Next generation is a term that is used widely and, on occasion, vaguely within Higher Education.  To uncover what next generation learning could mean, hundreds of educational leaders from across the country met virtually with Jon Mott, Chief Learning Officer of Learning Objects to discuss.

Mott, previously Managing Director for Instructional Design and Innovation at Brigham Young University, outlined learning science, rich content, digital learning environments, learning design, curriculum development, and how all of these components help shape a next generation learning experiences. So, what is a next generation transformational learning experience?

Next generation digital

Many educational leaders are familiar with the EDUCAUSE term Next Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE) and their core components:

  1. Interoperability and Integration
  2. Personalization
  3. Analytics, Advising and Assessment
  4. Collaboration
  5. Accessibility and Universal Design

While this model is known widely in academia, the value placed on each component could be contested. For Mott, the most important aspect of NGDLE is Learning and Infrastructure (or Environment).

To help explain, consider General Education courses that are designed for scalability; these courses present dynamic challenges for institutions and educators. Difficulties include unreliable performance evaluations, grading against a curve, poor objectives for true mastery, mismanaged curriculum design partnerships, and more. In a perfect storm, these difficulties can lead to retention and completion issues as well. For these reasons, emphasis on Learning and Infrastructure is a critical foundation for developing a successful environment for learners.
Where to begin? Download the webinar presentation and deck to find out.

Learning at the core starts in course development and backward design. Institutions build the program, then the capabilities or outcomes, including measuring tactics, and end by determining how outcomes can be taught through activities. This establishes a learner-centered program instead of one where activities are made first, then outcomes are tied and measured.

Program mastery

Alternatively, institutions can look at the mastery of a particular program and find new ways to provide authentic learning experiences.  As an example, a flexible rubric aligns with an artifact from a learner to allow consistent student evaluations. Through this methodology, students are provided with a personalized learning path that identifies what they know or don’t know, and where there are gaps in their learning. If a student can see where they need to spend their time, they’re more likely to be engaged with their work.

Mott Webinar 1

Returning to the General Education Course example above. To break down barriers and move towards a more engaging learning design, an institution must determine their key performance indicators (KPI’s). Consider a drop/fail rate example. If the drop/fail rate is high, most institutions should closely evaluate their Gen Ed courses to understand any underlying issues. If Instructional Designers and faculty come together to build a solution to address this drop/fail challenge, their collaboration can promote a stronger environment for learners. This is another key component to melding Learning and Infrastructure.

Laying the foundation with backward design and key performance indicators, institutions have an opportunity to build a better outcome tracking system, including a capability centered transcript. In an extended transcript, institutions and instructors can integrate competency badging, credential stacking, and micro credentialing.

With this digital, formative, and interactive learning tool, students are not only empowered to build new skills, but their real-world competencies are supported by authentic evidence. An outcome-aligned transcript includes evidence of learning and demonstrates authentic work that verifies students’ unique skills across multiple disciplines.

This living and growing transcript would continue throughout the students’ life. When reviewing these rich transcripts, employers have deeper insight to candidate’s strengths and experiences. As a trustworthy form of data, this transcript is backed by a Registrar’s Office and digitally certified.

»Click here to view and download the entire presentation on designing transformational learning experiences