Youth Development Institute (YDI) Courses- Descriptions and Information

Youth Development Institute (YDI) Courses

The Youth Development Institute is a series of online training courses for youth-serving paraprofessionals and volunteers seeking to increase their knowledge and enhance their skills. We offer 23 different courses, each of which takes about 1-2 hours to complete and contains links to outside reading materials, websites and video clips that illustrate the main concepts. A Community Forum allows users to share ideas with other course-takers. Courses are self-directed, allowing users to stop and start at their convenience. Individuals who successfully complete a course (by clicking through all pages and passing a quiz) receive a course completion certificate.

We are currently offering four of the courses for free to all users:
• Overview of Positive Youth Development
• Child Development
• Adolescent Development
• Age Appropriate Discipline

All other individual courses are $15 each or you can buy the full package of 23 courses for $149.  If you purchase a full package, you are able to have access to new YDI courses as they are available.

*A few of the courses offer a Supervisor Guide. Supervisor Guides are a collection of meeting plans that supervisors can use for professional development sessions that are based on our online curriculum. The Supervisor Guides were developed to provide supervisors with ready made professional development meeting plans that they can implement in their organization with their staff members that will enhance staff's understanding of the YDI coursework. * = Supervisor Guides are available. To view the Supervisor Guide Tutorial, create an account and request the tutorial. The tutorial is free-of-charge.

Click here to Register.

Click on a course or scroll down to view course descriptions and training time for each YDI course

Adolescent Development
Typical time to complete course -  1 hour
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This course provides background on adolescent brain development, the role of self-concept and self-esteem in identity development, how youth respond to puberty, and what youth workers can do to be supportive during this time of change.

  • Topics
    • Defining Adolescence
    • Physical Development
    • Cognitive Development
    • Emotional Development
    • Social Development
  • What you will learn
    • Identify the approximate age range of adolescence;
    • Identify the two main components of puberty;
    • Recognize the physical changes that occur during puberty;
    • Identify three factors that could impact how youth respond to the changes of puberty;
    • Define cognitive development;
    • Describe adolescent cognitive abilities;
    • Identify the two main tasks of emotional development
    • Understand the role of self concept and self esteem in the role of identity development;
    • Identify three groups that may experience differences with regard to emotional development;
    • Identify the three groups that impact adolescent social development.

Age Appropriate Discipline
Typical time to complete course -  2 hours
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Although the title of this course uses the common term "discipline," this course will teach you that a child learns more through guidance and positive behavior support. Throughout this course we will be using those very terms. This course will also teach about how to respond to youth who struggle with behavior, and how we as youth service providers can work with youth who exhibit challenging or inappropriate behaviors.

  • Topics
    • Understand "typical" behavior
    • Challenging Behavior, Provider Response
    • Prevention and discipline techniques
  • What you will learn
    • Identify what behavior is typical for the physical, social, and emotional development for children and youth
    • Identify some reasons why youth exhibit behavior challenges and how youth service providers should respond
    • Explore and implement prevention and positive guidance techniques to redirect inappropriate behavior

The Art of Inclusion Course (Part 1)
Typical time to complete course - 1 hour
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This course covers how to include all kids in your school and afterschool activities.

  • Topics
    • Terminology and Statistics
    • Why Inclusion Matters
    • Strategy 1: Enhancing Communication with Youth with Special Needs
    • Strategy 2: Adapt Activities to Ensure Inclusion
    • Strategy 3: Build Peer Relationships
    • Strategy 4: Promote Safety, Health, and Emergency Preparedness
  • What you will learn
    • Important terminology related to inclusion and working with special needs youth
    • How many youth have special needs
    • What types of special needs are most common
    • Strategies for effectively communicating with youth with special needs
    • Strategies and tips for ensuring that your program activities are as inclusive as possible
    • Strategies for preventing bullying of youth with special needs and creating a caring and supportive environment
    • How to make your facility safe and healthy for youth with special needs

The Art of Inclusion (Part 2)
Typical time to complete course - 1 hour
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This course provides guidnace on how to effectively set up a facility or program to be inclusive of youth with special needs.

