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iLEAD Online Facilitator Designs New Sports Medicine Pathway Modeling High Quality Online Project-Based Learning

Sports Medicine Pathway iLEAD Online

Educators have often created curriculum. This can be projects, units of study or specific learning activities. For iLEAD Online Facilitator Harley Young, that is just scratching the surface. Since Young came on board at the beginning of this school year, he has been challenged with creating new courses as part of a complete Sports Medicine Pathway for iLEAD Online.

The Backstory

Already facilitating Anatomy & Physiology, as well as middle school science, Young is optimizing his professional background in exercise physiology, strength and conditioning coaching, as well as a robust postgraduate education. Young is enthused about designing this new three-year pathway for 10th-12th graders following their 9th Grade Biology course.

“Additionally, we would like to develop 5 or 6 different capstone options that feed into different careers,” said Young. “Think about things like exercise physiology, athletic training, physical therapy, epidemiology, kinesiology and biomechanics.”

Young was recruited after receiving his Master’s Degree from the University of Southern California last spring. His diverse professional background also includes serving in the Marine Corps for seven years, earning two master’s degrees, teaching English as a second language, working as a personal trainer and getting certified for strength and conditioning by NSCA – The National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Pedagogy and Purpose

Online learning has expanded due to the pandemic and other educational needs. However, Young asserts that much of online learning is executed poorly and is often filled with many ineffective teaching practices from in-person instruction. For example, he said many online courses are primarily structured as reading a particular text and providing a place for discussion posts.

“Too many think that this is what online learning is,” he said. “We need to develop high quality online  PBL courses across all subjects.”

Young wants to see how we view and experience online learning to be completely redefined. 

“We can not just make it a textbook online,” he said. “It should be about high quality immersive experiences where learners are solving real problems,” said Young. 

This is all part of a larger mission for Young who thinks that the combination of project-based learning, technology and innovative facilitators can provide all learners a global citizen experience.

“There is still a stigma involved that good education can only occur within four walls with a teacher in front of the room,” he said. “We are in the midst of redefining what learning is and how we can teach more effectively and creatively.”

The Current Work

Young is excited about these new courses and has been able to select resources, approaches and modalities from a variety of innovators in the field.

“I’ve tried to choose a little bit of everything to expose my learners to the best,” he said. “I want to continue to find ways to create new opportunities for them.”

The focus is now not only on the content, but also those higher scientific concepts and thinking skills. He poses that these skills have not traditionally been explicitly taught to everyone. He sees these as essential to success in the 21st century.

“We need to focus on academic and life skills,” said Young. “I didn’t acquire many of these skills until I was in college and I think we owe our learners more for both their personal and professional lives.”

Fans and Feedback

Young’s learners and colleagues are excited about both the work he is doing and the model he is creating. 

Current high school senior and early college learner Emily Downing – who recently completed a Heart Disease Risk Project – has described being in class with Young as nothing short of transformational. She admires the community that Young creates online and the quality of the feedback she receives as a learner.

“I can honestly say a single day hasn’t gone by in this class that I haven’t learned something new,” said Downing.

Young’s colleagues share his learners’ enthusiasm for his work. Erin Jones, Director of Online Programs for iLEAD Schools, said she often hears from families how Young goes above and beyond to support his learners.

He is quick to learn and adjust,” said Jones. “He is an outstanding example of excellence in online teaching and learning and we are lucky to have him.”

iLEAD Online Facilitator and CTE Lead Jennifer Turnbull appreciates how Young is able to personalize learning while maintaining high academic standards. 

“I have observed him go to great lengths to support his learners,” said Turnbull. “His ability to facilitate motivation and achievement in his learners is outstanding.”

Being committed to ongoing growth as an educator is what has impressed iLEAD Online Program Coordinator Kate Wolf.

“He takes what he learns and applies it to the projects he builds, the curriculum he shapes and the students he supports,” said Wolf.

Looking Forward

Young currently lives with his wife and their two children in Bogota, Columbia. He has completed all of his degrees online and just got accepted to the online doctoral program at Boise State University pursuing a degree in educational technology. His leadership philosophy – solidified in the Marine Corps – is about modeling what you want others to do.

“It’s about doing what I’m asking others to do. I approach teaching this way,” said Young. “If learning is important, we should all be engaged.”

Posted on March 8, 2022 in iLEAD Digest

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About the Author

Michael Niehoff is a teacher, leader, blogger, learner advocate, and the Education Content Coordinator at iLEAD Schools.
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