past 20 years in 4-H/youth development programming in the United States, and there are undoubtedly many other systems emerging around the world. When designing programs and curriculum to achieve learning outcomes, a life skills approach provides the developer with a "longer" view of the benefit to the learner beyond the immediate intended outcome. It is a widely held expectation that the outcomes of programs (educational experiences) should include the acquisition of skills that can be readily applied in the workplace, home, and community. Many curriculum developers now identify the life skills primarily emphasized in the intended outcomes and the activities of curriculum. A review of some of the lists of life skills is included in the Addendum G. Each of  the sample population education activity sheets in Addendum I (1-10) includes an identified life skill emphasized in the activities.

In this step, we have defined an intended outcome, reviewed the three essential components of a well written intended outcome (condition, performance, standard); identified the three domains of learning behaviours (cognitive - knowledge and thinking; affective - feelings and attitudes; and psycho-motor - physical action and motor skills) and terms used to indicate their attainment; and briefly discussed life skills. Curriculum developers are encouraged to practice writing intended outcomes using the format and categories suggested. Now we are ready to select the content, the next step in the curriculum development process.


After reviewing this step, curriculum developers will be able to:


The first part of determining content begins with defining the scope of the issue, which determines the expertise needed on the curriculum development team. For example, the issue statement for population education was: a process that enables people to recognize and understand the implications of population factors for the well being of the individual, the family, and society. Experts familiar with subject matter relative to population factors as well as experts on human development, experiential learning, group process, evaluation, and curriculum development would be involved in the decision making process about developing appropriate curriculum. If the needs assessment and analysis has been conducted and prioritized, then you should know the content that needs to be included. The logical progression is illustrated in Figure 2, page 4.

The needs of the learners are translated into intended outcomes and guide content selection. The usefulness of the content to the learner can be assessed by asking: "What difference will this content make to learners in five years?" "How will they be better off for knowing it?" "What skills will they acquire that will help them in the future?" or "Will they even remember it?" The answers to these questions will help focus on meeting the needs, interests, and motivations of the learners.

More specific questions about selecting content might include:

What content do these specific learners need to know in order to meet (perform) the intended outcomes and have an effect on the issue?

What knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours will you assume learners know or have before participating in the program?

What subject matter topics of interrelated disciplines are needed to help learners use practices, acquire knowledge, and develop skills?

What will learners be able to do if they know this content?

Content can be outlined into the two broad categories of scope and sequence. Scope can be defined as what the curriculum includes (i.e., the breadth or expanse of the topics, learning experiences, and/or activities used to help the learner attain the intended outcome). The emphasis should be clear and the lessons/activities should be centered around the main topics. Ideally, the scope should define the outer boundaries of the content.

Sequence refers to the "when" of the curriculum topics, lessons, experiences, and activities. If the curriculum content is derived from the intended outcomes and developed from the needs assessment, much of the content will already by obvious. Wentling (FAO, 1993) identified four organizing principles in developing training curriculum. They are slightly modified for population education curriculum development

  1. Move from the simple to the complex.   People relate to small, simple events, concepts, or facts more easily than to complex ones. Learning is reinforced starting with the simple and progressing to the more complex. Confidence is increased in the learner and retention of the content is better. Since complex concepts and equipment are made up of simpler parts, it is logical to present and teach the parts before teaching the whole.

For example, if the intended outcome is to help youth understand the impact of population growth rate on land use: 1) begin with the number of people in their family and the amount of land or space they own; 2) compare the amount of land owned by the family on a per person basis; 3) have learners divide the amount of land equally among all siblings {assume each sibling has a family of four); and 4) assess the amount of  land per person in the next generation.

  1. Move from the general to the specifics. Sometimes we are more familiar with general concepts than with specifics. This is true especially when the generalized concepts are easily understood. Generalized concepts give learners a clearer picture if you start with a general concept before proceeding to specifics.

For example, if the intended outcome is to provide youth with knowledge about ways to limit family size, begin with discussions of attitudes about family size. Progress to identify positive and negative aspects of large and small families. Then provide specific information about methods available to limit family size.

