How do you know if your learning experience is significant? What factors will make it better? Dee Fink addresses these questions in his book “Creating Significant Learning Experiences.” While the books is primarily for the instructors who are involved in designing college courses, students can benefit from its concepts as well in evaluating their learning and devising their own unique ways to make it better if the formal instruction falls short. Fink writes:
“For learning to occur, there has to be some kind of change in the learner. No change, no learning. And significant learning requires that there be some kind of lasting change that is important in terms of the learner’s life.”
Fink offers the “Taxonomy of Significant Learning” based on the following six kinds of significant learning:
Foundational Knowledge. Learners must have the basic understanding of main concepts and ideas of the subject matter.
Application. Application makes the learning useful. It includes the ability to engage in various kinds of thinking, such as critical, creative and practical, and the development of skills needed to apply the knowledge and manage complex projects.
Integration. Learners must be able to make connections between ideas, people and different realms of life.
Human Dimension. Learning must lead to self-improvement and enable learners to function better in the world.
Caring. Significant learning will make learners care about something more than they did before.
Learning How to Learn. Learners must be able to improve their studying skills and develop the characteristics of a self-directed learner.
How does you learning measure against this taxonomy?
To find out more about Fink’s book and the design of significant learning experiences, visit www.significantlearning.org.