Reading In Action

Author: bccleva

Join us this Spring 2021 as we read Small Teaching Online!

Following up on the success of our 2019 offering centred around Small Teaching by James Lang, we will be diving into Small Teaching Online by Flower Darby.

Are you still feeling unsure about your skills as an online facilitator of learning? This selection for our online book club might be just the confidence booster you need! Join the discussion and exploration of strategies and tools to hone your online-facilitation skills. The book club will be facilitated over nine weeks, mostly asynchronously, with three optional synchronous sessions.

The synchronous sessions will be held on April 6,  May 18, and June 8, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. PT and will be 90 minutes.

This event is free. To ensure we have an inclusive and welcoming environment for all, we’ve added registration to our online office sessions.

Register now!

This notice is to inform you that this session will be recorded, archived, and made available publicly on By participating in this session, you acknowledge that your participation in this session will be recorded and the recording will be made available openly.

BCcampus Online Book Club first offering: It’s a wrap!

Hello Everyone,

Well our journey together on this first offering of the BCcampus Online Book Club has now ended with a great discussion today on the last chapter of  “How Learning Works”  facilitated by Peter Arthur.

On behalf of the facilitators Lucas Wright, Giulia Forsythe, Keith Webster, Janine Hirtz, Laura Mackay, and Peter Arthur, thank you to all the fabulous Book Club participants who made thoughtful and insightful contributions to the blog and our Friday web chats.

We are asking now for feedback to the Book Club which we will use for future planning and improvements. It’s a short survey so send us your ideas going forward and especially suggestions for the next book and journey of learning together.

Also, if you have something to share on your participation in the Book Club, we invite you to post it in the Comments below.  Until next time!

The BCcampus Book Club Facilitators – Fall 2018

beach blue car combi

Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) on


Book Club Meeting: Chapter One

Hello Everyone,

The first meeting of the BCcampus Book Club will be tomorrow, Friday September 14th at 10 AM PST.

Please connect a few minutes earlier to check your technical setup (especially your audio connection). Information about Blue Jeans web conferencing and the link to our dedicated room is provided here.

We will take the first 5 minutes for a few brief introductions then 30-40 minutes for our book club chat.

Here are a few questions to help us get started in our Chapter One discussion.

  • What idea(s) on Prior Knowledge (and the research-based principle) most resonated for you?
  • Do you have a strategy to address PK in your subject area that you find particularly useful and would like to share with fellow bookclubbers?
  • Is there a PK challenge you have that you’d like to ask this group for help?

Looking forward to meeting you!

Chat soon,

Leva Lee, Chapter One Facilitator

P.S. Bring your cuppa tea or coffee!




Chapter One: How does Students’ Prior Knowledge Affect Their Learning?

What is the Principle?

Prior knowledge can help or hinder learning.

In Chapter One of How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching (HLW), the authors delve into a look at the prior knowledge of learners and how it impacts learning. Prior knowledge (PK) can be a good foundation for building new knowledge, but research shows that student learning is influenced by the nature of the prior knowledge. Depending on a number of conditions, prior knowledge can help or hinder learning.

This diagram (re-created and adapted from the original in the book, Figure 1.1) shows the conditions for when prior knowledge helps or hinders learning.

Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 11.59.50 AM

Prior knowledge (PK) helps learning when it is activated. In addition, that PK needs to be sufficient, appropriate and, above all, correct.

Prior knowledge (PK) that is problematic or that hinders learning is one or more of the following:

  • Inaccurate: Some deeply held misconceptions are difficult to correct.
  • Insufficient: There are many kinds of knowledge such as declarative (what) , procedural (how), contextual (when) knowledge. Students’ PK may have gaps.
  • Inappropriate: Correct but used at wrong time or context.
  • Incorrect: Knowledge that is wrong.

So What? (What does this mean for how we teach? What does this mean for helping students learn?)

Many of us use techniques to bridge, integrate, and activate learners’ prior knowledge  with the new content we are teaching. But have we considered more closely, the nature of their prior knowledge and whether it is sufficient, appropriate, as well as, accurate?

The HLW authors offer a variety of strategies in Chapter One to help us identify possible problem areas in learners’ prior knowledge and how to proactively address them. Some of these strategies include student self-assessment questions, looking for patterns of error, identifying discipline-specific conventions for our learners, or having them conduct and test predictions based on what they currently know.

Now What? (Applying the Prior knowledge principle to our practice.)

Take a moment to reflect on your current teaching practice. Is there a common misconception about the subject you teach?  Share what that is and a strategy you use (or plan to use) to address this issue. To do this, simply subscribe to this blog and post in the Chapter One Comments. Alternatively, you may share your thoughts using social media with the hashtag #BookClubBC.

To encourage participation, those who share a comment/post this week will have their name entered into the Chapter One draw for a $25 CAD gift certificate for Chapters Indigo. Read the contest guidelines here. Good luck!

The Book Club chat on Chapter One will take place on Friday, September 14th at 10 AM PST.  Check out the schedule and how to connect with the group. We also invite you to say hello in the Comments section of our Intro post.

Looking forward to reading together and meeting you online!



Owl by Oksana Latysheva from the Noun Project
Suitcase from the HLW graphic by Giulia Forsythe