Many students do not recognize faculty members’ efforts to help them learn. While some students come to an “aha” realization of how the course activities fit together, others come away less satisfied—even when they have learned all that was intended. Helping students understand why a course was designed in a particular way seems paramount to bringing them to this awareness. The language of Learning Model can be helpful in communicating not only the rationale behind a course design, but why you have selected particular instructional strategies for a course.
Student understanding of the Learning Model is increasing. A survey winter semester found that 55% of the student body know the principles and process steps of the Learning Model (up from 38% in the fall). Student knowledge of the Learning Model will continue to increase as students are exposed to it through their courses and institutional messaging.
Yet even when students know the principles and process steps of the Learning Model, they often do not understand when it is being applied in their courses. This suggests that faculty should not only teach what the Learning Model is, but how it is being applied in their courses. The start of the semester is an opportune time to explain these connections with the course introduction and syllabus.
Resources to Teach Students
Numerous approaches have been developed to discuss the Learning Model. For ideas, consider visiting with colleagues or look at the examples and resources on Teaching Your Class About the Learning Model. Additionally the Learning Model Website is another resource that has video clips, explanations, and a discussion forum. Some faculty members have chosen to assign their students to take an online self assessment or test to improve their knowledge of the Learning Model. Since these resources are online, students who do not know much about the model can be directed to learn more outside of classroom time.
Faculty can also use these resources to help resolve misconceptions about the Learning Model—particularly the notion that the faculty play a diminished role in the classroom. Designing and managing learning experiences that more deeply engage student involvement and accountability elevates a faculty member’s responsibility. It may be helpful to explain your role in selecting collaborative learning activities and how you will monitor progress and intervene as necessary to correct and clarify.
Moving From “What It Is” To “How We Use It”
While it is helpful for students understand the Learning Model on a general level, it will not become significant until the students can see how principles are applied specifically in your course. Some examples and ideas are listed below:
Leverage The Language Of The Learning Model.
As President Clark has explained, “The Learning Model provides a common framework for learning and teaching that extends across every discipline, course, and learning experience. All will be grounded in a shared approach.” By tapping into this common language you can help students better understand why you are using particular teaching methods in a course.
Furthermore, there is a cumulative payoff in explaining and applying the Learning Model. After being expected to apply the same learning principles in science, religion, and art classes, for example, students begin to get the picture. The constant exposure to these principles over the course of their studies encourages students to take more responsibility for their learning. Our collective efforts to teach “what the Learning Model is” and “how we use it” is a powerful means to developing disciple-leaders at BYU-Idaho.
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Jon Paul Johnson
Friday, August 13, 2010 12:54 PM
As a new faculty this year, I can see how students would have a hard time learning not only the parts of the Learning Model but also how they can be applied in their learning. Thanks for this overview of how to put it into context. Using the learning model really shouldn't something we secretly plan in our offices. We should be constantly pointing out how the things we're doing relate to the learning model, like the example of the business professor you gave.