Pace in Correctional Education

Pace Learning Systems has a long history of success serving correctional education programs across the United States. For over four decades, Pace has worked to help programs develop inmate learners by providing simple-to-use systems that ensure quick, consistent progress to higher levels of educational achievement. This task, as those in correctional education know, is not easy.

The Target Learner

The target learner is more likely to be impatient in learning environments. He or she is more likely to be a dependent learner, who needs to see their progress in a clear, concrete way. Inmate students are also more likely to have special learning needs or social and behavioral issues that hinder the learning process. As a result, these students are less likely to have the motivation needed to succeed at their task. This lack of motivation is fueled by a history of consistent learning failure. Many inmate students have failed in their experiences in traditional education environments. Therefore, they carry negative impressions about education and have generally negative expectations in the learning environment. More of the same does not work for these students.

The Pace Difference

Pace has developed its instructional systems to distinguish the classroom from traditional education environments. A Pace System utilizes small successes, in order to help programs and students achieve great successes. In the same way that students fall into a cycle of failure, over time, individuals can likewise experience a cycle of success. They can develop and harbor a “tailwind” of successful learning experiences to push continued progress and development.

In a Pace System, the learner takes ownership of the learning task and shoulders responsibility for their own learning. A wise man once said, “Nothing teaches like success.” If students can see and feel their progress, and if they can credit themselves and their own focused effort for this progress, they will develop the necessary motivation and independence to achieve their learning goals quickly and consistently.

The Pace Approach

Pace Learning Systems’ instructional lessons feature a unique, “programmed” instructional format and incorporate a structured programmed learning work process. Pace delivers instruction and assessment through a teaching/learning process referred to as the “Systems Approach.” These methods, developed through years of research in correctional education settings with inmate learners, provide an avenue for successful self-pacing and self-evaluation. Through many small, sequential learning successes, students begin to self-reinforce, an important milestone for students learning “how to learn.” They can then start to expect success in learning tasks.

The Pace design and work process keeps the learner constantly informed of their progress and engaged in their learning, by ensuring consistent feedback. A Pace program keeps students aware of the connections between their daily classwork and their overall learning goals. Over time, the self-pacing and self-checking in a Pace student’s workflow leads to positive self-reinforcement, more self-confidence and self-esteem, more independence and motivation, and higher levels of scholastic achievement. Aside from motivation and confidence challenges, students must be managed in classrooms with widely varied combinations of learning needs, styles, and functional levels. In order to create a cycle of success for each learner, immediate and consistent progress is of utmost importance. This careful focus on ensuring immediate, consistent success maximizes learning from the very start, whether students are learning to read and write or preparing for high school equivalency testing.

In 2024, Pace Learning Systems will celebrate its 47th year of success in correctional education!

In the correctional education environment, with inmate learners that are accustomed to failure, a method that individualizes instruction and promotes success and independence can have a dramatic positive effect on learning efficiency, program effectiveness, and student retention. It is with this method that Pace Learning Systems continues to support correctional education programs and their students. In addition to building academic, social, and employability skills that meet and exceed benchmarks, Pace works to change the inmate learner’s approach to learning in general, and to reduce recidivism among our institution’s reentry populations through true education as opposed to simple “skills training.”

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” ~John Dewey

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