5-Step Learning Cycle™

Each CONNECT Module focuses on a discrete practice in a key content area (e.g., inclusion, family-professional partnerships, transition) and is organized around the 5-Step Learning Cycle™. The 5-Step Learning Cycle™ is an innovative approach for making evidence-based practice decisions. It is based on realistic problems to solve and the importance of integrating multiple perspectives and sources of evidence.

To learn more about the cycle, click on the step to read the descriptions below or watch the video clip: CONNECT Modules: 5-Step Learning Cycle™.

Step 1. Dilemma

In Step 1, the learner considers a realistic dilemma to be solved. The dilemma is presented from the perspectives of family members and / or the practitioners.

Step 2. Question

In Step 2, the learner identifies a practice-focused question about the dilemma that can be answered through various sources of evidence including the best available research. This step helps the learner move from the dilemma, which raises all kinds of possible foci and questions, to a specific practice focus and establishes the problem-solving context for the learner.

Step 3. Evidence

In Step 3, the learner identifies and appraises key sources of evidence related to the practice focus. This process includes further defining the practice focus and learning to recognize examples of it by observing video clips of the practice, followed by observations in real practice settings. The sources of evidence that learners are exposed to include the following: (a) a summary of the best available research evidence on the practice; (b) policies (e.g., Head Start Performance Standards, joint position statements) related to the practice; and (c) experience-based knowledge using perspectives of practitioners and families about the implementation of the practice.

Step 4. Decision

In Step 4, the learner integrates all of the information learned in Step 3 and appraises its relevance to the unique context of the dilemma (e.g., the practice setting(s), characteristics of child, values of family, their own values and experiences) in order to make an informed decision and develop a plan for implementation.

Step 5. Evaluation

In Step 5, the learner describes how to evaluate the impact of the practice decision in order to assess and refine the practice.

VIDEO CLIP: CONNECT Modules 5-Step Learning Cycle™

(1:40 minutes)