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Learning programme design

Effective geography programmes build on a geographic understanding of content at a regional, national and global scale.

Engaging learning programmes are based on effective pedagogy

Engaging learning programmes depend on effective pedagogy. When planning, keep in mind the four ‘mechanisms’:


Encourage students to use their own experiences as a point of comparison when learning about other people’s experiences in different times, places, and cultures. When choosing contexts and resources, make diversity visible and avoid biased and stereotypical representations. Students need to feel that what they are learning connects with and values their experiences.


Align activities and resources so students are able to develop understandings of the key concepts and the aspects: thinking critically about sources and examining values.

Make the aims of the programme transparent to students. Avoid pre-programming learning opportunities to the extent that they cannot be changed in response to feedback from assessment. Provide opportunities for students to revisit important content and processes. Focus assessment on valued learning and success criteria.


Design programmes to develop students’ interaction skills and use inclusive practices that acknowledge multiple abilities and contributions. Tasks and experiences are preferred if they require student–student interaction. Wherever possible, involve students in making decisions about their learning. Give students the opportunity to identify possible roles for themselves, to think critically, and to participate in authentic geography-related contexts.


Offer learning experiences that are sensitive to students’ differing interests, motivations, and responses and provide a variety of experiences that become memorable anchors for learning and subsequent recall. Local contexts in which students feel a direct stake can engage them with their community and provide bridges to global issues.

Last updated November 25, 2010