  1. Use an existing logical organization. There is a natural logic or normal system of organization  to some content.

For example, if you teach youth how to organize an income generating activity: 1) begin with identifying possible items to sell, 2) assess the market, skills and materials needed to produce items; 3) analyze the costs of production, marketing, sales, and volume needed for profit, etc. This is called a chronological sequence, one thing happens before the next 

Another type of logical sequence is topical. You might  teach learners  about nutrients in different foods before planning preparing nutritionally balanced meals for a week.

Another form of organization is learning ease or comfort level. Some learners prefer to learn things in a particular sequence because of their past learning experiences, cultural values, or simply personal learning preference. Population education requires attention to gender specific and personally sensitive topics (e.g., Venereal disease prevention). The method as well as the content needs carefully consideration. Role plays or situations for learners to offer advice on how to  handle a hypothetical situation rather than sharing personal experience provides a level of psychological comfort. This technique gives learners an opportunity to become comfortable with the subject matter generally before introducing specific information.

  1. Move from the known to the unknown. Learning theory describes how people build their knowledge and skills by adding and connecting new knowledge to what they already know or can do. Therefore, the curriculum developer and the facilitator should structure and sequence the content to begin with current knowledge and move to new knowledge. Known concepts can be taken and adapted or related to new but similar concepts. The use of analogies is an example of moving from known to the unknown. This is a good technique to deal with sensitive issues.

An example of going from the known to the unknown. To  help learners develop a family budget, (earners first keep a record of what they spend for one week to one month. Secondly they analyze their spending patterns and develop a budget and keep record for one month, Finally, they develop a yearly family budget. Seethe sample population education activity sheet, Addendum I -Developing a Family Budget It  guides  learners to develop and analyze a family budget

Outline Content

The next step is to prepare an outline that transforms the intended outcomes into the information or knowledge needed for the learner to achieve the desired outcome. It must contain what will be taught. The following curriculum development steps are adapted from Wentling's guide to curriculum development (FAO, 1993). The steps suggest a logical procedure to prepare an outline.

  1. Identify the necessary knowledge to accomplish the intended outcome.
    Analyze each intended outcome. Identify the knowledge needed to attain the desired outcome. Break knowledge into facts, concepts, and principles to be remembered or understood to accomplish the intended outcome. If you are an expert in the content area, you can determine the knowledge requirements of the intended outcome from your own knowledge and experience. If not, then consult with subject matter experts or talk with people who routinely accomplish the desired outcomes in their work. Much of this analysis information can be gleaned from the earlier needs assessment analysis.
For example: intended Outcome 1, After completing this lesson, learners will be  able to  accurately determine the population growth rate  in their local community.

Knowledge elements;

  •  Definition of population  growth  rate                                         [concept]        
  •  How and where to get population data                                           [ fact]         
  •  Number of births and death in  community in one year                       [fact]         
  •  How to calculate population  growth  rate                                          skill
  1. Identify the performance or skill requirements of each outcome. This  step  is accomplished in the same manner as knowledge component identification. The difference is that required actions for accomplishment of the outcome must be identified. The question is, "What should someone do in order to accomplish the intended outcome?" The answer identifies skill requirements. It should be noted that not all outcomes will have a physical (psycho-motor) skills but may have cognitive or other life skills.

For example: Intended Outcome 2:After calculating local population growth  rate, learners will be  able to  prepare an  exhibit for a local agricultural fair that explains population growth in their community,

Skill Elements include:

  • Ability to locate and
  • Skills to calculate population growth rate.
  • Skills to present facts (writing and drawing).
  • skills  to design and build an exhibit
  1. Identify important attitude elements for the outcome. Many outcomes have attitude elements, especially those relative to population education issues (e.g., personal protection against AIDS, decisions about the desired number of children for a family and when to have them, etc.). Learners may possess the necessary knowledge and skills (in problem solving and decision making), but if their attitude is not open to apply what they know, it simply will not make a meaningful difference or bring about change.
For example: intended Outcome 3: After completing the lesson on sexually transmitted diseases, learners will be able to identify personal safety and protection measures and commit to  personal responsibility for themselves and their sexual partner.

