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Alignment & Learning Activities: Framing Our Strategies. -Active learning, why? -Aligning with learning objectives -Building strategies from activities -Apply to your courses. -Jan Smith & Ken Foote. 5\%. 10\%. 20\%. 30\%. 50\%. 75\%. 90\%.

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alignment learning activities framing our strategies

Alignment & Learning Activities: Framing Our Strategies

-Active learning, why?

-Aligning with learning objectives

-Building strategies from activities

-Apply to your courses

-Jan Smith & Ken Foote

with a partner sort learning experiences onto this learning pyramid







With a partner, sort learning experiences onto this “Learning Pyramid”

Average Retention Rates

Based on Bruner

“The Process of Learning”

learning pyramid







“Learning Pyramid”




Average Retention Rates



Practice By Doing

Teaching Others

Based on Bruner

“The Process of Learning”

the importance of setting learning outcomes
The Importance of Setting Learning Outcomes

Learning and Teaching


Designed to meet

learning outcomes



Designed to assess

learning outcomes--Have students reached your goals? If they haven't, how can you help them reach your goals?




Transmission View of Learning

david kolb s experiential learning cycle
Concrete Experience (CE)


Active Experimentation (AE)

Reflective Observation (RO)



Abstract Conceptualization (AC)


David Kolb's “Experiential Learning Cycle”

Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience (1984, 38)

Constructivist learning theory suggests using a variety of strategies, activities &techniques

jerome bruner s spiral curriculum
Jerome Bruner's “Spiral Curriculum”

Key ideas and concepts are revisited throughout a class or curriculum so that learners can build on these until they reach mastery.

Regular practice with ideas and skills provides opportunities for learners to extend knowledge and deepen confidence

shaping linking activities into strategies
Shaping & Linking Activities into Strategies

How can these be organized into powerful learning experiences?

From Fink 2003

activities build on one another
Activities Build on One Another

Learning Goal

  • The time frame can vary--one class, one week, one unit, one semester...
learning activities a wealth of resources
Learning Activities: A Wealth of Resources

How will students learn?

  • Individually? In groups?
  • In class? Out of class?
  • Teacher directed? Student directed?
  • Passive Learning? Active Learning?

Chain notes, concept maps, muddiest point, sketch maps, minute paper, pro-&-con grid, invented dialogs, word journal, analytic memos, memory matrix, one-sentence summary, empty outlines, field trips, field study, role play, lab experiment/exercise... (Angelo & Cross 1993)

all at once or a step at a time
All at Once or a Step at a Time?
  • 1) Be realistic. Developing a little at a time is probably better than making a huge push to redevelop an entire class at once.
  • 2) See development as long-term process: develop a few features, test them and see how they work, revise them, then go on to more
  • 3) Think in terms of developing or improving a few activities every semester or year
practice brainstorm activities to help you reach your learning goals
Practice: Brainstorm activities to help you reach your learning goals

PART I: Study several activities in pairs (~8 minutes) then take a break

  • Read & share the activities listed on the handout you are given. Learn it well enough to describe to others.

Discuss their potential strengths and weaknesses--What learning objectives might they support, How much preparation is required, etc?


PART II: 12-15 minutes

Reorganize in groups of 4

First, work alone to list two learning outcomes for the course you are developing or improving this week. Use the form provided.

Second, share these learning outcomes with the others in the group.

Third, discuss which of the activities you've studied (in Part I) would be useful for reaching each of the learning outcomes.

By the time you finish, each person should have a 2X2 list of learning outcomes and activities.

We Will Share Some of these Suggestions with the Full Group

common concerns
Common Concerns
  • “I won’t be able to get through my syllabus”
  • “I’ll lose control of the class”
  • “Most students hate activities so they will hate my class”
  • “When I ask students to do something beyond listening to me, they become hostile”
  • “Some students do all the work in a cooperative group while others do very little”
and then the next step learning assessment
And then the next step...Learning Assessment

How will student learning be assessed?

  • Activity is integral….not fluff
  • Participation is valued by teacher and valuable to student
  • Assessment of activity needs to align with both the context of the activity and the learning objective
  • The activity provides feedback to you on whether students are reaching goals and you provide feedback to students about whether they are reaching goals
inquiry based learning problem based learning resource based learning service learning hybrids
Inquiry-based learningProblem-based learningResource-based learningService learningHybrids

Going further with active pedagogy

1) Confirmation activities require students to verify concepts 2) Structured-inquiry activities provide students with a guiding question and procedure to follow3) Guided-inquiry activities provide students with guiding question and suggested materials, but students design and direct the investigation4) Open-inquiry activities ask students to generate their own questions and design their own investigation

These vary in design, scope and purpose

Terminology & techniques overlap

Projects may involve individuals or groups

Projects may range in scope from small to large and in length from short to long

some examples
Some Examples
  • AAG Center for Global Geography Education Internationalizing the Teaching and Learning of Geography ,
  • Hands-on Modules, Susan Hanson, PI
  • Thirteen Ed Online
  • Mapping a Changing World
how does pbl work
How does PBL work?
  • Students confront an ill-structured problem BEFORE they receive all content information needed to solve the problem.
  • In groups, they organize their previous knowledge and new ideas and attempt to define the nature of the problem.
  • Students pose questions about what they do not understand.
  • They design a plan to solve the problem, and they identify resources they need.
  • Faculty members guide by asking questions.
characteristics of a good problem
Characteristics of a good problem
  • Ill-structured, but well-designed
  • Multiple avenues may lead to multiple solutions
  • Does not always have one “right” solution
  • Is based on real world situations, is “authentic”
  • Requires students to become stakeholders
  • Requires students to make decisions based on facts, information, and logic
  • Requires inquiry, information-gathering, and reflection
  • Requires cooperation
  • Has a clearly defined product
jump in or ramp up
Jump in or ramp up?
  • Moving toward inquiry-based and problem-based learning involves laying a foundation, no matter what size class is involved.

Project complexity& levels of student teamwork required

Time (week from start of term)

develop an example
Develop an example
  • Think and write for 1-2 minutes of examples that might fit the course you are working on this week
  • Share your examples with other members of your subject-area breakout group
  • Pick and develop idea using form
  • Share idea with full workshop group
the scholarship of teaching and learning sotl perspective
The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) perspective

Apply the same standards of scholarship to our teaching as we do to our research, so that:

  • Teaching involves engagement not only with a discipline’s subject matter, but with other bodies of knowledge, research and practice
  • We use this knowledge to improve our teaching through self-reflection, study and research
  • Share ideas and findings about teaching in the same way we share our scholarly work
randy bass inventio feb 1999
Randy Bass (Inventio, Feb. 1999)

“One telling measure of how differently teaching is regarded from traditional…research…is what a difference it makes to have a “problem” in one versus the other. In scholarship and research, having a “problem” is at the heart of the investigative process… But in one’s teaching, a “problem” is something you don’t want to have, and if you have one, you probably want to fix it. Asking a colleague about a problem in his or her research is an invitation; asking about a problem in one’s teaching would probably seem like an accusation. Changing the status of the problem in teaching from terminal remediation to ongoing investigation is precisely what the movement for a scholarship of teaching is all about."

why not research what strategies work and which don t
If you developing a new course or strategy, why not research it for publication:

Journal of Geography

Journal of Geography in Higher Education

International Research on Geographical and Environmental Education


Annals or other outlets

Why not research what strategies work, and which don't?