Dee Fink, Ph.D. has graciously provided the Foreword for Designing Effective Teaching and Significant Learning. The book will be published by Stylus (November, 2019).

“When I finished writing the original edition of Creating Significant Learn- ing Experiences in 2003, I thought the book had good ideas in it, but one never knows how others will receive it. However, the response to it has been far beyond anything I dared to hope for. As soon as the book came out, the requests for campus workshops on the ideas became so great that within two years I retired from my full-time job at the University of Oklahoma to do almost full-time consulting. In fact, my wife has often quipped (correctly) that “Dee didn’t retire, he just changed jobs!”

One year after that, the demand for workshops continued to rise, so I contacted three fellow faculty developers whose workshops I admired and recruited them to lead my workshop too as members of Dee Fink & Associates. Coauthor Stewart Ross was one of these associates. My associates and I have now led hundreds of campus workshops in nearly every state in the United States and in more than 20 other countries in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. The other exciting development has been hearing that the book has frequently been selected as one of the primary texts for courses on college teaching for graduate students and prospective college teachers.

What accounts for this response to the ideas in that book? When I asked people this question, they mention two parts of the book. First, they like the taxonomy of significant learning that builds on the famous taxonomy of desired kinds of learning created by Bloom, Engelhart, Furst, Hill, and Krathwohl (1956). Many mention that they especially like the new kinds of learning in my taxonomy, such as understanding oneself better, learning how to interact with others more effectively, embracing new values or interests and rethinking old values, and learning how to keep on learning after the course is over. These are the kinds of learning many teachers had intuitively felt were important but were not sure were legitimate learning goals for a college course. They said they were thrilled when the taxonomy gave them permission to include these new kinds of learning as explicit goals for their courses.

However, although the taxonomy prompts and inspires teachers to strive for a broader set of learning goals for their courses, it also challenges them with how to get these new kinds of learning to happen. This led to the second idea readers say they like in the book, the model of integrated course design. This model describes a step-by-step process that creates a high likelihood that a majority of students will actually achieve the desired kinds of learning because the teacher has the right learn- ing and assessment activities for each kind of learning and has put these activities into a dynamic sequence.

The net effect of these ideas has been to give teachers a new sense of empowerment. Many of our workshop participants report they feel a new capacity for intentionality. The ideas take much of the mystery out of teaching because they have a fuller understanding of what teaching involves, and they have a new set of tools to get good teaching and good learning to happen for a greater proportion of their students.

However, even though the ideas of integrated course design seemed clear and relatively straightforward after people read the book or participated in a workshop, questions still arise when they start to perform each of the substeps involved Questions included the following: Should I write the learning goals this way or that way? Are these learning and assessment activities appropriate for that learning goal? Is this a dynamic teaching strategy and sequence of activities, or is there a better sequence to use? And it is here where Designing Effective Teaching and Significant Learning comes in. This book offers readers two sets of helpful resources. First, this book draws on the extensive experiences of the contributors in working with and listening to teachers as they implement the ideas from Fink (2003). They note where teachers and instructional designers feel challenged and offer specific ideas, strategies, and tips on how to deal with questions like, the following: How can I understand what challenges my students face in learning this material? How can I integrate technology to extend active learning through real-world and team-based experiences? How can I assess these new kinds of learning, the ones that go beyond purely cognitive learning? How can I better meet the learning needs of a greater diversity of learners? How can I be sure my course and its materials are accessible, meeting the Americans with Dis- abilities Act (ADA; 1990) requirements so all learners can learn? And so forth.

Second, this book discusses several questions that go beyond course design per se, for example, How can I work with students more effectively? How can I assess my course in terms of its own stated learning goals and the degree to which it contributes to the institution’s learning goals and mission? How can I reflect on my teaching to clearly identify my strengths and areas where change is needed? and How can I develop a plan for continuously expanding my teaching capabilities?

Teachers who learn how to implement the basic principles of learning-centered course design and who learn how to address all the additional tasks related to teach- ing effectively, will greatly enhance the quantity and quality of student learning and their own joy in teaching.”

L. Dee Fink University of Oklahoma, Norman (retired) September 2018

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