Renee Cole - University of Iowa
Host: Dan Sykes (863-0796)
"Improving Learning Experiences through Constructive Alignment of Course Components"
Abstract: Many instructors approach course design by focusing on content without explicitly considering the intended outcomes (what students should know and be able to do), how knowledge and skills will be developed through instruction, or how each intended outcome will be assessed. By ensuring that learning outcomes, assessments, and instructional actions are aligned, instructors provide students with coherent curricular opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills and increase the likelihood that instructional actions are appropriate to achieving the desired learning outcomes. Marzano’s taxonomy provides a useful (and practical) way to think about developing learning objectives, activities, and assessments. The levels are based on the degree of cognitive control or intentionality of the thought processes needed to complete a task. Well-designed learning objectives serve many purposes: they guide curriculum development, guide assessment, and help students direct and monitor their learning process. With the increased emphasis on creating active learning environments to better support student learning, it is important to consider what aspects of activity design and implementation are effective in supporting student learning. We have used Marzano’s taxonomy to characterize instructional tasks from a variety of contexts and have extended this work to analyze classroom discourse to investigate how task design can influence student engagement. This work provides insights into how instructors can design and align course components to develop more effective learning environments.