Facilitators using POGIL often encounter resistance from students who express a preference for lectures. This resistance is not surprising, since a team-based active learning format is often a new experience for students and requires them to change their perspective on the roles of teacher and student. Students can feel threatened in this new environment because they are grappling with an unknown system, have new responsibilities, and are being asked to process information, think critically, solve problems, and interact productively with others. How can an instructor overcome this resistance? Several strategies are discussed in the POGIL book. One of those strategies is to empower students to shape some aspect of the class. According to authors Mare Sullivan and Jenny Loertscher, when students perceive that they have control over at least some aspect of their learning environment, they work more productively. By soliciting and then explicitly acting on student input early in the term, facilitators can affirm the students’ agency. This affirmation is a win-win for student and facilitator alike, establishing an environment of cooperation that leads to success (Bain, 2004.) One way to do this is to gather feedback simply by asking students to list three aspects of the course that support their learning, or by asking students to identify one insight they have had about their own learning and explain how they can use this insight to succeed in the course.
Collaborative Feedback Training is a service offered by the POGIL Activity Clearinghouse to get authors started on their PAC journey. The Goal of a Collaborative Feedback Training session is to ensure the highest quality peer feedback process. This free, online videoconference is hosted approximately three times a year and will calibrate PAC authors and reviewers to the peer feedback rubrics. In addition, the session will orient new users to the purpose of the PAC and the activity submission process. All authors and reviewers must complete a Collaborative Feedback Training session prior to gaining access to posted activities. It is assumed that each participant will have completed a Fundamentals of POGIL workshop and be familiar with the essential elements of a POGIL activity and application of the POGIL feedback rubrics. This one-hour training session is an introduction to reviewing activities submitted to the POGIL Activity Clearinghouse (PAC).
- Prior to the session, participants will use the PAC website to individually review a draft POGIL activity, using POGIL rubrics.
- During the session, participants will share their responses with a team of 2-3 other reviewers and work towards achieving consensus on how best to apply the rubrics. Discussion among reviewers will provide calibration of rubric scores and common issues found in draft activities will be highlighted.
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Abolutely! Facilitation is critical in helping students develop process skills. A facilitation plan help instructors identify the process skills developed within an activity and gives the facilitator the opportunity to prepare for eliciting, monitoring, and providing feedback on those skills as students work on an activity. This aspect of preparing the facilitation plan includes reviewing the activity and identifying the prompted process skills and how those can be reinforced, observed, and assessed as students work. With the facilitation plan in mind, the facilitator can then monitor, intentionally provide instruction, create opportunities for improvement, and give feedback to help students develop their process skills in the classroom. But remember...it does no good to encourage development of process skills if the assessments do not require the use of them. Assessing and providing feedback about students' development and use of process skills not only helps students develop these skills, but also to undersand the importance of obtaining and practicing these skills.
Last year, The Project embarked on a journey to create its third 5-year strategic plan. Under the guidance of a planning team, first led by Susan Shadle of Boise State (who led the creation of The Project’s first strategic plan), and then Juliette Lantz of Drew University, The Project spent the last two POGIL National Meetings refining the key points of this latest iteration. The POGIL Steering Committee continues to sift through the feedback from the PNM and hopes to have a working plan in place by this fall. The official plan will be debuted at next year’s POGIL National Meeting. The key takeaways from this strategic planning process are that The Project wants to ensure that it addresses the needs of learners, practitioners and The Project itself while remaining true to its mission of improving teaching and learning. Everything in this next plan will be rooted in the understanding that the following three principles must permeate all the work we do as a Project:
- Develop, promote, and implement processes and actions that that address the barriers for full engagement of practitioners, students and organizational structures.
- Ground all of our endeavors in fiscally responsible practices that lead to sustainability.
- Ensure that tactics used to implement the strategic plan be specific, time-bound and measurable, so that we can assess the organization’s progress in a thoughtful and meaningful way.
We are looking forward to unveiling the next strategic and exciting next five years!
There are myriad ways to get involved with The POGIL Project other than using the POGIL pedagogy in your classroom. The Project is always looking for practitioners who are willing to help out on various Strategic Plan working groups and we encourage people to visit our strategic plan website to learn more about the plan and the various working groups.
If you are interested in writing or reviewing activities, you should definitely check out the POGIL Activity Clearinghouse. This group facilitates the collaboration, peer review, and classroom testing stages associated with creating high-quality materials meeting the standards approved by The POGIL Project.
If you want to engage with the community on issues related to The Project or the pedagogy, you should join our POGIL Practitioners Facebook group. And if you would like to learn more about The Project, listen to our podcast or attend one of our eSeries events. We are always looking for new ways to engage our community, so if you have an idea, let’s make it happen! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can see what is possible!
The POGIL Steering Committee guides the work of The Project by assuring that the strategic plan is carried out. There are seven members on the Steering Committee, each with defined responsibilities related to one of the goals of the strategic plan. The members each serve a 3-year term, with two members rotating off each year, and new members rotating on at the POGIL National Meeting. There is a long-term chair whose term is undefined.
The POGIL Board of Directors directs the activities of The POGIL Project as a corporate entity, and stands in a fiduciary relationship to the Corporation. Members of the Board are appointed by the other members of the Board.
The POGIL pedagogy is student-centered and active. It was developed out of a desire to help students succeed and its hallmarks are that it is not instructor-centered or lecture-heavy. With POGIL, instructors no longer think about what they are going to say, but instead, focus on what students say. They work to help those students develop their own understanding of material and the ability to apply concepts. The instructor predominantly serves as a facilitator of student learning and not as the primary source of information.
Students need to understand why a POGIL class is structured differently than a lecture-based class. It is useful to do an introductory activity that helps students understand that building their own knowledge is a more effective way of learning and will lead to long-term success. The POGIL activity replaces lecture material, demonstrates how experts think about the content, and provides the students with a self-generated study guide.
It is also important to note that POGIL materials are not designed to be used as worksheets, as homework, or as substitute teacher lesson plans. Rather, they are designed to introduce students to critical concepts, deepen understanding of those concepts, and to help students apply those concepts. Effective facilitation is key to effective student learning.
Facilitators using POGIL often encounter resistance from students who express a preference for lectures. Resistance is not surprising, since a team-based active learning format is often new for students and requires them to change their perspective on the roles of the teacher and the student. Students can feel threatened in this new environment as they grapple with the unknown and struggle to make sense of a new system. It is natural for students to resist changes that make them uncomfortable and as a result, students often express dissatisfaction with POGIL, possibly leading to complaints from parents, and questions from colleagues and administrators. The book POGIL: An Introduction to Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning for Those Who Wish to Empower Learners, suggests employing several strategies to increase buy-in. These include:
- Creating a supporting environment in which POGIL is the norm
- Incorporating “Redemptive Grading” to increase mastery and decrease anxiety
- Explicitly revealing aspects of the POGIL pedagogy
- Creating a safe learning environment
- Providing incentives for meaningful participation
- Empowering students to shape some aspects of the class
- Cultivating buy-in from third parties
Read more about these strategies in Chapter 8 of the book, sold by Stylus Publishing.
There is no single way to implement POGIL in the classroom and every implementation has unique characteristics that can influence how and whether particular goals are achieved. However, there are 4 core characteristics that must be present in order for a classroom environment to be considered a POGIL implementation:
- Students are expected to work collaboratively, generally in groups of 3 or 4.
- The activities that the students use are POGIL activities, specifically designed for POGIL implementation.
- The students work on the activity during class time with a facilitator present.
- The dominant mode of instruction is not lecture or instructor-centered; the instructor serves predominantly as a facilitator of student learning.