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Faculty Meeting 9/4/20 Student Foundations Experience & Experiential Learning

SPRING 2020

Figure 1. Word cloud  in the shape of a Longhorn showcasing key foundations ideas from the AET faculty.
Figure 1. Word cloud in the shape of a Longhorn showcasing key foundations ideas from the AET faculty.

SUMMER 2020

SKILL MAP MAKING
Thank you to the Curriculum Committee for the synthesis of answers from last year's faculty survey. (Figure 1.) Michael and I met every week over the summer and worked on organizing and expanding the learning outcomes that you identified in your survey answers. We edited, combined, and added to the faculty survey to include missing components.

Figudre 2. 12-page draft of AET Foundations Skill Map including topic categories and learning outcomes
Figudre 2. 12-page draft of AET Foundations Skill Map including topic categories and learning outcomes

The Skill Map (Figure 2.) (Link should now be open) requires additional faculty input to complete, so we will workshop the skill map in future Faculty Meetings. Once the Skill Map is complete it will still be a living document as courses are added along with new outcomes.

UNIFYING STUDENT FOUNDATIONS EXPERIENCE
During the summer, I researched a unifying configuration for the Student Foundations Experience.  My research went back to the Bauhaus and more currently to the SDCT Core program. 

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
I discovered a University-wide initiative that I think is a great fit for AET, called Experiential Learning. Today we are going to find out if you are already doing Experiential Learning. By adopting the Experiential Learning structure we can offer students a consistent learning pattern as they learn the wide variety of hardware, software, coding, and design techniques. The result of a consistent pedagogical strategy will be to lessen students' cognitive load so they will be able to concentrate on course content.

FALL 2020

This fall we will have working faculty meetings with a goal to create a welcoming culture for incoming students, and at the same time, provide a coherent foundations program in which students will build the skills needed to succeed in upper-level coursework.

To start, we'll compare the projects you currently offer students in your classes to the structures of Experiential Learning.

Breakout Rooms 

    3 faculty to a room x 2 minutes each + 2 minutes wiggle room = 8 minutes

Describe the project in your class that has the most direct connection to real-world applications.

Describe three elements of your project assignment

  1. What is the project's final product?
  2. What is the project's relationship to the real world?
      — real client? realistic simulation? real application? real environment?
  3. Is a postmortem, reflection, case study, or process record required, if yes, briefly describe.

If you do not have a project with a product, how do you assess student learning?

   Breakout Room Report out 1 project from each group.


Compare Breakout Room Project reports to Checklist for Experiential Learning

Experiential learning (EL) defined by the Experiential Learning Initiative:

Experiential learning opportunities offer students assignments and activities based on real-life situations or primary research that engages them in reflective problem-solving with multiple potential avenues of inquiry.

Experiential learning opportunities contain all of the following components thoughtfully prepared and facilitated by the instructor:

Experience: Students have an opportunity to do something other than listen and take notes, such as solve an authentic real-world problem, carry out an experiment etc.

Reflection: Students reflect on the experience so that they can learn about the process of what happened and why it happened during the experience. Students learn that failure is common, think about the challenges they faced, and methods of improvement.

Application of knowledge: Students apply what they have learned through their experiences and reflection to novel scenarios or problems.

Product: Students create or develop something that is of value to someone other than only the instructor (outside audience). This could be a poster presentation, a video, a physical product, a paper, etc.

Autonomy: Students are given the opportunity to direct their own learning by choosing problems that align with their own interests, designing their own experiments etc.


RESULTS: HOW CLOSE ARE WE ALREADY TO THE UNIVERSITY-WIDE PEDAGOGICAL SYSTEM OF EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING?



honoria@utexas.edu


CLOSING

YOU HAVE HOMEWORK

Learn more about EL from these sources and we will have a follow-up hands-on EL workshops.

Experiential Learning.org https://www.experientiallearning.org/library/9-steps-successful-experiential-learning/

Ryerson University  Experiential Learning in-depth instructions.

