STRATEGIC LEARNING GOAL 4:
“Create a culture in which clearly specified learning outcomes and assessments engage students as responsible partners in their learning and in which the College’s learning leaders can effectively create the best conditions for learning.”
An Essay by Philip Bishop, Chris Klinger, and Patrick Nellis
In re-shaping learning at
Building on careful study, our design should also reflect sound design principles that: 1) are consistent with the values of our learning-centered initiative; 2) generate a widely useful template or model for effective design; and 3) incorporate honest and public assessment of the design's effectiveness.
The re-shaping of learning at
Let's look at the traditional ways we've defined learning in college:
learn by design, we would need to shape these distinct experiences for students
so that, for each, we can answer the key questions--What do students learn? How do we know they've learned?--confidently,
publicly, and in detail. We'll know what a student has learned and how well
she's learned it, if she takes this course, if she earns by this degree, and if
she spends this time at
Let's take these each as a distinct design problem.
To shape course-taking by design--that is, by conscious intention based on scholarship and honest assessment--here's what we might do.
Use a course template. Apply a
flexible model or template of course design so that each
outcomes and standards. Define learning outcomes and standards of achievement for each
C) Employ learning-centered strategies. In every course design, provide for the most effective learning-centered pedagogy, as informed by studied choice of best practices (i.e., the scholarship of teaching and learning).
D) Assess. Employ assessments in every course that gauge students' increasing mastery of life-essential competencies and their enhanced command of disciplinary skills and knowledge. Assess our course designs and revise them based on the results.
E) Show and tell. Publish our course designs, their implementation, and our assessments of their effectiveness. By making our work public, we make our students and ourselves accountable for the results.
To shape the entire degree-earning experience by design, here's what we might do.
A) Align course outcomes and standards. To begin with, course outcomes and standards of achievement need to be aligned and coordinated across the three broad levels of college-preparatory, 1000-level, and 2000-level. As a student reaches each level of course work, we should be sure that he has demonstrated the degree of mastery required for success at that level. Then, outcomes and standards should be aligned along course sequences and programs. In foreign languages, for example, the student's increasing mastery should be demonstrated and assessed along a graduated set of outcomes. Likewise in other cumulative programs, such as mathematics, English composition, or allied health.
Integrate LifeMap. Integrate
C) Assess students' cumulative mastery of core competencies. Employ assessments that document and gauge students' demonstrated mastery of life-essential competencies (TVCA) as they make progress toward a degree. One such assessment would be a portfolio of student work assessed by faculty and other professionals that documents growing competency. Another would be an alternative transcript detailing the outcomes a student has mastered rather than just the courses she has taken. Review and revise our degree experiences based on honest assessment.
D) Show and tell. Publish our designs for the degree experience, their implementation, and our assessments of their effectiveness. Publish our work and our students' work, and make ourselves accountable for the quality of both.
our designs for taking courses and earning a degree as learning, we might also
consider shaping the experience of being at
Integrate LifeMap. Integrate
C) Design co-curricular learning. Design students' co-curricular experiences so that they reinforce, and are reinforced by, the outcomes of course-taking and degree-earning. Connect co-curricular learning (for example, student clubs and publications, student government, student creative productions, and other non-course activity) directly to classroom and degree learning. Define outcomes and standards of achievement for being in college.
students' engagement in the
E) Show and tell. Publish our designs for being-in-college and our assessment of students' engagement and learning across the whole experience.
What would it look like if we shaped our work so that we learned while we worked--by design?
A) Define the competencies our best work requires. Define the essential professional competencies required for us to do our work best.
B) Design our
everything from academic administration to groundskeeping so that each of us
grows in our mastery of life-essential skills and in the professional
competencies essential to
Work learning-centered. Apply the principles and strategies of
D) Assess. Assess our developing mastery of life-essential and professional competencies in ways that enhance our learning and our effectiveness with students.
E) Show and tell. Publish our design for work-based learning in ways that demonstrate our commitment and accountability.
As we re-design our work with students and each other, we might ask five questions that could check the quality of our design work.
1) How does this learning experience (course, degree, being in college, or working in college) reflect good research and best practice, as reflected by the scholarship of teaching and learning and by our own considered experience?
2) How does this learning experience promote the learners' achievement of specific learning outcomes and mastery of life-essential competencies (TVCA)?
3) How does it employ the learning-centered strategies most likely to achieve active and engaged learning?
4) How does it assess the learning experience with feedback from and to the learners in ways that improve their learning?
5) How does it make public the design, implementation, and results of learning in ways that make the teacher-leaders and learner-participants accountable for outcomes?
In fact, these questions are really design principles in disguise--principles consistent with the learning-centered initiative that present some real challenges to our traditional practice. They would make our work, especially for classroom teachers, more public than we're used to. They would require us to be more explicit about the standards we use and more responsible for the results we achieve. They would make us work together more closely and agree more widely than has been our custom. But if we designed learning along these principles, we could say with, greater confidence than ever before, exactly what our students are learning and how we know it.