  • Topics
    • What are the laws?
    • Practical Application of the Law
    • Philosophy and Practice
    • Partnering with Families
    • Partnering with Schools
    • Partnering with Communities
  • What you will learn
    • Which federal laws are most likely to affect your program
    • How to apply the laws (through facility preparedness and staff training) so you are in compliance and able to best meet the needs of youth with special needs
    • What type of language to use in your inclusion policies
    • How to utilize tools for self-assessment, planning, and evaluation of your inclusion efforts
    • Techniques and strategies for working effectively with parents, schools and communities

Building Assets With Youth
Typical time to complete course - 2 hours
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All of us have an opportunity to help youth grow up to be healthy, responsible and caring individuals. In this course you will be provided with an overview of the Asset Development Framework and how it applies to your work with youth. Learn why some kids struggle and others succeed, and how you can play an important part in their success. Understand the importance of building assets, and apply the concepts to how you work with youth every day.

  • Course Outcomes
    • Understand the history and research behind the Developmental Assets
    • Understand the concept of asset-building
    • Be familiar with the 40 Developmental Asset Framework
    • Identify the benefits of intentional asset building
    • Gain simple ideas of how to incorporate asset building into your work with youth
    • Gain insight on how you might work better with youth in your programs

The Building Blocks of Social and Emotional Learning
Typical time to complete course - 1.5 hours
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This course introduces research on social and emotional learning (SEL) and how to develop SEL skills in youth, particularly those that are participating in out-of-school time programs.

  • Topics
    • Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
    • Why SEL Is Important
    • The Impact of SEL Skills in Academic Settings
    • SEL in Out-of-school-time Settings
    • Professional Development Resources
    • Turn Learning Into Action
  • What you will learn
    • What SEL consists of and its range of benefits for young people
    • The role of positive mindsets in youth success
    • How to identify your program's SEL needs and how to select and evaluate promising practices
    • What additional resources exist to help you continuously build your own professional skills in SEL
    • A simple tool to help you apply your learning

Bullying Prevention
Typical time to complete course - 2 hours
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Bullying is not something new but it is a part of youth social sphere that has long been ignored. On the heels of a the Missouri case where cyber-bullying led to a 13 year-old girl's suicide, bullying prevention is becoming increasingly necessary to implement in any environment for youth. In this course you will learn about ‘the bully', the ‘bullied and the ‘bystander'. You will learn how bullying has transcended the school yard and in some cases gone virtual. This course provides many helpful tools that youth programs and those that work with youth can learn and implement to address the problem of bullying.

  • Topics
    • Overview of Bullying
    • The bully, the bullied, and the bystander
    • How to intervene in bullying situations
    • Cyberbullying
    • Working with parents around bullying
    • Creating a safe, caring climate - stopping bullying before it starts
  • What you will learn
    • After completing this course you should be able to understand:
    • Understand the types, frequency, and consequences of bullying
    • Understand the top myths about bullying
    • Understand the different roles that children play in bullying situations
    • Understand how to intervene in a bullying situation
    • Understand the types of cyberbullying and how to help youth avoid and deal with cyberbullying
    • Understand how to work with parents around issues of bullying
    • Understand how to create a caring climate in your program that discourages bullying

Child Development
Typical time to complete course - 1 hour
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This course focuses on elementary aged youth development, both cognitive and physical. In conjunction with the Overview of Positive Youth Development course, Child Development can give a well rounded lesson on how to support positive youth development in this age group. Many skills are required to successfully maneuver in the world. As a child grows, so too does his or her body, brain, emotions, social skills, and overall sense of self. Physical transitions come with age-each year children observe more, learn more, and explore more, all the time building on what was learned earlier in life. While the rate of development and learning of skills may differ, the order of developmental aging stages for children is generally the same.

  • Topics
    • Physical Development for Elementary School Children
    • Cognitive Development of Elementary Children
    • Social and Emotional Development of Elementary Children
    • Creating Developmentally Appropriate Programming for Elementary Children
  • What you will learn
    • The basic components of physical development in elementary-aged children, both gross and fine motor skills.
    • The basic components of cognitive development and Piaget's stages including sensory-motor, pre-operational, concrete operations, formal operations
    • The basic components of social-emotional development in elementary-aged children from learning to navigate the outside world to learning to positive self-concept

Civic Engagement: Engaging Young People in Civic Life
Typical time to complete course - 1.5 hours
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Civic engagement can be more than political engagement. Often civic involvement can include community action and development. The important aspect is that we allow young people to be involved in community in a way that is suitable to their interests. Sometimes civic engagement simply requires educating youth about the civic process. In this course you will learn many ways to educate and engage youth in civic action, from service learning to environmental stewardship. The benefits of civic engagement are far reaching and are becoming a hot topic for research. Most importantly, if young people are engaged in civic action, then they are more likely to be involved when they are adults. It is necessary to educate all youth, of any age, on how they can impact their world.

