**Background**

Measurement is a difficult subject to address in my eighth and ninth grade courses. When students come into my room 50% of the students know how to measure and 50% of them have no clue. When deciding to address the learning gaps, I decided that there were enough students that didn’t know how to measure so the entire class would participate in the lecture.

During the lecture based lesson, I called for answers and received them quickly from the students who already knew how to measure. Being comfortable with what I was saying and being reaffirmed by quick responses from students, I assumed that the lesson was a success.

**Reality**

After I completed the lesson, students were then expected to know how to measure to a 1/16” accuracy on their projects. I was disappointed to find that about the same number of students still did not know how to measure properly. Looking back at the lesson, I realized that I did not address the needs of the students who did not know how to measure, and my lesson should have been focused on these learners.

**Instructional Design to the Rescue**

The planning phase is essential to a successful project, and a part of the process is learner analysis. In specifically analyzing the students who did not know how to measure, I would have developed a lesson that would have better met their needs. I could have asked myself and the students with the need what kind of experiences with measurement they have had, how have they been taught to measure in the past, and how they feel about math subjects. By analyzing theses learner more in depth, I could have formulated a better lesson for them.

**Application**

Since that failure of a lesson, I have approached measurement very differently in my classroom. Although I did not formally run through the learner analysis laid out in ADDIE, (because I didn’t know about it), I did recognize that there had to be a better way of reaching these students.

I ended up having conversations with these students about their learning to determine how to approach the subject. From this knowledge, I was able to build a new approach, that tackles the issue from more than one angle.

**New Approaches to Addressing Learning Gaps**

Students often don’t want to learn something until they need to know it, so I have put more emphasis in creating attractive projects that students will want to build which also requirethem to know how to measure. With these motivating projects, I now have students who come to me asking how to measure.

Measurement is more easily taught in a one on one or small group setting, where it is easier to check for understanding. As I discover students do not know how to measure, I pull them aside and have honest conversations about their ability. Most admit that they do not know how to measure and then I can take next steps.

**References**

Greer, M. (2010). *Theprojectmanagementminimalist: JustenoughPMtorockyourprojects!* (Laureate custom ed.). Baltimore: Laureate Education, Inc.

Although not a project in the sense of being multi-departmental but only involving one person doing it all, the lesson on measurements is a good example, nonetheless, of missing something in the planning phase. After repeating a lesson one does quickly see what factors are within your control as lesson designer/project manager and what factors are related to the learner.

This mishap reminds me of my first day of teaching or rather the results on the first homework assignment. During class I thought i had done everything possible to help students understand the concept of case and number. I explained with examples on the board; I modeled the process for determining the two grammatical points; we practiced together; and lastly I had them practice individually in class. So I thought that for sure they were ready for the little exercise from the text.

When I collected and started to look at the homework, it became clear they hadn’t really understood number (singular versus plural). The papers typically had answers like: ablative 25, nominative 38, dative 27, etc. Laughable answers but quite a teaching lesson for me. Needless to say, we went back to square one to try again.

We know that in designing an instructional lesson, there is a period of testing and evaluation before the program is fully implemented with a real audience. Sometimes for teachers the fully implemented lesson turns out also to be the draft needing tweeking.

Your situation you described reminds me of when I first started teaching one-shot library instruction sessions to undergraduate students. Any class that had a research paper required a sixty minute session learning about how to search the library databases and collection. This requirement caused students to sit in the same library session sometimes more than once in the same quarter. So I couldn’t understand why these students weren’t learning – were they not listening to anything I said?

Upon deeper reflection and considering how people learn I realized that it wasn’t the students fault, as you can’t just learn how to be an efficient researcher by sitting in a lecture-based session showing them how; they need the opportunity to actually do the searching themselves. So I brought this up to the library team, but they didn’t think leadership would support changing the system. I ended up distributing surveys to students at library instruction sessions and gathered enough data to prove that the library instruction policy needed to be completely revamped. I assembled a team of librarians and we redesigned how we deliver library instruction.

When the status quo is not working it’s definitely time to find, as you put it, “new approaches to addressing learning gaps.” Especially when it’s discovered the instruction needs to be more thoughtfully considered.

Hi Eric,

The phases of project management process enables us to take a more effective approach to planning, implementing and staying focused. The conception phase could have been applied allowing you the opportunity to assess rather than to assume.

Which phase or strategy would you have used to decide on small groups as the approach?