News & Updates

Improved MSc in Cultivar Development for Africa (IMCDA) Dissemination Meeting

The IMCDA meeting successfully met in July in Tanzania to explore and design planning to continue to expand the work conducted by collaborators from the U.S. and Africa. The desired outcomes of the meeting were the following: 
  1. Share with invited university faculty the IMCDA curriculum, e-learning modules and other resources developed during the implementation of the program
  2. Present to participants teaching and learning technics used to deliver the training
  3. Scale-out the IMCDA to other African university faculty and initiate collaborative teaching and learning projects for greater improvement of plant breeding training, research and development.
And unfortunately, while an ISU representative was not able to be present at this meeting, the PBEA-PLC mission was fulfilled and brought to new audiences by the amazing participants from Africa. By all accounts, this meeting was incredibly successful and we hope to see continued growth from collaborative gatherings of this kind. 

PBEA-PLC Final Report 

The PBEA-PLC program has concluded, but the friendships and learning experiences that were earned will not be forgotten. All members of the team from the Iowa State University campus are grateful for the opportunity to work with PBEA-PLC and hope that this program continues to build relationships and knowledge about international professional learning communities. Please read the final report for additional information about the outcomes of this program.

You Wanted to Know...

Creating Significant Learning Experiences
According to educational researcher L. Dee Fink, "teaching should result in something others can look at and say, 'That learning experience resulted in something that is truly significant in terms of the students' lives'." I believe that the vast majority of professors working in classrooms today desire to make a difference in their student's long-term learning. No teacher enters the classroom hoping to make a minimal impact and be quickly forgotten, but unfortunately teaching can easily become forgettable without experiences and strategies to make it significant. 
Learning can be seen and evidenced in terms of the change that results from an experienced. If no change in thoughts or behavior occur, then has learning really happened? Learning can happen in one, two, or even six areas. Those areas are outlined in the model below. 
Each category in significant learning describes various ways in which teaching can be significant and represents various ways that a teacher can access and build long-term memories for students. 

In this image, note that learning is not linear, but rather relational. Teachers do not have to focus on only one of these categories to see results in other areas. When a professor helps a student to find results in one of these areas, it often enhances learning in other areas. 

To integrate this model into the classroom, the teacher might utilize techniques like case studies, reflective writing, learning portfolios, or weekly journals. Using these interactive and interpretive teaching techniques allows the professor to call upon previously taught foundational knowledge while applying critical thinking skills through reflection upon personal experiences or impacts. 

In order to begin implementing some of these techniques into the classroom, consider reviewing backwards design to help your strategies align with your program and course learning outcomes. 
In backwards design, the professor begins the process of instructional design by first considering what the long term desired learning outcomes may be, and then designing the around those long-term learning outcomes. In this manner, the professor allows the desired student learning goals to direct the shape that the class takes in both learning goals, assessment, and instructional methods. 

Consider how this would look in your own classroom...
  • What long-term lessons do you want your students to remember 1 or 2 years from now? 
  • What do you remember most from your own education? 
  • What do you wish someone had taught you when you were first starting out? 
Answering these questions might start to give you an idea of how you can make your classroom learning experiences significant and long-lasting to your students. 

Contact the PBEA-PLC Team

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