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How to Integrate Directed Learning Activities into Any Course Curriculum

Author: Amy Azul Subject: All Subjects Created: 2017-08-24
From The Author Many students come into the college classroom with developing writing skills. In courses where writing is not emphasized and time cannot be spent on writing fundamentals, students are many times left to flounder. Sharing with students the various resources the Writing Center provides is one way to help students succeed in their courses. In addition to providing students with one-on-one tutoring and workshops, the Writing Center has developed over forty-five Directed Learning Activities (DLAs) to supplement and enhance a student’s writing abilities. In a climate where institutions demand quantifiable results, these activities deliver. Writing Centers and tutoring programs across the country observe marked improvement and higher student persistence as a result of students utilizing this resource. In fact, Mt. SAC English students have an average 15% success differential. DLAs demonstrate student success through fun, self-paced, contextualized learning activities. And just in case the student has any lingering questions, each DLA concludes with a brief tutoring session. We are creating many more DLA topics, and we welcome any recommendations for future DLA topics and look forward to any feedback you may provide. - Amy Azul

Impact on Faculty

When these interventions have been used, students demonstrate higher persistence and higher success rates than classes that do not use this approach.

Impact on Students

Faculty have reported experiencing a higher quality of submitted work. In addition, class time is saved for content versus spending time reviewing mechanical writing issues.

Toolkit Survey

Toolkit Overview

Are you ever frustrated by your students' writing problems? The Writing Center is here to help. We can provide Directed Learning Activities (DLAs) to your students. Students first work independently and then meet with a tutor. DLAs address writing issues including poor paragraph writing, incomplete sentences, and uncertain comma usage. The Writing Center can even work with professors to create custom DLAs. Our research has shown that incorporating DLAs as homework assignments has a very positive impact on pass rates. Explore this toolkit to learn best practices in using DLAs to help students and how the Writing Center can help.

Steps To Implement

1. To completely understand the DLA Program, review the power point presentation, “How to Integrate Directed Learning Activities into Any Course Curriculum,” found in the Materials section.
2. Review sample homework assignments listed under DLA materials to see how other instructors provided instruction to their students.
3. Review additional materials and check out the DLA website at to see a full list of current DLAs and to learn more about them.
4. Review the current DLA topics and consider which topics may be scaffolded into your course curriculum for improved student success.
5. Email Amy Azul ( or call (909-274-5077) with any questions and to create an implementation plan for your specific courses.
6. Implement the plan.