BASE Education Feature Focus: Course Structure
BASE Education Feature Focus: Course Structure
Today, students are dealing with stress, anxiety, and mental health issues—challenges that can get in the way of learning. Studies have shown that social-emotional learning (SEL) positively impacts academics, so you can help support your students’ needs with BASE Education to provide evidence-based, clinical SEL content built by mental health professionals.
In this post, we’ll discuss the structure of BASE Education’s video-based and interactive courses, looking at how they are deliberately designed to teach specific social-emotional skills and encourage students to reflect and connect emotionally.
Course Structure: Video-Based and Educator-Led
Built at the elementary level with our grades 1–5 learners’ developmental and social-emotional needs in mind, BASE Education video-based SEL courses deliver learning using student voice through short videos and teacher-guided group learning, prioritizing opportunities for reflection, skill building, and planning. The 25 (and growing) elementary courses are clinically developed using therapeutic frameworks and evidence-based practices, and they cover current topics such as Respect, Coping Strategies, and Digital Safety.
Each course begins with an engaging 5- to 7-minute video, paired with a printable educator guide and student activity worksheet for grades 1–2 and grades 3–5 to support whole-class or small-group learning opportunities. These combined resources allow learning to happen in one lesson or to be broken into shorter segments throughout the week.
Elementary courses are launched from the educator portal rather than requiring students to log in. The teacher can start the video lesson and project on a whiteboard or via videoconferencing so that all students get a friendly, personable introduction to the material, hearing from other students in their age group. Then, educators can utilize the printable guides to explore a suggested lesson plan that uses a familiar gradual-release model, incorporating discussion and independent offline practice.
Having differentiated guides with different activities and worksheets for lower and upper elementary grades allows teachers to meet the unique needs of their group and to revisit a skill as needed during an intervention block. Educator guides also include related readings, allowing learning to extend into other subjects to reinforce themes and support integration. Many worksheets can be kept by students to use as visual prompts for skill memory, reinforcement at home, or even anchor charts for norm setting.
These age-appropriate courses will help students understand and reflect on important real-life skills, setting a strong foundation in mental health and wellness to foster more engaged, successful academic learning.
In upper elementary and middle school, we begin to transition to interactive courses with four courses available for grades 4–6 in the interactive style: Bullying and Cyber Bullying (Grades 4–6), Digital Safety (Grades 4–6), Keeping Calm (Grades 4–6), and Who Am I? (Grades 4–6). These courses allow students to reflect as they interact with the course by themselves or with an educator. Let’s take a closer look at how the interactive courses are structured now.
Course Structure: Interactive and Student-Led or Educator-Led
Built at the middle and upper levels with the social-emotional needs of our grades 6–12 students in mind, BASE Education interactive courses use evidence-based practices to connect with students by building rapport and leveraging a strengths-based approach.
These developmentally appropriate courses deliver learning using student voice and can be experienced individually by a student or via teacher-guided group learning. The courses are short, each taking from about 30 to 90 minutes to complete and, like the video-based courses, are paired with a printable educator guide for grades 6–8 and grades 9–12, to support group learning opportunities in one lesson or broken into shorter segments. Companion courses for parents and guardians are also available for many of the courses so that learning can continue outside of school in the home and community.
The interactive course content is divided into three elements: defining, coping, and planning:
In the defining section of each course, students encounter:
- Welcome: Positive introduction
- Defining: What do you think this topic means? Then, a definition is given.
- Pre-Questions: What is your knowledge base comfort level and perceived safety about this topic?
- The Problem: What happens when we do not have the skills associated with this topic?
Review the defining section of the BASE Education course “Motivation” below:
In the coping section of each course, students encounter:
- Purpose: Why is it important to address this topic?
- The Research: The scientific, research-based portion of the course that teaches learners about the subject matter
- Barriers to Success: What has prevented you from being successful in this area thus far? What barriers have you encountered that have made it difficult?
- Coping Strategies: Provides tools to handle barriers and be your best self
Review the coping section of the BASE Education courses “Coronavirus (COVID-19)” and “Life Changes” below:
In the planning section of each course, students encounter:
- Plan for Moving Forward: Identify how you will carry what you have learned forward and make the changes sustainable
- Wrap Up Questions: Now that you have taken the course, what is your knowledge base comfort level and perceived safety about this topic?
- Positive, Strength-Based Sendoff: Students receive a positive congratulatory message and affirmation that they can effectively apply the skills learned
Review the planning section in the BASE Education course “Life Changes” below:
Built with the student experience in mind, design elements are planned down to the smallest detail within each BASE Education course. Vivid, still imagery is carefully selected to illustrate concepts and to put students in a calm emotional state, readying them to identify and discuss their feelings and emotions. The text and the button that students must click on to advance the course are in different locations on each slide, preventing students from being able to simply click through the courses.
The courses are designed to promote interaction and reflection. As students work through the courses, they are engaging in a conversation rather than simply receiving information. This approach of utilizing motivational interviewing helps students connect with the content and encourages them to share. It also gives students the autonomy to create meaning from the courses, making their lessons learned more personal and more likely to lead to change.
To learn more about BASE Education courses in action and educator guides, visit the BASE Education Getting Started Resources page.
This blog was originally published October 2020 by Regina Waddell and has been updated.