Project Focus

This is a service-learning project facilitated by Designers for Learning, an organization that coordinates volunteer service-learning opportunities for instructional design students who seek to gain experience creating instruction, training programs, and other types of performance improvement solutions for nonprofits and other social enterprises. The focus of this service-learning project is the design of open educational resources and instruction for college and career readiness. While the outcome of this project will support the missions of many organizations that offer adult basic education, those participating on this service-learning project are volunteers of Grace Centers of Hope, a faith-based outreach to homeless and disadvantaged individuals and families. Clients in the Grace Centers of Hope residency program who have not earned a high school diploma (or equivalent) are required to take in-house classes to prepare for the General Educational Development (GED) test in order to stay in the program.

Expectations of Students

This is a 100% virtual volunteer opportunity that does not require any volunteer to be physically present at any location. Student volunteers must agree to:

  1. collaborate remotely with the client and other volunteers on this project using phone, email, and other freely available online asynchronous and synchronous communication technologies
  2. agree to volunteer a minimum of 40 hours from September 2, 2014 – December 8, 2014
  3. complete a two-week Jump Start orientation at the beginning of the project
  4. collaborate in teams of two to design and develop one unit of instruction per team
  5. submit individual designer reflections to the project facilitators to update them on project progress

Scope of Work

Grace Centers of Hope has asked Designers for Learning to facilitate a volunteer service-learning project focused on the design of instructional materials and learning activities to meet the parameters of the College and Career Readiness standards to help prepare adults for their high school equivalency exams. The request for help includes instructional resources for adult learners, as well as for instructors and volunteers who work as tutors. In response to this request, the service-learners will design and develop all necessary content presentation, learner practice, and assessment materials for one hour of tutored instruction.

Important Dates

  • August 15: Volunteer Applications Due
  • September 2: Volunteer Selection Announced
  • September 2 – 15: Jump Start Orientation
  • October 13: Team Design Plans Due
  • November 10: Prototypes Due
  • December 8: Final Project Deliverables Due

Student Deliverables

Jump Start Orientation

As an orientation to this service-learning projects, students will complete a two-week Jump Start orientation starting on September 2, 2014 when the volunteer selection is announced. The purpose of the orientation is to welcome volunteers to the project and to clarify expectations.

Individual Designer Reflections

It is important for instructional designers and performance improvement consultants to engage in reflective practice. All student service-learners are required to complete design reflections that are submitted privately to the project facilitators. The submitted reflections also serve as field journals for the project that spark dialogue between the students and the facilitators who offer feedback, discuss strategies, and lend support when the service-learners face challenges with the project.

Instructional Design Project

Following the Jump Start orientation, six design teams will be formed comprised of two student designers per team. Each student design team will be responsible for the design and development of one unit of instruction on an assigned topic that aligns with one anchor standard as presented in the 2013 College and Career Readiness standards. The unit of instruction must conform to the project’s style guide, and incorporate all necessary content presentation, learner practice, and assessment materials for one hour of tutored instruction. Each student design team will submit three deliverables during the 15-weeks of the project, including:

  • a design plan that represents the designers’ early initial conceptualization of the design for their unit of instruction,
  • a prototype that will be the subject of a round of formative evaluation and feedback, and
  • the final deliverables.

Design Project v2

This project is the next iteration of a pilot service-learning project completed by instructional design students in the Spring of 2014. As with the last group of student designers, this cohort of service-learners is designing and developing instruction to build a roster of open educational resources to support our client’s adult basic education program. All work produced for this project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Our Prototype

About Grace Centers of Hope

Grace Centers of Hope provides a full recovery and rehabilitation campus for homeless men, women, and children who have been abused or addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, including a one-year residency program for adult male and female clients recovering from drug, alcohol, or other challenging issues. As described in their most recent audited financial statements, Grace Centers of Hope is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit and is classified by the IRS as a public charity with $5.4 million in total revenue and support for the year ended 2012. Grace Centers of Hope’s goal is, “total rehabilitation by meeting all of the needs of the homeless, including food, clothing, shelter, educational courses, daycare, job training, and assistance in preparing resumes, substance abuse programs, medical care, and housing placement.” For more information about Grace Centers of Hope:

According to U.S. Census Bureau educational attainment data, over 30 million adults over the age of 18 have not attained a high school diploma (or equivalent). In 2014, the GED Testing Service amended the requirements for the GED test from the former 2002 version. The new GED test aligns with the College and Career Readiness (CCR) standards released in 2013 by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education as a guide for adult education programs that prepare learners for post-secondary college and career training.

Project Facilitatators

Dr. Jennifer Maddrell

Designers for Learning


Dr. Jill Stefaniak

Old Dominion University

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