Do You Speak Learning? Creating a Shared Language for Learning Design and Faculty Development

Concurrent Session 1

Brief Abstract

Discover how a model of pedagogical knowledge ignited a community of practice, resulting in constructive conversations among diverse campus constituents about effective teaching.

Extended Abstract

Session Outcomes: In this session, participants will:
Critique a model of pedagogical content knowledge
Discuss the elements of effective teaching
Apply a design process in small groups to create a visual model of effective teaching

How do we provide faculty with the resources they need for effective teaching? When a group of learning designers and consultants from across Dartmouth College came together, we identified a major challenge in our work: a lack of shared understanding among constituents--faculty, learning designers, technology staff, administrators, students--of the skills, knowledge and resources needed for effective teaching.
Subsequently, we embarked on a design process to develop a visual model of pedagogical knowledge that would best reflect the beliefs of our campus ecosystem.
First, we sought feedback in order to develop a shared understanding of pedagogical knowledge. Through interviews with members of the teaching and learning community, we elicited input on an initial model and developed an inventory of the knowledge, skills and resources (e.g. syllabus design, construction of learning outcomes, disciplinary expertise) that support effective teaching. These conversations also addressed the relationship between these elements as depicted by their placement on the model. For example, is an understanding of student development theory necessary before one can improve assessment practices? Or are they complementary knowledge sets that can be developed in tandem? These conversations helped to clarify educational terminology and develop a shared understanding of what these words mean. Using this information, we refined the model of pedagogical knowledge to better represent the beliefs of our teaching and learning community.
Next, we used this refined model to inventory and assess the resources for teaching and learning on our campus. We convened groups of campus partners from curricular and co-curricular units to address these questions:
How can we best help faculty develop these pedagogical knowledge and skills?
How are available resources communicated to faculty?
Where are the resource gaps? How might they best be addressed?
Moving forward, we will incorporate information from these conversations to create a holistic campus model for faculty development.
In this session, participants will experience this process in small groups, acting as both research participants and designers, in order to create a pedagogical model of their own. We will share the story of Dartmouth's process, methodology, results, and next steps.