Attitude Elements include:

  • Receptivity to learning about diseases and prevention.
  • Accepting  responsibility for one's own behaviour.
  • Desire to modifying previous behavior.
  • Desire to practice behaviour consistent with knowledge, self-interest, values and belief system


  1. Organize the knowledge, attitude, skills, aspirations, and behavior (KASAB) elements into a logical sequence. The sequence progressions des­cribed earlier should be taken into consideration as major topic areas are sub-divided into smaller chunks. Each topic and sub-topic should be subdivided in a way that makes sense logically to the designers, learning experts, and the learners. The characteristics of the learners and the needs assessment determine what the learners already know then the curriculum team builds on it. This procedure will result in a topic outline for each unit, lesson, or part of a lesson. This is a critical step for planning the types of experiences and activities that will engage the learner in learning the concepts, facts, and principles as well as skills.

At the end of this process, you should have a "working outline" of the curriculum content. An example applied to population education is shown in Addendum E. This chart is adapted from FAO population education curriculum materials. It provides a systematic logical progression to identify curriculum content that emerges from the issue statement, is linked to the needs, and translated into operational intended outcomes. The subtopics are the knowledge, attitudes, skills, aspirations, and behaviours learners need to acquire in order to attain the intended outcome. Then, the knowledge, attitudes, skills, aspirations, and/or behaviors (KASAB) needed for the learner to achieve the intended outcome are specified. There should be a natural flow from the "big topic" to the desired outcome for the learner to the specific components (knowledge, skills, attitudes, and/or behaviours) needed to attain the outcome. This type of logical framework is very helpful to visualize connections from the general to the specific content while focusing on the learner outcome. Take time to study and critique the components identified in the chart. Try to change the intended outcome statements and identify new KASAB components.

Three additional notes:

  1. the KASAB components are similar to task or job analysis, described by Wentling,(1993);
  2. population education content suggestions need to be adjusted and adapted to fit the specific identified needs and local circumstances; and
  3. this type of framework could be used for any topic.


The next step translates what the curriculum will teach into how learners will acquire the knowledge, attitudes, skills, aspirations, and behaviours needed to attain the intended outcomes. This step is where the curriculum developers pull everything together (i.e., activities that take into account the characteristics and needs of the learner, the intended outcomes, the content or subject matter, and the learning environment). The activities can be compared to a "learning laboratory" or the "vehicle" that delivers the message to the learner. This is where all of the above factors contribute to decisions about activities. Refer to Figure 2 on page 4 to visualize how each step leads to the next and relates to the others.

This step includes: a review of the characteristics of learners, styles of learning, experiential learning methods, the design of activity sheets, the creation of learning environments, and types and sources of resources and information. The first section deals with the characteristics of learners and their stage of human development One of the most effective methods to put the curriculum development team members "in touch" with the learners is to have them participate in a recall experience. What decisions/problems did they face? How did they decide what to do? How did they evaluate what they did? A suggested exercise for leaders working with rural out-of-school youth is included in Addendum H. Adapt it and use it with the members of the curriculum development team to help them focus on youth concerns and feelings.

The characteristics of learners were discussed in Step 3 as part of the needs assessment process and in Addendum C. Next the question of how people learn and what motivates them to learn will be discussed.

"Diversity is the one true thing we have in common.
...celebrate it every day."

Learning Styles

Everyone gives and receives information and messages through the senses.

The senses use in learning are:
  • the visual                  (seeing),
  • auditory                    (hearing),
  • kinesthetic               (physical involvement), and
  • tactile                       (touch).

Learning occurs when information is passed through all of these sensory channels; however, research indicates that people are quite individual in their preference or effectiveness to process information through the various channels. Most people have a dominant or preferred learning channel or style. For example, one person may remember people by their face or what they were wearing (visual). A another person may recall names (auditory). Someone else might remember a handshake (tactile), etc. Some individuals may learn best visually, but would have to consciously develop the other senses to learn through them.

The curriculum developer needs to consider that people do not all learn the same way. This means a variety of methods should be used to teach concepts.

