For the past two decades, important documents such as the Student Learning Imperative and Learning Reconsidered have advocated for placing student learning and assessment at the core of our work in student affairs and residence life. The reality is for many professionals, assessment of learning objectives can sometimes be an afterthought.
Instead of placing assessment at the end of the process, it should be developed in tandem with one’s objectives. Although on its surface this may seem to be a relatively easy task to accomplish, it actually represents a process that requires a transformation of our work.
These 3 strategies provide a roadmap for how to transform your practice.
Let objectives drive your strategies
Start with what students should learn and then decide the best method for helping them achieve it. Using this strategy helps avoid creep in your educational program by avoiding pet projects that may be ancillary to your primary learning objective. Using objectives as a guide also helps in determining what to focus on as well as what not to focus on. This clarity aids in assessment efforts as it provides a clear set of outcomes to test.
The Roompact software is designed so that student staff members can generate and propose learning plans but also allows for learning plans to be developed and assigned to a staff member. This flexibility allows for schools with all types of programming, community development, and curricular models to use the software.
Rather than deciding on educational activities and methods of delivery first, learning-centered organizations should have their objectives drive their methods.
Developing a set of clearly articulated learning objectives can aid educators by providing focus and clarity in the learning process. One of the keys to successful learning objective development is the creation of cascading goals and outcomes that become progressively more specific.
We integrated a number of means for entering and tracking student learning objectives into the Roompact software. For example, tags help you categorize learning moments and student contact. Or, when developing learning plans, a quick drop down of verbs from Bloom’s taxonomy is there to help.
Deciding on one’s over-arching learning goal provides general direction to one’s work. From this base, developing goal categories and subsequent outcomes drives specificity. The tried and true concepts behind Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Objectives and SMART criteria can aid in the development of departmental learning outcomes.
Originally posted in 5 Strategies for Promoting Student Learning
Utilize Student Development Theories
In addition to looking at the core documents that define your institutional mission, values, and priorities, research and theory can also help in understanding a student’s journey through college and how to tailor objectives to their unique needs. Learning objectives written with developmental theories in mind can help students move from one developmental place, stage, or vector, to another.
Roompact frequently shares best practices and innovative use-cases from our partner schools. We also partner with and sponsor a number of organizations and institutes that help identify and promote high impact practices in the area of student learning. Through workshops and other professional development services, we can help guide your department towards a learning-centric approach.
Originally posted in Utilizing Learning Objectives to Promote Intentional Student Learning