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Social & Emotional Learning:
Optimizing Learning Environments with Life Skills


Instructor Name:

Dr. Karen Lea



Office Hours:

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday - Friday




Virtual Education Software


23403 E Mission Avenue, Suite 220F


Liberty Lake, WA 99019

Technical Support:




Social & Emotional Learning: Optimizing Learning Environments with Life Skills. Social-emotional learning (SEL) is teaching life skills that are foundational to motivation in the classroom and classroom management. Students who have strong social and emotional skillsets will be more successful in the classroom and in life in general. In this course, students will first examine what social-emotional learning is, including the research foundational to SEL. Then students will examine the five SEL competencies—self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making—and explore how each of these can be developed first in the classrooms and then in the schools to create optimal learning environments. While examining the five SEL competencies, students will also investigate how these skill sets can affect families and communities.


This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer.  Technical support information can be found in the Help section of your course.



Course Materials (Online)


Social & Emotional Learning: Optimizing Learning Environments with Life Skills


Virtual Education Software, inc. 2022


Dr. Karen Lea



Academic Integrity Statement

The structure and format of most distance-learning courses presume a high level of personal and academic integrity in completion and submission of coursework. Individuals enrolled in a distance-learning course are expected to adhere to the following standards of academic conduct.


Academic Work

Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed, in part or in whole, to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.


Aiding Honesty in Others

The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.


Violation of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.



Level of Application

This course is designed as a course for teachers and administrators who desire to integrate social and emotional learning into the classroom and the school to optimize learning for all students.



Expected Learning Outcomes

As a result of taking this course, participants will be able to demonstrate their ability to:

  1. Explain the core competencies of SEL.
  2. Analyze the context and value of SEL.
  3. Integrate teaching and use of self-awareness knowledge and skills in and outside the classroom.
  4. Integrate teaching and use of self-management knowledge and skills in and outside the classroom.
  5. Integrate teaching and use of social awareness knowledge and skills in and outside the classroom.
  6. Integrate teaching and use of relationship skills knowledge and skills in and outside the classroom.
  7. Integrate teaching and use of responsible decision-making knowledge and skills in and outside the classroom.
  8. Communicate SEL competencies and strategies to parents and caretakers.



Course Description

Social-emotional learning (SEL) comprises life skills that are foundational to motivation in the classroom and classroom management. Students who have strong social and emotional skill sets will be more successful in the classroom and in life. In this course, students will first examine what SEL is, including the research foundational to SEL. Then students will examine the five SEL competencies—self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making—and how each of these can be developed first in the classrooms and then in the schools to optimize learning environments. While examining the five SEL competencies, students will also investigate how these skill sets can affect families and communities.


Chapter 1: Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)/Life Skills

The first chapter will focus on defining social-emotional learning in a broader sense and look at how SEL leads to optimal learning. We will focus on the objectives of being able to:

  1. Explain the core competencies of SEL.
  2. Analyze the context and value of SEL.


Chapter 2: Self-Awareness & Self-Management

In this chapter we will focus on self-awareness and self-management. We will look at methods and materials so you can integrate them and be successful in teaching these competencies to your students. Your objectives for this chapter are to be able to:

  1. Integrate teaching and use of self-awareness knowledge and skills in and outside the classroom.
  2. Integrate teaching and use of self-management knowledge and skills in and outside the classroom.


Chapter 3: Social Awareness & Relationship Skills

In this chapter we will focus on social awareness and relationship skills. We will look at methods and materials so you can integrate them and be successful in teaching your students these competencies. Your objectives for this chapter are to be able to:

  1. Integrate teaching and use of social awareness knowledge and skills in and outside the classroom.
  2. Integrate teaching and use of relationship skills knowledge and skills in and outside the classroom.


Chapter 4: Responsible Decision-Making

In this chapter we will focus on responsible decision-making. We will look at methods and materials so you can integrate and be successful in teaching your students these competencies. Your objectives for this chapter are to be able to:

  1. Integrate teaching and use of responsible decision-making knowledge and skills in and outside the classroom.



Student Expectations       

As a student you will be expected to:

·         Complete all four information sections showing a competent understanding of the material presented in each section.

·         Complete all four section examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.  You must obtain an overall score of 70% or higher, with no individual exam score below 50%, to pass this course.

·         Complete a review of any section on which your examination score was below 50%.  *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 50%, making sure to also be achieving an overall exam score of a minimum 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.




At the end of each course section, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times. Your last score will save, not the highest score. After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access. The average from your exam scores will be printed on your certificate. As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary. You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.



Instructor Description

Karen Lea holds a Ph.D. in education. Dr. Lea has 15 years of experience teaching at the K–12 level and another 14 years’ experience teaching education courses at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Those 14 years in higher education included 6 years as a dean at a university and 7 additional years in charge of assessment and accreditation at a university. Currently, she is a lead program development owner at Western Governors University. Dr. Lea has been professionally published over 15 times and has served on over a dozen panels and boards, including serving on the NCATE (CAEP) Board of Examiners.



Contacting the Instructor

You may contact the instructor by emailing karen_lea@virtualeduc.com or by calling 509-891-7219 Monday through Friday. Calls made during office hours will be answered within 24 hours. Phone conferences will be limited to 10 minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches, or other issues that involve the operation of the course.



Technical Questions

If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at www.virtualeduc.com and also the Help section of your course.


If you need personal assistance then email support@virtualeduc.com or call 509-891-7219. When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call.


Minimum Computer Requirements

Please refer to VESi’s website: www.virtualeduc.com or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.


Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted, and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.



Bibliography (Suggested reading)

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Course content is updated every three years. Due to this update timeline, some URL links may no longer be active or may have changed. Please type the title of the organization into the command line of any Internet browser search window and you will be able to find whether the URL link is still active or any new link to the corresponding organization’s web home page.

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