Monday, June 9, 2014

Learning Objective and True Education

Learning Objective vs. Education

Goal setting is crucial for any endeavor.  Students and faculty need to know clearly what and why they are spending time in the course instead of, for example, spending time playing golf.  During the middle of the learning period, the overall course level objectives might be too general, hence the module level objectives are required to direct the faculty and student on the day-to-day learning activities.

Many online course falls into the trap of "punch list" - make sure all measurable tasks are completed.  But as an educator, we should not lose sight of the essential, but often elusive, goals of education: to inspire students, to free them from their bias, to make them part of intellectual community.  

If measurable learning outcomes are the only scope the faculty put our efforts, we might conclude the students achievements from the best elite universities are the same as an average community college, but the public consensus tell us they are not, why?  If learning objects is the only focus, students achieved those from two different faculty should value the classes exactly the same, they don't.  The persona of the faculty matters.

While all education institutions are required to be more accountable these days, we should not let the measurements of learning objective become the only driving direction of our classroom, in-person or online.

I am hesitant to use the list of learning objectives as “check list”, it might convey the minimum expectation of the module is the only goal of the instruction.  But in a world of “no-college-kids-left-behind” mindset, classes are often reduced to a set of outcomes, and nothing more.  To avoid that trap, I usually start my module with a video describe the loftier vision of the module, before introduce the measurable learning objectives.

Living the dreams

I used to just nod politely saying "just fine", when people ask me "how are you doing?".  I decided to change that. ...