Intended Outcome:Through  planned activities, learners will be able to identify and  analyze how family size affects lifestyle.


  • Learners read  a  short  story small family (visual activity).
  • Learners discuss the story in small groups (auditory).
  • Learners develop and presents role play of a couple with  a large fatally planning to build a  house with adequate room  and a  limited budget {Kinesthetic}.


The following chart shows activities designed to maximize learning through the different senses:

Learning Style  Type of Learning Activity
(Speaking and hearing are primary learning modes).
  • Learners are read several statements about family size (e.g. parents continue to have children until they have a son). Small groups discuss their opinions then report to the whole group.
Activity focuses on speaking and hearing.
(Sight is principal learning mode).
  • Learners get a handout with a comparison of family budgets for a family of four and one for a family of ten. They are asked to make a chart that shows the positive and negative aspects of a large family.


Activity focuses on visual presentations.
(Active physical involvement is primary learning mode).
  • Learners are given the scenario of a couple discussing how many children they want.
    Learners are asked to role play and act out the advantages and disadvantages of having a large and a small family.


Activity is interpreting a concept through physical  involvement.
(Touch is the primary learning mode).
  • Learners are asked to make paper houses to show how family size makes a difference in the  community.
Activity focuses on using hands to make objects to illustrate a concept.

  Variety Of Activities

A wide variety of learning experiences is important to the design of learning experiences for youth in non-formal settings. Learners vote with their feet if they are not interested and the involvement is not high. The motive for participating in the learning experiences for rural out-of-school youth, and for most non-formal learners, is self interest - what they feel they benefit from the experience. The activities should be fun and interesting. Learners should be able to recognize the personal value of what they are learning. Brainstorm, come up with as many ideas as possible, among your curriculum committee members to develop learning activities. Research new methods of teaching concepts. Talk to teachers and students to learn what they like to do best, then design learning experiences around the activity to help them attain the intended outcome.

The following activities are methods that help learners attain the knowledge, attitudes, skills, aspirations, and behaviours related to the content:

Examples of Types of Learning Activities:
Tours or Field Trips Community Meetings Role  Playing
Interviews Focus Groups Radio/TV
Broadcasts Quiz Shows (Jeopardy) Puzzles
Problem Solving Panel Discussions Puppet Shows
Discussion Groups Opinion Surveys Skits
Mind/Idea Mapping Observation Studies Pantomimes
Brainstorming Public Speaking Plays
Treasure Hunts (Searches) Case Studies Dance
Group Service Projects Games & Simulations Write Songs
Organizing an Event Fairs/Festivals Sing Songs
Paint a Group Mural Art/Craft Activities Illustrated Talks

"Variety is the spice of life!"

The curriculum should encourage learning facilitators to be innovative and creative. Each group is different and what works well with one group, may not with another. Therefore, it is important to suggest several activities the facilitator can choose to use. Facilitators should also be encouraged to use resources from the community or other communities to enhance the learning process. Viewing the local community as a "learning laboratory", is especially appropriate for population education activities where the content includes a wide variety of subjects. No one person could have all the knowledge and expertise to cover the factors affected by population (e.g., agricultural production, income generation, employment, resources management - land, water, human, health, nutrition, and family life). Not all facilitators will have the knowledge and skills, or feel comfortable, to effectively deal with sensitive issues (e.g., how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases or limit the number of children in a family). As people with the appropriate expertise from within the community are involved, they support the program. It also helps the learners feel more "connected" to the community. They learn more about the people and resources available in the community and find mentors and role models.

Learning Environments

Learning environments and organizational arrangements are the final factors to be considered in activity design. The learning environment refers to the physical, social and psychological atmospheres. The type of physical setting (i.e., a school, park, community center, clinic, home or religious gathering place) will affect the type of activities that can be done. For example, a park would provide a natural setting to examine land use and how population affects it. The location, light, heat, space, equipment, etc. will also affect how comfortable, physically and psychologically, the learners are. People learn best in environments that suit their needs and are comfortable.

