Differentiating Learner Outcomes: A Student-centered Approach with Value-added Benefits

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Department or Administrative Unit

Center for Teaching and Learning

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Exercising student voice through learner-lead outcome differentiation promotes intrinsic motivation to learn by incorporating personal interests, abilities, and styles. Self-investment may afford a developmental catalyst in transitioning from an adolescent view of education toward an adult learner focus, key to constructing learning and pivotal to generating wisdom. A long-standing behaviorist approach to education has lead to a culture of extrinsically motivated and controlled learning, with efforts directed toward teaching and away from the goal of learning. Incorporation of student voice in course direction encourages influence, emphasizes responsibility, and empowers decision-making, creating learners practiced at societal contribution. Using the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education’s Learning Development Outcomes framework with the Spectrum of Student Voice Oriented Activity (Toshalis and Nakkula 2012, 24) affords a planning playground matrix for learning. Originally designed for students, , the matrix has practical application for faculty and programs. Faculty can use it for planning learning strategies, mapping teaching, and professional reflection. Programs can select and map strategic learner outcomes and assessment to maintain course integrity and ensure incorporation of industry standards. Collaborative balancing of learner outcomes offers value-added potential to strengthen educational partnerships, creating foundational strength for student growth, faculty evaluation, and continuous program improvement.


This article was originally published in The Journal of the World Universities Forum. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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The Journal of the World Universities Forum


© Common Ground, Teresa Day Walker, All Rights Reserved