In creating significant learning environments, it is important that outcomes, activities, and assessments are aligned. Educators must carefully evaluate their learning environments and situational factors before creating significant learning goals and using backwards design to develop a course or unit. It is about more than collecting the dots; we cannot be providing students with merely content when we should be focused on connecting the dots, allowing our learners to make connections with their learning (Godin, 2012). Outcomes, activities, and assessments should be aligned in foundational knowledge, application, integration, human dimension/caring, and learning how to learn (Fink, n.d.) in order for significant learning to occur. Significant learning in authentic learning environments allows students to develop connections and learn based on context instead of content, which is crucial to developing lifelong learners.
Using the guide created by Fink, I have developed a plan for my 6th grade language arts class to use the ePortfolio all year for reading response. I started with the BHAG, Big Hairy Audacious Goal, and worked backwards from there to plan the unit. Coming up with the BHAG first allowed me to keep my end goal in sight and focus all outcomes, activities, and assessments on that to design a cohesive unit with strong goals where my students can learn and connect in a learner-centered, engaging environment.
Learning environment and situational factors discussion:
Our team discusses the similarities and differences of our learning environments, and how we each shape their significance in unique ways despite our differences.