Social Environment:  The social environment is a critical factor in the learning process, especially in non-formal situations. Facilitators set the climate by modeling appropriate behaviours and setting the tone for interaction. Modeling is defined as imitative learning that occurs naturally in social situations. Research suggests a leader's behaviour (desirable and undesirable) is imitated. Studies have found mat positive interaction between the facilitator and group members increases the probability of learning through modeling. Research also indicates alumni of youth programs highly value the relationships they develop with their youth group leaders or youth development staff members.

Interaction, leader-member as well as member-member, contributes to the cognitive (thinking) and social development of youth. Interaction can be a powerful motivating factor, especially for young people. It can be equally destructive or damaging if not handled carefully. This is a very tricky balancing act for the facilitator. To create a "comfortable climate for learning" while modeling self-disclosure that is helpful and not harmful to the youth participants. Curriculum developers assess how much group interaction is possible and appropriate to support intended outcomes. Group process provides learners with many opportunities to develop life skills.  In the case of population education, a high degree of group interaction is desirable but a balance is needed so that "shared ignorance" does not overtake the content needed to achieve the intended outcomes. The group experiences where self-disclosure and sensitive issues are discussed will develop close and personal relationships among the group. Group facilitators need to be well trained and comfortable in dealing with the emotional intensity youth feel and express in such situations.

Psychological Environment. Closely related to the social environment, the psychological environment refers to the feelings of comfort and security members feel about being in a group. The level of trust achieved within the group is fostered by the modeling behaviour of the group facilitator as well as the behaviour of the group members toward each other. The level of trust within the group is almost as important as the content when dealing with sensitive topics. If not approached appropriately, the sensitive topic and the group experience could become a negative experience. The curriculum developers determine the type of activities that will build positive relations among and between group members and facilitators. The curriculum content and process must be supported with facilitator training. A well designed curriculum will not achieve the desired outcome if those who implement it are not skilled in working with groups of youth. Facilitators should also be comfortable with discussing the content. As they are role models, they set the tone of the group and help group members deal with self-disclosure and sensitive topics.

Delivery Modes

Delivery modes refers to the roles and relationships of learners to each other. Most out-of-school programs are designed for groups already in existence or specifically organized to deliver the curriculum. Delivery modes might include:

  1. Organized youth groups—clubs, scouting programs, 4-H type groups, young farmers groups, church youth groups, etc., etc.
  2. Special-interest groups, short-term programs, and day camps.
  3. Overnight camps (resident, primitive, or travel).
  4. School enrichment.
  5. Instructional TV/video.
  6. Individual learning, mentoring, and family learning programs.

The types of organizations and delivery modes vary from place to place. Analyses of the area where the curriculum will be implemented needs to be conducted. Are there existing organizations for collaboration? If the answer is yes, the "organizational culture" will need to be factored into activities planned. The curriculum development team and the facilitators determine appropriate delivery modes and plans activities accordingly.

Source: Curriculum Development for Issues Programming (USDA.1992).

Experiential Learning Model

Now it is time to put all of these considerations about how the content will be delivered into a logical sequence from the learner's perspective. The experiential learning model provides a learning sequence that maximizes the learning process in a significant and meaningful way. The following pages show the Experiential Learning Model (Figure 3) and the Experiential Learning Cycle Facilitators Guide.  Review of these concepts will help you think through each phase the learning process as you design activities. Both of these illustrations come from the USDA Curriculum Development for Issues Programming Handbook (1992).

Key steps to the experiential education process include:

having the learner(s) experience the activity— perform or do it;

having the learner(s) share the experience by describing what happened;

asking the participants) to process the experience to identify common themes;

having the learner(s) generalize from the experience to form principles or guidelines that can be used in real-life situations (e.g., life skills);

 asking participant(s) to apply what was learned to another situation.

This step focused on the methods to deliver curriculum content. The characteristics of learners, styles of learning, variety of activities, learning environments, delivery modes, and experiential learning concepts were reviewed. A check list for curriculum content is included in Addendum J. Addendum I provides additional information and outlines for developing curriculum activities for experiential learning.


Curriculam Development Guide:


Curriculam Development Guide:

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