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Plan - Do - Review - Implement

Welcome to the Outdoor Ed School, if you are a teacher looking for new and exciting ways to provide your students with the opportunity to develop key life skills like communication, problem solving, co operation and so many more then you have found the right place.


Each week we talk about new team challenges and problem solving activities, group discussion topics and review models which you are going to be able to provide directly to your students.


These challenges use little to no equipment and can be adapted to only use items that can be found inside your classroom. Each task and challenge is short and sweet and is the perfect way to start your students day.


This week is focused on a learning model which pairs perfectly with almost every problem solving challenge and team challenge that is on the outdoor ed school website or what we are discussing in the podcasts.


It has many names like PPCA, Cobbs learning cycle or the most popular plan -do - review. This learning cycle was first published in the 1950's by a management consultant called Dr William Edwards Deming, he developed this method to identify why some products and processes didn't work as well as they were initially expected to.


The method that he published was under the name PDCA which stands for plan ,do, check and act.


However over the last 73 years this learning cycle has had many face lifts and name changes, the most popular name it goes by now is plan-do-review-implement and it's used in thousands of schools and businesses.


The reason why this learning cycle is so successful is because it is brilliantly simple and an incredibly effective tool and you will be able to use this tool to support your students during team challenges and problem solving tasks but it is not limited to outdoor ed, it's very applicable to almost everything you encounter from day to day life.


The best way you can introduce this tool if you are providing it to your students during morning registration as a team challenge or problem solving challenge is by listing the different headings on a whiteboard, plan, do, review, implement and split hem into columns. There is a different section for each heading and then introduce your challenge for that morning, so say you are doing flash or group juggle, introduce the name, introduce the objective, we need to pass an object as fast as we can around every single member in the class but before you start giving them the opportunity to do the activity we are going to ask your students to do a group discussion and you can do this as one whole class or if you want to split them in to two groups.


They are going to formulate a plan of how they think they can complete this task in the most efficient way possible.


Then before they start you are going to note down the key points of the plan on the whiteboard underneath the plan section, these need to be the key aspects, the fundamental things everyone needs to follow for the plan to work.


Then it's the fun part, you are going to allow your students to test the plan and activity, it is important before you start the activity to make your students aware they are going to have an allotted amount of time or an allotted amount of attempts or if they successfully complete the activity then we are going to stop so either time, attempts or completion you are going to stop the task.


After we have done the task, we have done the plan phase and doing phase, we are now going to have to review it.


Now hosting a group discussion you are going to get your students to review their own collective performance.


Now as the teacher you have a couple of different job roles at this point, if your students are already discussing and having conversations and it's quite healthy and not being dominated by one or two individuals and everyone is getting a chance to get over their opinion and listening to other peoples opinions and some questioning and challenging as they are going along , that's a fundamental part of it as well.


If that's organically happening as the teacher your job is to facilitate it and make sure the conversation remains on topic.



So if they go off on a tangent, bringing it back to the main focus which is reviewing their collective performance and how their plan went.


If there is a lot quiet and silence and people not really talking then you will need to stimulate the conversation and get the conversation going, then you will be able to ask the group some open ended questions.


Some questions which are not yes and no answers, they need to be a question which has an answer they will be able to expand on. think of things like " was the plan as effective as you thought it was going to be?", "is there anything we would change from our key values of our plan that could improve our performance overall?", "is there elements of our plan which you think if you changed or removed would improve the performance?", so these are open ended questions.


Questions people will be able to discuss as one collective, one big group, come together with their new and improved plan and you are going to list their new and improved plan, the key points that are fundamental for their plan working, you are going to list them under the review section on the whiteboard.


Then its the fun bit, they are going to test their new and improved plan, the things we have listed under review, they are going to get a chance to implement it, a second attempt on all the tasks and you you are going to record the results under implement. This is a cycle so this can be repeated over and over and over again, this means that your students as a team are slowly going to able to perfect a strategy for this task.


It doesn't have to be a problem solving task or a team challenge, you can apply it to most things in life, take sports for instance, if you are providing a PE lesson and you are looking at a pass in rugby you can start to break down the players performance with plan-do -review-implement.


Same as if you have someone acting in a drama lesson you can know what the plan is , so say we were doing an emotional scene which is going to need your student to act in distress or upset we can plan how we are going to make that happen, how we are going to do it, we adapt that plan so it fits that person a bit better and then we can implement it.


It's a very dynamic learning cycle which can be applied to almost every subject but is really helpful for these team challenges and problem solving tasks as naturally they have been designed to be quite difficult because if they weren't they would be too easy and people would get bored .


People will naturally get frustrated with team challenges and problem solving tasks but having this learning cycle and having it split into four sections allows students to recognise, actually i am just progressing through the cycle and it can be a really useful tool.


I do want to make it clear, this isn't a review method, it is a learning framework, it can support you and your students during the review process but the review is about drawing the embedded learning from the task and not highlighting how the task was completed. Let me give you an example, so an embedded learning outcome for a challenge provided alongside the learning frame work of plan-review-do-implement framework could be that failure is part of learning and not the result.


Every time we fail and I'm saying fail in adverted commas, we are giving ourselves an opportunity to implement and a way to improve whatever we are trying to get better at.


Good or bad results are only stepping stones and by us having the awareness to reflect on where we are now allows us to make a more educated decision when taking our next steps.


That could be an embedded learning outcome you could draw from plan-do-review, we wouldn't want to use plan-do -review but our review says if we just take time to look at things and make sure that everybody is following the plan and keeping an eye on everybody else and making sure we are following the instructions we are going to get better at an activity, that would be the process not the review.


We are trying to draw out the embedded learning, those powerful social skills and personal growth parts that challenge, we are trying to bring those to the surface.


Slowly and surely it will start to make a positive impact on our students.

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