Experiential Learning Rubric https://carleton.ca/experientialeducation/grading-and-evaluation/

Levels of Assessments https://www.mcgill.ca/tls/files/tls/guidelines_-_assessment_of_experiential_learning_1.pdf

Experiential Learning at UT https://cns.utexas.edu/teaching-portal/experiential-learning



NEXT WORKSHOP

Who's using EL in our College J.E.'s case study.



------------------------ END OF FACULTY MEETING PRESENTATION------------


BACKGROUND RESEARCH


Introduce Experiential Learning as a University-wide structure that most or all AET faculty are already doing.

The Experiential Learning Theory of David Kolb by Kendra Cherry 

Here is the Experiential Learning cycle.

What parts do you recognize in your own project assignments?

Chart of Experiental Learning Cycle
Chart of Experiental Learning Cycle
Chart of Experiental Learning Cycle
Chart of Experiental Learning Cycle

There is one basic rule and 9 simple practical steps that can help even the least experienced facilitator develop the learning.
The Rule: Successful experiential learning demands that participants are engaged in the learning process and think for themselves: you can guide them but you must not think for them.


9 Practical Steps to Successful Experiential Learning

1. Choose a task that takes into account participants’ current skills and behaviours and the required learning outcomes.

The task: This should be stimulating and inclusive, will often include a fun element, should take the minimum amount of time to provide the learning opportunities, and, from a facilitator’s view point, be easy to administer.

2. Keep the required learning outcomes in your mind in the planning process and during the activity.
3. Plan how you intend to develop the learning before participants start the task, but be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances.

The learning process: This must be engaging, non-threatening, personally relevant and enlightening. Expect facilitating the learning process to take much more time than the task, and be personally demanding: when done well is not easy for anyone, even the most able and experienced.

4. With groups who are new to experiential learning lead a plenary discussion immediately after the first task. The best question I know for use in this plenary discussion is:

‘If I were to ask you to do a similar activity again, what are the key skills, abilities, attitudes, approaches and behaviours that would enable you to be as successful as possible if you were to tackle a similar task again?’

Repeat the question over and over, encouraging everyone to contribute. Probe for details, e.g. if an answer is ‘communication’ ask ‘what aspects of communication would be helpful?’ Note every answer onto a flip chart. Expect 20 – 40 answers before asking them to think and highlight individually which of the points they did well and note where they have clear scope for improvement. Return to small groups to discuss their notes before activity 2.

5. With more experienced people run self-managed groups: provide worksheets with either:
Open-ended questions that target the key learning objectives, e.g. ‘Describe how your group planned your approach’. Ensure that everyone works through their worksheets on their own before any discussion between group members. Ask the groups to discuss everyone’s answers with the aim of identifying what went well, where they have scope for improvement and what should be done by whom. Or use tick box worksheets highlighting a whole list of criteria, e.g. ‘I listen well’, ‘I asked lots of questions’, ‘I gave my views freely, I was too quiet’. This approach focuses thinking and provides a quick way to raise issues, but it can lead to superficial responses.

6. Ensure that you do not become the focus of the discussions, lead the thinking or take control: make sure individuals think for themselves by continually asking open questions that lead on from what group members are saying. You are there to facilitate, not to teach.

7. Get the group to summarise their learning and ensure that everyone has points that they want to try out or put into practice in subsequent activities.

8. Never tell people what they should have learned or what you wanted them to learn, just monitor their progress and plan your actions and subsequent activities accordingly.

9. Believe in people: they will learn if you work with them to create an appropriate learning environment.

There are two key elements to experiential learning; the task; and the learning process.

The task: This should be stimulating and inclusive, will often include a fun element, should take the minimum amount of time to provide the learning opportunities, and, from a facilitator’s view point, be easy to administer.

The learning process: This must be engaging, non-threatening, personally relevant and enlightening. Expect facilitating the learning process to take much more time than the task, and be personally demanding: when done well is not easy for anyone, even the most able and experienced.

Why do things sometimes go wrong?

It’s often because the tasks (games) can be engaging, fun, and are easy to run, they are often used as ‘enter-train-ment!’. When used in this way they are a waste of everyone’s time and give experiential learning a bad name.

Making things go right

Follow the one basic rule and these 9 simple practical steps to develop the learning.

If you have any more questions about experiential learning or how to plan a workshop please get in touch!  




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