This is the first in a four-part blog series on authentic learning. We’ll start by defining what authentic learning is and how to design authentic learning experiences. Then, we’ll explore how to incorporate those experiences into existing curriculum. Finally, we’ll discuss how to create meaningful assessments that relate to those experiences. Authentic learning is rapidly gaining popularity. It works at every level of education. It connects what students learn in the classroom to real-world problems they will likely face in their future careers. Authentic learning can include activities such as scenarios, hands-on tasks, and debates. The goal of this approach is to increase student engagement. It gives students a concrete connection to their learning. They can see exactly how the information they’ve gained in the classroom applies to their future. When students see how their learning connects to real life, their learning deepens and they are better equipped to apply it in their work. With the rapid growth of eLearning, the need for authentic learning experiences is more important now than ever. William Horton has written [...]
Many traditional biology class frameworks require students to memorize terms and processes. The IBIS (Integrating Biology and Inquiry Skills) curriculum is different. It asks students to collaborate with others to facilitate and take charge of their own learning. They take charge through experimentation, inquiry, and critical thinking activities. Since the IBIS curriculum has such a large focus on fostering these skills, lectures are minimal. The majority of learning is student-centered. Student-Centered Learning: What’s the Fuss? Student-centered learning shifts the focus of learning from instructor to student. Students face scenarios and problems crafted by instructors. Each scenario requires hands-on learning that pushes students towards a specific learning outcome. They must collaborate, hypothesize, experiment, and reflect. Students take control of their learning which, in turn, increases student buy-in and learning. Additional Benefits The student-centered approach of IBIS is enough to set it apart from other traditional approaches. On top of that, there are other factors that make it so unique: Backward Design: IBIS starts with learning outcomes. From there, each subsequent piece is designed with each [...]
What is Innovative Course Design? The challenge in any course is the design. A course should be designed for learner engagement at the highest level while preparing them academically. Allied health courses are especially challenging in this area. Because these professions have a large amount of content, it can be difficult to creatively present the information. Innovative course design is the solution to increased student engagement in allied health courses. There are a number of effective strategies to use when creatively designing these courses, but there are a few important features to consider first: Basic understanding Implementation Incorporation Human component Compassion Metacognition While this may sound similar to the idea of Bloom’s taxonomy, there is a major difference. Creative course design looks at these different levels of learning as interactive, rather than just a ladder to be climbed. Courses that use these more creative designs are incredibly focused on the active process of learning and how each aspect of that process works together. The most important result of these thoughtful, creatively designed courses is the increase [...]
The demands of the 21st century have created an interesting tension in the world of education. The growing workforce calls for highly skilled individuals who have been prepared to respond to these demands. This preparation is not always possible in a traditional classroom setting. The students of today need class time devoted almost solely to hands-on, collaborative experiences, leaving little to no time for other necessary types of learning. These demands can be successfully met, however, through blended learning courses. What is Blended Learning? Blended learning is the combination of different learning approaches. This learning environment allows for both online and face-to-face activities, with the latter focusing on the most important concepts and ideas. This setup provides an immense amount of flexibility in many aspects: the how, when, and where students are learning and studying material. A number of schools and programs have already taken the plunge into blended learning. Programs such as biomedical science and biochemistry require more hands-on learning experiences, making them ideal for a primarily face-to-face setting, while the other material can be [...]
Instructional design is the practice of creating digital learning materials that meet student learning needs. In order to create such materials, you need to select an effective model. There are a variety of models available. While the ADDIE model is the most widely used for instructional design, there are several other models of instructional design. Let’s explore some other popular frameworks. ADDIE Because of its ability to facilitate the design process in phases, ADDIE is the most widely used model. Since ADDIE is broken into steps, the designer can follow the process one step at a time and address the client’s specific needs. Analysis: Gather information and determine the expectations of the client Design: Create learning objectives and choose the appropriate mode of delivery Develop: Develop materials based on the expectations and objectives Implement: Release developed material to target students and monitor results Evaluate: Determine the impact of materials through surveys and feedback Merrill’s Principle of Instruction (MPI) MPI focuses on task-based learning. At the onset of lessons, students are provided with the basics. As the [...]
What are soft skills? Different skills are used and developed for different situations. The skills needed for math are different than the skills needed for reading; athletic skills are different still. But what about more subtle skills such as listening and time management? These intangible but essential skills are known as soft skills. Soft skills are a set of skills students need to be successful in the workplace and world at large. Why are soft skills important? These skills are especially valuable for students in high school and higher education. High school students benefit from a well-rounded, differentiated curriculum. Colleges and universities require students to have a grasp on many soft skills, and they are expected in the workplace. Beyond that, students with a firm understanding of soft skills have a greater ability to connect interpersonally. Which skills need to be incorporated? There are a lot of skills that fall under the soft skills umbrella, so which ones should be included in a curriculum? Communication skills, especially active listening, should rank high on any list. These [...]
Here are three ways educators can learn from designers.
Most higher education professionals agree that quality matters when it comes to student learning opportunities. But did you know that quality matters is more than just a casual consideration? Quality Matters is actually an established process that provides educators with a systematic approach to sound course development. In light of this, make sure your courses meet the Quality Matters standards by following these steps. Write Effective Learning Objectives Effective learning objectives are the cornerstone of meeting Quality Matters standards. So what makes an effective learning objective? Learning objectives should be: Clearly written Measurable Coincide with learner prerequisites Create Supportive Activities and Assessments Activities and assessments in your course should directly align with your learning objectives. Make sure that students can clearly see the connection between what they’ll learn, how they’ll learn it, and how that learning will be measured. Choose the Right Instructional Materials and Technology Much like your course’s activities and assessments, the instructional materials and technology you choose should align with the course learning objectives. When all of these elements work together, [...]