Just got out of a course design meeting … it was one of those meetings where ideas were flowing, sharing was happening and you could feel a shift occurring. I wanted to put words to screen before it all got lost in the rest of the day…
The meeting began with a concrete starting place, we asked the subject matter expert to describe what we could expect of the learners at the end of the course… and we wrote that one statement down:
Upon successful completion of this course the student will demonstrate an understanding of human behaviour when individuals are exposed to stress and uncertainty.
From there we stayed really high level and talked about what some of the best ways were to ensure that the students would be successful in reaching this learning outcome.
Then we talked about the use of role play as a good way to demonstrate understanding.
Scenarios and sketches could be used to help make the connection between theory and practice. We talked about how learners needed to practice in order to develop their professional skills. Learners need to reflect on their practice, talk about their practice and share and learn from each other. This is all necessary in order to build their confidence in their abilities and to begin to trust their reactions and instincts when they are in their workplace settings and situations. By focusing on the process of practicing, sharing. reflecting and honing we are shifting the learning to the learner… and to learning being a constantly occurring ‘thing’… evolving…
We were talking and planning for a specific course for a specific program but what struck me throughout was that this applied to all of our course development projects, all of our program development projects, all of our professional learning opportunities, all of our ____ (fill in the blank).
We need to provide learners (all learners including ourselves as educators) with meaningful practical opportunities to practice, reflect, share, hone, critique, grow … repeat…
We started off at a really high level and agreed on an approach that will shift the focus of the learning to the learners… from there we can create the framework for how that will happen (number of weeks, number of hours, etc.,) but starting at that high level allowed us to talk about where the real meaning resided: in the context, in the practice and in the personal connections made by the learner.
Is this the right place to start? Will this help keep the focus on the higher purpose?