Taking Learning to Task: Creative Strategies for Teaching Adults / Edition 1

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Known for her work in popular education and her worldwide teaching experience, Jane Vella has significantly changed the way we view adult learning. In Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach, she introduced twelve principles of learning-centered education; in Training Through Dialogue, she presented a step-by-step approach to training the trainer; and in How Do They Know They Know? Vella and her colleagues showed how to evaluate and improve adult learning programs. These books rest on one basic assumption: that learning is most effective when teachers involve their students in the learning process.In Taking Learning to Task, Vella builds on her earlier books and shifts the spotlight from teaching tasks to learning tasks. Unlike traditional teaching methods, learning tasks are open questions that lead to open dialogue between teacher and learner. Vella draws from current theory and practice to explore the meaning and power of learning tasks. To illustrate this unique approach, she provides seven steps to planning learning-centered courses, four types of learning tasks, a checklist of principles and practices, critical questions for instructional design, key components for evaluation, and other invaluable tools.Vella also shares real-world examples of successful learning programs, including online and distance-learning courses. Taking Learning to Task is a hands-on, practical guide to designing effective learning tasks for diverse learners and diverse content. Teachers, trainers, and all types of instructors will find a wealth of advice for refining their day-to-day practice.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Reading this wonderful book is like having Jane Vella at yourside. She encourages, she coaches, she inquires, she models—andultimately she gives us the courage to risk changing ourestablished habits of teaching. An important book, to be read andreread." —Clifford Baden, director of programs in professionaleducation, Harvard University

"As an octogenarian who has taught for many years, I celebrate whatVella has done in these pages. By marrying theory and practice, shehas shown how to design learning that takes hold of thelearner—mind, heart, and muscles. I'm going to use learning tasksin my own work and prove that it is never too late to learn."—Jack McCall, professor, Principals' Executive Program, Universityof North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"Is Jane Vella's brilliant and challenging approach something wecan truly master? In Taking Learning to Task, the master herselfreveals the mechanics of creating learning tasks. You'll feel asthough you've found the keys to creating profound and powerfullyeffective learning experiences. Anyone responsible for engaging agroup of adults in learning will find this book invaluable!" —RodBrooks, vice president for administration, EXPLORIS

"Vella has inspired me to rethink my teaching and move in a newdirection. Instead of merely giving a lecture, I now weavetheoretical information into creative learning tasks. It's adynamic new teaching-learning approach, and your students willthank you for it." —Monica Rector, professor, University of NorthCarolina at Chapel Hill

"Highly recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above."(Choice, 9/01)

Vella (School of Public Health, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) takes teachers of adults through a seven-step process of transforming their lecture-based teaching to the task-and-learning- centered model, detailing how to design, lead and test learning tasks for different cultures and for online and distance education courses. Provides a checklist of principles and practices, critical questions for instructional design, and key components for evaluation. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787952273
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/28/2000
  • Series: Higher and Adult Education Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,185,690
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

JANE VELLA is adjunct professor at the School of Public Health of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also CEO of Global Learning Partners, a consulting and training company that has grown out of JUBILEE Popular Education Center.

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Table of Contents

1. Learning Tasks: Assumptions and Definition.

2. Comparing Teaching Tasks and Learning Tasks.

3. Learning Tasks As Part of a Complete Design.

4. Four Types of Learning Tasks.

5. The Power of Action: "The Verb's the Thing".

6. Principles to Guide Design.

7. The Art of Leading Learning Tasks.

8. Time and the Learning Task.

9. Checkpoint: Reviewing Concepts Through Examples.

10. Matching Tasks to the Group: One Size Does Not Fit All.

11. Tasks for Distance Learning and the Internet.

12. Using Learning Tasks: Twenty Reasons and TwentyPrinciples.


A. Learning Tasks in Action: A Workshop Model.

B. Example of a Distance-Learning Course.

C. Technical Guide for Designing and Using Learning Tasks.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2009

    An essential text for working with adult learners

    Jane Vella is someone to discover, if you haven't already. Her principles of learning (detailed with wonderful case studies in her first book, "Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach") are practical and relevant for any group of people. If you are familiar with the work of Paulo Friere or Malcolm Knowles, you will recognize their lineage in Jane's work.

    This book is a simple "how-to" guide to training (or curricular or meeting) design, that I have adapted many times in many different situations. Check it out.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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