How to use (five) curriculum design principles to align authentic learning environments, assessment, students' approaches to thinking and learning outcomes
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In this article, we articulate five principles of curriculum design and illustrate their application in a third-year undergraduate course for environmental and ecological scientists. In this way, we provide a practical framework for others wishing to enhance their students' learning. To apply the five principles, we created a learning environment consisting of a broad range of learning resources and activities which were structured and sequenced with an integrated assessment strategy. The combined effect of this ensured alignment between the learning environment we created, the thinking approaches students used and the learning outcomes they achieved. More specifically, the assessment activities guided students by requiring them to recognise when their understanding was limited - and then to engage them in thinking approaches that would develop their understanding further. By providing a framework of thoughts, ideas and information, we sought to progressively enhance the sophistication of our learners' thinking. Thus, the assessment required students to integrate, synthesise and construct their understandings in ways consistent with the discipline and the professional pathways on which they had embarked. We intend that this illustration will act as a guide to other academics to adopt the same principles in their teaching.
Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education
Copyright 2009 Routledge. This is an electronic version of an article published in Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, Volume 34, Issue 5, Pages 565 - 577 . Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com with the open URL of your article.
Education Assessment and Evaluation