  • Topics
    • What is Civic Engagement?
    • Why It Is Important to Engage Youth
    • Civic Education
    • Service Learning
    • Other types of Civic Engagement
    • What you will learn
  • What you will learn
    • Define civic engagement and understand the term "public concerns"
    • Understand the impact of civic engagement on youth's present and future as a responsible citizen
    • Identify types of civic education and engagement
    • Define service learning and the components of service learning

The Common Core State Standards
Typical time to complete course - 1.5 hours
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In this course you learn what the Common Core State Standards are, what purpose they are intended to serve, what some implications may be for the children you serve, and how you can support the Common Standards and enhance your children's learning.

  • Topics
    • The Purpose of the Common Core State Standards
    • What the Common Standards Will Mean for Your Teachers and Schools
    • How OST Providers Can Reinforce the Common Standards
    • How Will You Know If You've Been Successful?
  • What you will learn
    • What the Common Standards are
    • What purpose the Common Standards intend to serve
    • What some implications may be for the children you serve
    • How you as an afterschool program provider can support Common Standards goals and enhance your children's learning

Conflict Resolution
Typical time to complete course - 1.5 hours
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We encounter conflict on a daily basis anywhere from our homes, to our schools, to our workplaces. Conflict happens between family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers. It happens between adults and between youth. Conflict can be long standing or it can be addressed and a solution found.

This course provides activities, resources, and applications for dealing with conflict. The focus is two fold: it examines how you resolve conflict, and how you can help youth resolve conflict.

  • Topics
    • Conflict Resolution
    • Understanding Conflict
    • Elements of Conflict
    • Skill Building
    • Conflict Resolution Process
    • Summary/ Conclusion
  • What you will learn
    • Have a better understanding of the benefits of conflict
    • Be aware of how you currently approach conflict, and identify some other ways you could approach conflict to find the best outcome
    • Learn more about the elements and skills that can either escalate or deescalate conflict
    • Have an idea of how to employ appropriate conflict resolution techniques or strategies
    • Know all of the above elements as they relate to you and relate to conflict involving one of more youth

Cultural Competency for Youth Workers
Typical time to complete course - 2 hours
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Cultural competency is a critical part of working with diverse families and youth. One of the key aspects of cultural competency is an inward focus, that starts with the individual and the organizations that are serving diverse families and youth. This course will explore the topics of understanding your own culture, the culture of your organization, and how you interact with communities you serve.

  • Topics
    • What is Cultural Competency?
    • Why is Cultural Competency Important to My Work?
    • Personal Cultural Competency
    • Communication
    • Getting to Know Your Youth and Families
    • Creating Culturally Competent Programs
  • What you will learn
    • Introduce frontline youth workers to the concept of cultural competency
    • Reflect on individual cultural identity, personal values, and intercultural communication
    • Provide strategies for improving your understanding of your program's families
    • Provide strategies for creating culturally competent programs

Engaging Parents
Typical time to complete course - 1.5 hours
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Engaging parents in the education of and activities of their children is vital to the success of youth and of youth-serving programs. However, engaging parents continues to be challenging for many programs due to time constraints (for both staff and parents), language and literacy issues, and a lack of resources to devote to effective parent involvement. This module will discuss the benefits of parent involvement, identify different approaches, and suggest strategies for engaging parents.

  • Topics
    • Benefits and Barriers to Parent Involvement
    • Types of Parent Involvement
    • Strategies for Involving Parents
  • What you will learn
    • the benefits of parent involvement
    • barriers to parent involvement
    • different types of parent involvement
    • different strategies for involving parents

Health and Academic Achievement
Typical time to complete course - 2 hours
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Academic achievement is often associated with the level of talent among teachers, available resources for schools, and governing structures established for school districts. However, health related problems also play a significant role in the academic achievement of children and youth. Some of the greatest health problems affecting youth include poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, obesity, mental health disorders, and substance abuse.

  • Topics
    • The Impacts of Health Related Risk Factors for Academic Achievement
    • Preschool Gap
    • Built Environment
    • How You Can Help Improve Youth Health by Working with Youth & Parents & How Schools and Youth Programs Can Contribute to Work
    • Building Partnerships with Existing Health Service Providers
    • Institutionalizing Health Promotion in Your Organization
    • Prevention and Education Programs At Youth Serving Organizations
  • What you will learn
    • Understand health issues impacting youth
    • Understand academic issues impacting youth
    • Understand the link between health and academic achievement
    • Understand how youth-serving organizations can impact the health of youth

Integrating STEM into Youth Programs
Typical time to complete course - 2 hour
s
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This course introduces the topic of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and provides guidance on how to integrate STEM into summer and afterschool programs. Users learn about STEM program planning tools, model STEM programs, and how to evaluate their STEM activities.

