What research tells us about experiential learning? What is new in the field of research? How does research on experiential learning inform our teaching and learning?

NUNExT Summit: Questions for Lydia and Cigdim? Follow up thoughts?

9 replies, 7 voices Last updated by Profile Photo Karen Reiss Medwed 1 year, 1 month ago
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  • #19944
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    Karen Reiss Medwed
    Participant
    @drkgrm

    Join us here to continue the conversation

    #19945
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    Corliss Brown Thompson
    Participant
    @corlissbthompson

    There were two themes that I heard related to research and assessment that was shared today.

    1. We need traditional research to share the evidence and the knowledge base around experiential learning.
    2. I also heard that teachers/faculty need to understand and assess what is going on in their classrooms

    This makes me wonder how we can use the Commons to display some of these ideas. I know that many faculty at Northeastern and at others schools use the “scholarship of teaching and learning” (SoTL) to do some of this work. Are there things that we can share here about the SoTL and I also feel like we need to summarize some of the studies Cigdem referred to.

     

    #19946
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    Lydia Young
    Participant
    @lydia_young

    Corliss – I think this a great idea! CATLR, the Center for Teaching & Learning Research, is one of our Founding Members. This platform, the Digital Commons, has the capacity to create a repository.

     

    Wondering – as k12 teachers – what types of questions/research would folks be interested in accessing?

    #19947
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    Lindsay Portnoy
    Participant
    @lindsayportnoy

    I agree with Corliss, sharing both research and application to practice would be a powerful way to share experiential learning across the preK-12 trajectory. I wonder if this would improve buy-in from all stakeholders, especially those beholden to more formal practices.

    Because of the structure of public education, many schools are concerned with how students will demonstrate mastery of core standards. How can research by scholars like Cigdem Talgar help school leaders and decision makers see that yes, learners are acquiring this core knowledge through experiential learning and then some? How can this research be shared in a way that demonstrates experiential approaches call students to use higher order thinking and the transfer of that knowledge to real world application? I wonder if the focus on college and career readiness in preK-12 education isn’t an invitation to connect the concerns around the future of work to the potential of experiential learning?

    #19950
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    Mary Loeffelholz
    Participant
    @maryloeffelholz

    Lindsay Portnoy’s concern for “buy-in from all stakeholders” seems so key to me, given the astounding, growing number and diversity of stakeholders in the k-18 (and beyond) educational system.  An opportunity for our network, I hope, is to bring those stakeholders directly into the evaluation of higher-order learning.  Instead of using SAT scores as a surrogate measure for achieving college readiness, bring universities and high schools together in examining the  real college outcomes of experiential learning.  Real employers for driving career readiness, etc.  Yes, this is so much “an invitation to connect the concerns around the future of work to the potential of experiential learning.”  looking forward to more conversation on this today.

    #19952
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    Ken Martin
    Participant
    @kennethmartin

    In response to Lydia’s question:  Wondering – as k12 teachers – what types of questions/research would folks be interested in accessing?

    Parents, educators, administrators, policy makers and students(of course) all would benefit from research that demonstrates how well experiential learning prepares students for college, career and adult life.   How do experiential approaches stack up against traditional methods in traditional (standardized tests) and non-traditional metrics (CWRA+, qualitative assessments, portfolios, etc.) of academic mastery?  More generally, how do experiential approaches compare with traditional approaches in a more holistic way (social emotional skills, self-efficacy, rates of anxiety & depression, creativity, resilience, longitudinal studies of career achievement, happiness).

    #19979
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    Karen Reiss Medwed
    Participant
    @drkgrm

    Lindsay – what was fascinating to me in the later conversations is that even schools who are at the forefront of experiential education are leaning into their scores when demonstrating their success and mastery.  The session with Chris later in the afternoon where the Barrington School district evidenced this was in particular jarring in that way.  I had asked there about parents and their partnership and I continue to mull over that powerful voice in this work.

    I am also reflecting on what Mary said above and the session with which we ended the summit.  Growing our imagination for higher education and revitalizing that system, from admissions to curriculum to pedagogy will need to be part of our conversations if we are looking at lifelong learning.

     

    #19990
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    Ken Martin
    Participant
    @kennethmartin

    Re: Karen Reiss Medwed’s observation about experiential education innovators citing scores     It may be helpful to view this in the context of innovation adoption.  If an innovation is to be widely adopted, it has to go beyond the innovators & early adopters to those who are more resistant to change.  The early adopters value novelty, risk and enjoy the status of being first.   More resistant folks want to see that the new thing is clearly superior to the old way of doing things.  Therefore, showing superiority along traditional measures (in this case, standardized tests) could be one route to wider adoption of the innovation.  Another (not mutually exclusive) route could be convincing people that there are better measures for demonstrating program efficacy.  I think this is where university research could be tremendously powerful – comparative analysis of experiential vs. traditional programs to develop better measures and influence the adoption of these measures in university admissions (at least).   If universities and employers say “these are the things we want” it may help more people overcome their psychological and social resistance to change.

    #19991
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    Monica Housen
    Participant
    @monica

    Yes to all of this! As a secondary math teacher in a high-achieving school, not unlike Barrington, RI, parents demand high test scores. It is ingrained in our school culture – we begin the school year comparing our district to those around us, and what we compare are test scores. Solely. Specifically, the SAT and AP scores. If our scores drop so much as 2%, we are instructed to bring those scores back up, completely ignoring whether that drop is significant (statistically speaking) or not. As a math teacher, there is tremendous pressure to get students “ready” for the next math class in their sequence and keep those scores up for admin, parents, and a community built around the draw of the schools.

    The issue needs to be approached from multiple directions at once. As Ken mentioned, we can demonstrate that non-traditional learning can pass muster on traditional tests, and we can change the assessments to better align with what we are doing (as Corliss pointed out, how do we assess this work?). Mary mentioned colleges and universities shifting how they look at incoming students and what they choose to emphasize in admission. We need research and efforts of think tanks on what parts of curriculum and content should stay, what can go, and what new skills to bring in–and how–is essential (I have been leaning heavily on the Center for Curriculum Redesign as forward-thinking in the math domain). I see this as pieces of a puzzle in motion, moving around, trying to figure out where they fit.

    #20005
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    Karen Reiss Medwed
    Participant
    @drkgrm

    Brainstorming what might help support all these conversations: the mastery transcript initiatives have a place here. Also conversations around vocational training across high school into 4 year colleges with plus one programs.  I am hearing alot about university research – curious about the audience for that research?  For whom is a compelling case needed?  High Schools? Parents?  Or is it universities themselves? What is our partnership with media outlets and their rankings systems?  This might need a new thread at this point but would love to hear thoughts.

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