Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Active Learning Online Course Now Available!

Collage of Active Learning modules

A free online professional development module on Active Learning is now available to train teachers, therapists & families in this approach from Dr. Lilli Nielsen for learners with significant needs.  Developed by Kate Hurst, Statewide Staff Development Coordinator, TSBVI Outeach, this course focuses on the principles of Active Learning, which are crucial to understand when implementing Active Learning at home or in the classroom.

Active Learning Modules

A series of modules is currently being developed that will be available to do for free at any time from anywhere.  These are designed for teachers, therapists, families, and anyone who wishes to learn more about Active Learning and are approved for ACVREP credit, as well as Texas State Board of Education Certification for varying amounts of CEUs.  

Each course includes content from the Active Learning Space website, which is a collaborative project developed by Penrickton Center for Blind Children, Perkins School for the Blind, and Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  Using video lectures and demonstrations, reading, and quizzes, learners can move at their own pace through the series.  

Principles of Active Learning Course

This self-paced course covers the basic principles of Active Learning, an approach developed by Dr. Lilli Nielsen of Denmark. This approach is used to provide instruction to individuals with visual impairments and DeafBlindness who are developmentally below the age of 48 months no matter what their chronological age.  Many of these learners have, in addition to visual impairments, significant physical, cognitive and emotional delays. 

What is the Active Learning approach?

The Active Learning approach emphasizes that all individuals learn best by active participation. In the earliest stages of learning (sensorimotor and early pre-operational stages) it is this active participation which actually “wires the brains” of all human learners.

What topics are included in this course?

This course contains the following content areas:

  • Overview of Active Learning: Broad description of Active Learning
  • What Is Play?: Play is the vehicle for learning for all individuals in the earliest stages of development. This step in the module will define "play" and explain why it is a key learning strategy.
  • Pathways to Learning: Each learner has a unique profile based on available sensory channels. Understanding what sensory channels are available to the learner is key to developing appropriate learning environments and activities.
  • Dynamic Learning Circle: All learners go through four stages of learning. Breakdowns can occur in any stage of learning and educators must learn to identify where there are breakdowns in this process in order to provide appropriate learning activities and environments.
  • Emotional Development: Learning is not only about cognitive and physical development, but also emotional and social development.  Understanding the importance of a learner's emotional development and how it impacts cognitive and physical development is discussed in this step.
  • Key Points of Active Learning: This summarizes some of the key points in implementing an Active Learning program for a learner.
  • Communicating with the Learner: This step discusses the importance of not interrupting a learner's process with unnecessary talk or interactions.
  • Five Phases of Educational Treatment: This shares information about how the adult should interact with the learner based on the learner's social and emotional development.
    • Phase 1: Offering
    • Phase 2: Imitation
    • Phase 3: Interaction
    • Phase 4: Sharing the Work
    • Phase 5: Consequences

Completion of this course will provide you with 12 CEU credits approved through ACVREP and SBEC. You must pass the course assessment with a grade of 80% or better to receive these credits.

Register now