  • Topics
    • What is STEM?
    • The STEM Workforce
    • Who Studies STEM in College?
    • Underrepresented Populations in STEM
    • STEM Outside the Classroom
    • Why STEM in Out-of-School-Time Programs?
    • How ready are you for STEM?
    • Getting Started with STEM
    • Model Programs
    • STEM Curriculum and Activities
    • Evaluating your STEM Program
  • What You Will Learn
    • What STEM is, how it emerged, and why it matters
    • Statistics about the STEM workforce, who studies STEM, and who is underrepresented in STEM
    • The important role that out-of-school-time programs play in promoting STEM
    • Strategies and tools to help you plan for STEM
    • Ideas about curriculum and activities to implement
    • Tips and guidelines for evaluating your STEM program

 

Leadership 1
Typical time to complete course - 1 hour
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This course introduces key concepts related to leadership and focuses on the "big picture" roles of leaders of out-of-school time and youth programs.

  • Topics
    • Why Does Leadership Matter?
    • Basic Concepts
    • Leadership vs. Management
    • Leadership Styles
    • Introverts vs. Extroverts
    • Self-Assessment
    • Providing Direction
    • Leading Courageously
    • Championing Change
    • Leading with Integrity
  • What you will learn
    • The difference between leadership and management
    • Different styles of leadership and how they are practiced
    • Why introverts sometimes make great leaders
    • How to identify your own leadership strengths and weaknesses
    • How leaders provide direction to their teams, lead with boldness, manage change, and maintain integrity

Leadership 2
Typical time to complete course - 1 hour
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Leadership 2 focuses on the interpersonal aspects of leadership and supervision. It addresses topics such as motivating staff, providing quality feedback, and teambuilding.

  • Topics
    • Coaching and Developing People
    • Motivating Others
    • Building Relationships
    • Fostering Teamwork
    • Meeting Management
  • What you will learn
    • How to handle difficult conversations with staff
    • What the research says about what motivates people
    • Strategies for bringing out the best in your staff
    • How to build healthy workplace relationships
    • The development stages of teams and how to encourage high performance
    • Tips for leading effective meetings that fit within your organizational culture

Maltreatment of Children
Typical time to complete course - 1.5 hours
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This course identifies the different ways that children can be maltreated and the signs that indicate a child has been abused. Reporting responsibilities and procedures are also outlined.

  • Topics
    • Physical Abuse
    • Emotional Abuse
    • Sexual Abuse
    • Neglect
    • Statistics
    • Reporting Suspected Child Abuse and/or Neglect
    • Module Summary and ConclusionEating Disorders
  • What you will learn
    • Understand some of the key ways in which youth can be mistreated
    • Understand the signs of meltreatment
    • Know the reporting requirements if you suspect child abuse or neglect is taking place

Mitigating Summer Learning Loss
Typical time to complete course - 1.5 hours
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This course introduces the latest research on the "summer slide" and what youth populations are most affected by it. The course teaches about best practices in summer learning programming and practical strategies for incorporating academic elements into summer activities.

  • Topics:
    • What is summer learning loss?
    • The History of Summer Breaks
    • How big is the problem of summer learning loss?
    • Critiques of the Research
    • Traditional Responses to Summer Learning Loss
    • New Directions
    • Model Summer Program
    • The Role of Health and Wellness in Academic Achievement
    • What can you do?
  • What you will learn:
    • What summer learning loss is and who is most affected by it
    • What the research says about summer learning loss and why more research needs to be done
    • What types of responses to summer learning loss are most effective
    • How health and wellness link to academic achievement
    • Key strategies, tips and techniques for ensuring that your program prevents summer learning loss

Overview of Positive Youth Development Approach
Typical time to complete course - 1.5 hours
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It is only recently that youth development theory became a prevailing ideology in youth programming. The idea of focusing on intervention has now turned into supporting youth before behaviors become problems. Supporting youth development, for any age youth, is key to ensure a healthy and well adjusted youth. In this course you will learn about risk factors, prevention factors and how to build resiliency in today's youth through quality youth programming.

