24 09, 2019

4 High-Impact Approaches for Increasing Student Engagement in Higher Ed

2019-09-25T06:07:13-04:00 September 24th, 2019|Curriculum Planning, education, higher education, Learning|0 Comments

Student engagement and retention improve when universities take action. Campus beautification and student demographics definitely play a part. A rich learning experience, however, is even more important in helping students finish strong. Many institutions are using the following high impact approaches to keep learners engaged. Structured Learning Communities Increase Student Engagement Learning communities give students a sense of belonging and increase engagement. A structured community will group learners together and give them more time to interact.  Students can collaborate to solve problems, review peer work, or conduct research. Such a community should also include faculty who ask students about their personal life and give career guidance. An LMS (Learning Management System) makes it all easier.  For example, one community college found that students in a structured learning community attended class more often.   What are some approaches to keep your millennial learners engaged? Read this article that discusses some curricular approaches based on their unique learning styles.   Writing Intensive Courses Universities such as Harvard are offering writing intensive courses. A writing intensive course amplifies student [...]

28 08, 2019

3 Connections Between Learning Standards and Performance-Based Assessments

2019-08-27T19:58:01-04:00 August 28th, 2019|curriculum, Curriculum Planning, education, Instructional Design|0 Comments

What are performance-based assessments (PBA)? Here's an example to help you understand PBAs. Let’s think about verbs. Regardless of your level of interest in sentence structure, the word verb most likely brought one thing to mind: action. The physical act of doing something. Now, what verb in the following standard do you consider most significant?  Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the Sun and the force of gravity. If you picked develop, congratulations! That’s what the middle-school science student has to do in this case: create something to describe something else. Both the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards are all about action, regardless of the age of the student. So, how does a student develop a model on a traditional multiple-choice assessment? Chances are, this question made you pause a bit and think about it. Can a model be made by choosing A, B, C, or D? Kind of. You can definitely complete a model by selecting the correct answer. You [...]

17 07, 2019

Creating Authentic Learning Experiences Part 4: Assessment of Authentic Learning

2019-07-16T16:49:12-04:00 July 17th, 2019|assessment, Curriculum Planning, education, Instructional Design|0 Comments

This is the fourth and final installment in the four-part blog series on authentic learning. We’ll explore how assessments fit into the authentic learning process. So far in the series we have discussed the components of authentic learning, the elements of a successful authentic learning environment, and how to integrate these experiences into existing curriculums. The final piece is assessment. Why Do We Assess? While assessment is not usually anyone’s favorite part of the learning process, it is necessary. All assessment seeks to measure student performance toward learning objectives or standards. Types of Assessment Assessment usually takes one of two forms: formative or summative. Both types of assessment can be used in an authentic learning environment, but it does take some creative thinking to break out of the scantron bubble. Formative Assessment These assessments take place during the learning process, allowing for modification of both teaching and learning activities. A couple of great examples of formative assessment in authentic learning are journals and student interviews. Journals Journals are a space for students to process [...]

10 07, 2019

Putting Micro-credentials to Practice for K12 Professional Development

2019-07-10T10:22:05-04:00 July 10th, 2019|curriculum, Curriculum Planning, micro-credentialing, Professional Development|0 Comments

Micro-credentials might be just the right approach for your district’s professional development program. Think smaller and a more focused format. That’s microcredentials in a nutshell. How does micro-credentialing work? Professionals complete a discrete, competency-based task. The organization offering micro-credentials can then issue badges, continuing education credits, or other verification of completion. Putting it in practice Let’s say a K12 school district typically offers face-to-face courses for teachers’ professional development. Teachers sign on and attend a number of hours of training and are then awarded continuing professional development, or CPD, credit for participating in those workshop trainings. Instead, how about changing the format to something like this. Redesign learning using the micro-credentials and change the components in the following manner. Plan shorter sessions Since educators already have a lot on their plate, why not shorten the units? It’s easier for busy educators to fit a 15- or 30-minute professional development session into their busy schedules. Use a skill-based program The second approach is to modify the learning to be skill-based and related to on-the-job tasks. [...]

3 07, 2019

Creating Authentic Learning Experiences Part 3: Integrating Authentic Learning in the Curriculum

2019-07-09T15:09:22-04:00 July 3rd, 2019|Course Writers, curriculum, Curriculum Planning, Educational Content, eLearning|0 Comments

This is the third installment in a four-part blog series about authentic learning experiences. In the first part we focused on what authentic learning is. The second part looked at how to develop authentic learning experiences. This post shows you how to integrate these learning experiences into your existing curriculum. Authentic learning sounds great in theory. Who wouldn’t want to give students real-world practice with what they’re learning? You’re just having trouble figuring out how you can incorporate it into your curriculum. It may seem overwhelming. These suggestions will show you just how easy it is to incorporate authentic learning into any curriculum. You may have already integrated it in your course design. Videos You can use videos to show students exemplars of procedures and techniques they’ve learned. You can stop videos at specific instances to ask students pointed questions.  The videos guide your discussion and help students see a visual representation of what they’re learning Additionally, videos can also allow students to show rather than tell their learning. They have the opportunity to put the [...]

19 06, 2019

Creating Authentic Learning Experiences Part 2: Developing Authentic Learning Experiences

2019-07-09T16:35:07-04:00 June 19th, 2019|Course Writers, Curriculum Development, Curriculum Planning, Educational Content, Instructional Design, Interactive Learning|0 Comments

This is the second installment in a four-part blog series on authentic learning. We’ll explore what the environments look like that facilitate authentic learning and how to create them.   The first blog explored what authentic learning is and how it can better facilitate student learning. Authentic learning bridges the gap between the classroom and the real world. This creates a concrete connection for students and better equips them to apply what they are learning. Students absorb new material, put it into practice with hands-on activities, and connect it to something they already know. The ultimate goal of authentic learning is to increase student engagement. The Current Problem Implementing this approach requires the right environment. Recent studies have shown the breakdown in traditional classroom settings. Part of the problem is the delivery method used in many classrooms. Often, the instructor talks the information at students. This method does not allow for deeper learning experiences. Authentic learning is the way to create those experiences. What does such an environment look like? 10 Characteristics of Authentic [...]

5 06, 2019

Creating Authentic Learning Experiences Part 1: William Horton’s eLearning by Design

2019-06-05T12:28:40-04:00 June 5th, 2019|Curriculum Planning, education, Educational Content, Instructional Design, project based learning|0 Comments

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 [...]

22 05, 2019

How to Equip Students with Workplace-Ready Soft Skills

2019-07-05T17:33:01-04:00 May 22nd, 2019|Competency Based Education, continuing education, course design, Curriculum Planning, Educational Content|0 Comments

The price of college continues to rise. That’s a fact. With that rising price tag, it’s critical that colleges give students the workplace-ready soft skills they need. Historically, college skills included academic and sometimes technical skills. Recently, employers have noticed new graduates are missing some key skills: workplace-ready soft skills. Essentially, they weren’t able to effectively work with others. Colleges began to realize they needed to make changes. Hard academic skills were no longer enough. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and a group of education and HR professionals came together. They developed a recipe for career readiness. These eight key ingredients provide students with the tools they need to find success in any workplace. NACE’s Eight Career Readiness Skills Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Employees use reasoning and logic to make decisions and analyze problems. They make connections between factors to find the best solution. Communication Skills Employees convey thoughts and ideas to people both inside and outside of the organization. They need to know how to communicate both through writing [...]