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Wednesday, June 18 • 11:00am - 12:30pm
PSD.27 – Individual Learning Plans: Strengths and Challenges

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This session will be about the use of individual learning plans in the classroom. Every student has their own learning style, set of interests, and schedule. To reflect this fact, I have offered a variety of options in several of my courses for the last three years (at the second and third year university level, class sizes from 40 to 140), from which students can choose to build their own individual learning plan. Students select from a series of low stake writing options (in-class activities, online engagement, critical reflection papers), higher stake writing options (various term papers), and exams that adds up to 100%.

In this session, strengths of individual learning plans will be explored, such as offering students a say over how they are going to demonstrate their understanding of course content; encouraging students to actively reflect on their own learning; fostering early engagement right at the start of the semester; forcing the instructor to clearly lay out expectations for each mechanism of assessment right at the beginning of a course; encouraging students to think ahead and plan their whole semester; creating flexibility in case of health, personal, or work issues; encouraging students to read and write; fostering peer learning without making it mandatory; allowing for the inclusion of other creative forms of assignments without forcing everyone to participate; and further justifying the pedagogical use of online learning management platforms.

This session will also discuss some of the challenges associated with the use of individual learning plans, such as choices being overwhelming to some students and helping them make good choices for themselves; difficulties associated with grading due to students’ self-selection; finding the right balance in the weight of various assignments; finding the right balance in terms of time when discussing assignments that only a portion of students have committed to complete; and this approach can be more time consuming for instructors due to an added layer of pedagogy.

Best practices associated with individual learning plans will be shared, based on my experience and the overwhelmingly positive feedback from many of the 450 students whom have taken courses with me using this approach. There will be time during this session for discussion and questions.


Wednesday June 18, 2014 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
A234 McArthur Hall

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