How to Design Programs for Significant Learning

Significant learning meets two criteria: 1) learning lasts beyond the end of a course, and 2) learning has an impact on personal, professional, social or civic life. The latter suggests significant learning changes how a person thinks, feels, or acts in their lives.

During the FAME First Friday Series on April 7, a group of presenters in the fields of medicine and education discussed ways they have encountered of “Applying Significant Learning Principles in Curriculum Design.”

Larry Hurtubise, M.A., from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, pointed to backward design as the first step to developing curriculum that promotes significant learning. Matching learning objectives with teaching and learning activities and using assessment to refine those activities creates a state of continual improvement.

Assessment across an educational program, he said, combines multiple individual student assessment activities to reach an accurate judgement of mastery (as opposed to high-stakes summative testing). Moreover, program assessment is more in line with current competency-based medical education and adult learning styles.

Competency-based medical education, he argued, requires a paradigm shift from a passive learner shaped by positive and negative reinforcement to a learner who constructs his or her own understanding and knowledge of the world through experiences. This empowered learner must question how an activity helps them gain knowledge and encourages them to become self-directed, “expert” learners.

The group, who also included Claire Stewart, M.D., of Nationwide Children’s, and Brenda Roman, M.D., of Wright State’s College of Medicine, shared 12 tips for programmatic assessment taken from a 2015 article in the journal Med Teach.

  1. Develop a master plan for assessment.
  2. Develop examination regulations.
  3. Adopt a robust system for collecting information.
  4. Ensure that every low-stakes assessment provides meaningful feedback for learning.
  5. Provide mentoring to learners.
  6. Ensure trustworthy decision-making.
  7. Organize intermediate decision-making assessments.
  8. Encourage and facilitate personalized remediation.
  9. Monitor and evaluate the learning effect of the program and adapt.
  10. User the assessment process information for curriculum evaluation.
  11. Promote continuous interaction between stakeholders.
  12. Develop a strategy for implementation.

FAME is the Faculty Advancement, Mentoring, and Engagement center at the OSU’s College of Medicine.

Small Teaching Discussions

Over the past several weeks, the Office of Teaching and Learning has hosted group discussions with CVM faculty and staff around Part I and Part II of James Lang’s book, Small Teaching. The book provides an easy to understand overview of modern education research, with countless simple examples of how instructors can make small changes to classes of all shapes, sizes, and delivery methods in order to engage student learners.

Please feel free to join us for the discussion of the third part of Small Teaching on April 10th (8am) and 11th (noon) in VMC 0076. The book is available through the OSU library system, or for purchase through kindle, nook, or your favorite book store.

Continue reading

Learner Participation and Rewards

Recent issues of Faculty Focus have tackled the challenge of learner participation and offering rewards for engagement.

In “Encouraging Student Participation: Why It Pays to Sweat the Small Stuff,” Maryellen Weimer, Ph.D. suggests asking yourself a few questions:

How often do you ask questions and when do you ask them? At the end of class isn’t optimum because students anticipate a break or want to leave a few minutes early. The purpose of the question might encourage participation, especially if it previews how you will test mastery.

How long do you wait for an answer? Most presenters wait 2 to 3 seconds but feel as if they wait 10 to 12 seconds. While waiting may feel uncomfortable, it has advantages, specifically allowing for participants to think about complex topics and encouraging responses.

Continue reading

An Introduction to Assessment

The formal use of assessment in higher education is a growing trend. While some institutions began assessment when required by legislatures or accreditation bodies, others have proactively tried to create an institutional culture of academic assessment.

Regardless of the reasons for starting an assessment program, the expectation that student learning is consistently evaluated is here to stay.

This is the first part of a series intended to introduce the basics of assessment including what assessment is and is not. The series will begin by looking at program level assessment. Future topics will include basic assessment terminology, tangible examples of assessment, discussions on classroom level assessment, and more.

Continue reading

ITEM ANALYSIS: Evaluating Multiple Choice Questions

CVM faculty receive information about the quality of their tests and quizzes several ways.

  • They may look at student performance data on particular tasks, activities, quizzes, or tests in Carmen.
  • They may be notified of item analysis generated when they administer Scantron tests.
  • They may review a “Test and Question Report” from ExamSoft, a secure-testing application available to all faculty and currently used across first-year core courses.

The latter two are specifically designed to validate exam reliability, consistency, and quality.

These formal and informal processes allow us to create strong assignments and assessments, refine components of those assessments over time, and align the way we assess students with the learning outcomes identified.

Continue reading

2015 Exemplary Teaching Panel

2015teaching-panel

Being a great teacher involves engaging with those who do it well. The following tips are condensed from the 2015 Exemplary Teaching Panel, which featured College of Veterinary Medicine faculty who earned recognition in 2015 as outstanding educators. Continue reading

How to Use Interactive Lecture Systems

tophatSeveral faculty at the College of Veterinary Medicine use clickers to bring a level of engagement and interactivity to large lecture courses. During the spring semester, you’ll hear the Office of Teaching & Learning introduce an eLearning tool that allows students to use mobile devices (phones, tablets, iPads) and computers as clickers. This web-based platform, available across OSU, is called TopHat.

The value of clickers and TopHat includes: Continue reading

The Not-So-Simple Task of Posing Questions During Lectures

Here’s a multiple-choice question for faculty members faced with a rows upon rows of students in large-enrollment classes.

What happens when you pose a question during a lecture?

A. So many hands shoot up I couldn’t possibly call on anyone in particular.
B. I use TopHat to collect responses.
C. Someone in the front row usually shouts out the answer.
D. Nothing.
E. Depending on the class or the day, all of the above.

Most faculty use questions to informally test for comprehension, to guide students from one concept to another related concept, to check for attentiveness, or to encourage student engagement with the material. Questioning seems such a natural part of teaching and learning that we rarely give it much thought; however, certain practices can increase faculty effectiveness, student engagement, and student comprehension. Continue reading

How to Review Test Reports and Multiple Choice Item Analysis

CVM faculty receive information about the quality of their tests and quizzes several ways.

• They may look at student performance data on particular tasks, activities, quizzes, or tests in Carmen.
• They may be notified of item analysis generated when they administer Scantron tests.
• They may review a “Test and Question Report” from ExamSoft, a secure-testing application available to all faculty and currently used across first-year core courses.

The latter two are specifically designed to validate exam reliability, consistency, and quality.

These formal and informal processes allow us to create strong assignments and assessments, refine components of those assessments over time, and align the way we assess students with the learning outcomes identified. Continue reading