top of page
Dick & Carey Podcast - Tara Laidlaw
00:00 / 00:00


Dick & Carey



00:01 Hi everyone, this is Tara and I'm going to be using a kind of unusual learning context to talk about the Dick and Carey model in this podcast. I work at the intersection of formal and informal education and by that I mean I use out-of-the-classroom experiential place-based learning experiences to help support the content that the teachers are teaching back in the classroom. This looks like outdoor education, field trips to museum, that kind of thing. So in this case I'll be talking specifically about a pond study class that we offer at the facility where I work now.


00:41 So the first step of the Dick and Carey model is to identify your instructional goals. What it is that the students need to learn, both skills and knowledge, by taking the course. In the context of the pond study class, what we're hoping that the students are learning is the application of the scientific inquiry cycle, the processes and the parts of being a scientist, in the context of a field study, because sometimes these kids have only ever done science in the classroom.


01:12 As far as the second step, instructional analysis, that's where we are identifying the skills, or knowledge, or mental processes that students will need in order to successfully master the material in the course. So in the case of the pond class, it's an underlying understanding of the scientific inquiry process, so that they have something to build on. But we also need our students to have the ability to follow verbal directions, we need them to have some level of impulse control in an exciting and unusual environment so that nobody ends up in the pond, and they need to have an ability to work collaboratively with their peers. 


01:56 The entry behaviors and learner characteristics is our third step, and that's where we're identifying the skills and knowledge and mental processes that we just specified in step two that the students already have. So in our pond class that would look like starting with a review of the inquiry process to check for student engagement and ability to contribute to that conversation. With the behavioral stuff, it's more of a gut feeling, like just taking a look at this population, this group of kids, do I think they're gonna be able to handle this.


02:29 And then from there we would move onto our performance objectives, step four, identifying specific goals and objectives for the course, often in the format of "Students Will Be Able To..." and this will guide our assessment. In the pond class again, the students will be able to match up activities that they did during the class with specific practices or parts of the inquiry process.


03:00 Step five is our criterion referenced test items, and this is just creating a test that will reflect what the students are learning in this particular class. In the pond class, that looks like matching the generic steps of the scientific process with the specific examples during the class. In our case it's not going to be a written test, because we're doing an outdoor education facility, but it's still looking for that knowledge that has transferred.


03:30 Step six is instructional strategy, that's outlining the lesson itself, including identifying where you'll be using group works, what kinds of activities you'll be doing, reading, will it be hands-on. In the pond class that looks like, okay, we'll start with our review of our scientific inquiry process, then we will go to the boat shed and get on our PFDs, and then we will take the boat to the collection site, and then we will demonstrate the data collection process, and so on. But this also includes considering your group size, how to split students into teams, what your supervision ratios are going to look like, and so on.

04:06 Step seven is our instructional materials, just identifying and collecting the equipment that you'll need in order to deliver the lesson and the assessment, and making sure that you have enough of it to go around. So in my situation that would look like we have six testing kits, six nets, six clipboards, and so on, and enough PFDs in the right sizes for everyone to get one.


04:29 Step eight is our formative evaluation, that's our assessment of how the lesson went both from the teacher's point of view and from the students'. For our pond class, that might look like, did anyone end up in the pond? If not, we did a great job! But in all seriousness, looking at whether or not the students were engaged, were they working well together, and did they ultimately establish that connection between the field experience and the classroom experience.


04:55 Finally step nine is the summative evaluation, and that's revision, identifying what went really well and that you want to keep for the next time around, and what didn't go well, and determining whether the things that didn't go well were because of group dynamics, instructor error, weather, that kind of thing, or if they really were just not very strong instructional pieces that should be cut and replaced. And in fact this pond class has seen many iterations using different tools, having different expectations for the instructors, and we went through that revision process multiple times before finding the version that works consistently really well for all of our students.


05:37 So my impressions of the Dick and Carey model to meet my instructional design needs are that this is a great place to start but especially because I'm working in an unusual context it's not a great hard-and-fast set of rules, but it is good guidelines. As an example, determining learner characteristics, that can be really difficult in the context of informal education because we often just see the students for one single short visit. And so if we think ahead of time about what some of those learner characteristics might be and what we might be needing from our students in order to participate in these activities, we can actually build out programs that are much more accessible and adaptable in case we get a group of students who don't necessarily have the skills we were expecting them to have.

bottom of page