  • Topics
    • History and Evolution of Positive Youth Development
    • Positive Youth Development in Theory
    • Positive Youth Development in Practice
  • What you will learn
    • Understand the history and evolution of positive youth development
    • Understand risk and protective factors
    • Be familiar with 40 developmental assets
    • Understand the concept of resiliency
    • Recognize the essential elements of youth development
    • Recognize the core constructs of youth development
    • Understand strategies for building positive youth development in programming

Supporting Youth to Be Workplace Ready (NEW)
Typical time to complete course - 1 hour
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This course provides youth development professionals with tips and tools on preparing youth in their programs to be successful in the workforce.

  • Topics
    • The Importance of Workforce Readiness
    • The Workplace of Today
    • What Are Workforce Readiness Skills?
    • Developing Workforce Readiness Skills
    • Evaluating Your Programming
    • Workforce Readiness in Practice
    • Working with Employers
    • Working with Parents
    • Programs to Explore
    • Employment Resources for Youth
  • What you will learn
    • What the latest labor market trends are and how they affect youth
    • Ways to plan for, implement, and evaluate your workforce readiness program
    • Specific activities for increasing the workforce readiness of youth in your program
    • What work-based learning is and how to integrate it into your program
    • How to engage employers and parents to ensure that youth develop the workforce readiness skills they need to succeed
    • What other relevant and effective programs exist

Unhealthy Coping Behaviors in Youth
Typical time to complete course - 1 hour
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Often at a very young age youth are confronted with difficult life situations and stressors. All too often youth might not have had the structure or the time to learn good coping skills to deal with these difficulties. Trying to ‘make it' often leads youth to adopt unhealthy coping behaviors. Discussed in this course of four behaviors that those that work with youth need to know about and be able to recognize signs of depression, substance and alcohol abuse, physical self-injury/self-harm, suicide tendencies, and signs of eating disorders.

  • Topics
    • Depression: An Underlying Factor
    • Substance and Alcohol Abuse
    • Physical Self-Injury/Self-Harm
    • Suicide
    • Eating Disorders

  • What you will learn
    • Identify a significant, underlying factor of unhealthy coping behaviors in youth
    • Identify the reasons teens abuse substances as well as the signs and symptoms of teenage substance abuse
    • Recognize the different types of substances abused by youth
    • Recognize the types of physical self-injury and their related signs and symptoms
    • Identify factors that may lead to self-injuring behavior
    • Identify imminent danger signs of suicide
    • Recognize the three most commonly identified eating disorders
    • Understand four reasons why teens develop eating disorders
    • List several of the signs and symptoms for three types of eating disorders discussed

Working with Culturally Diverse Youth
Typical time to complete course - 2 hours
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In this lesson we will examine different kinds of challenges you may face when working with culturally diverse youth. There are a variety of types of cultural diversity you may encounter, including working with youth who are from different racial/ethnic backgrounds, have diverse levels of family income, have varied sexual orientations, are physically or emotionally challenged, or live in families who come from another country. We will explore some of the ways in which cultures differ, examine when problems may arise, and provide some suggestions for handling these situations.

  • Topics
    • Culture and Identity Developmentstory and Evolution of Positive Youth Development
    • Constructing an Identity
    • How We Learn and Unlearn Bias and Prejudice
    • Sexual Orientation as a Cultural Identity Element
    • The Culture of Poverty
    • Building Cultural Competency

  • What you will learn
    • Define common terms related to cultural competency.
    • Identify factors that might effect youth identity development, particularly youth from diverse backgrounds and strategies for supporting youth in developing positive cultural identities.
    • Identify how children and youth learn and unlearn prejudice and the role adults play.
    • Identify common challenges related to diversity and strategies for addressing them.
    • Understand that the most effective approaches to dealing with cultural diversity depend greatly on one's own level of self-awareness and the ability to appreciate and respect cultural differences

Working with Girls
Typical time to complete course - 1 hour
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In this lesson we will examine the different challenges you may face working with a population of girls. Working with girls only and girls in co-ed populations may bring many challenges. Girls and boys experience the world differently, because of many factors, gender socialization, developmental stages, biological difference, and cultural differences. We will explore ways that gender impacts youth development, and how gender specific programming guidelines may support success in working with girls..

  • Topics
    • Overview of American Culture; Male, Female and Feminism
    • Gender Socialization
    • Developmental Stages of Girls; cognitive, physical, social/emotional (6-18)
    • Working in Girl World
    • Gender Specific Programming from the Ground Up (Tools to create gender specific programming)
  • What you will learn
    • Understand a brief history of feminism
    • Understand the concept of gender and gender socialization
    • Identify developmental milestones of girls in the areas of social/emotional, physical and cognitive
    • Identify how socialization effects development
    • Understand and be able to develop programming that is gender specific

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