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ERIC Number: EJ979335
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1467-6370
Embracing the Learning Paradigm to Foster Systems Thinking
Habron, Geoffrey; Goralnik, Lissy; Thorp, Laurie
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, v13 n4 p378-393 2012
Purpose: Michigan State University developed an undergraduate, academic specialization in sustainability based on the learning paradigm. The purpose of this paper is to share initial findings on assessment of systems thinking competency. Design/methodology/approach: The 15-week course served 14 mostly third and fourth-year students. Assessment of learning arose through one short answer exam, one interactive small group dialogue exam, homework assignments, completion of an online community engagement tutorial, and completion of a final reflective project (either in a group or individual). Findings: The range of assessments enabled the authors to provide "frequent and ongoing feedback," "a long time horizon for learning," and "stable communities of practice." Students had multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning progress in a variety of forms and contexts across multiple intelligences. Research limitations/implications: Despite attempts to actively promote the kind of frequent and authentic assessment advocated in the literature, the authors' results suggest the need for a consistent and valid assessment measure with an agreed upon rubric and stable assessment across multiple reviewers. Practical implications: The authors recommend that the proper activities and rubrics exist to match a program's competencies before implementing the approach. Social implications: The examples described in the paper provide some concrete assignments and approaches linked to the pedagogy of teaching and learning amenable to many other educational institutions in support of the UN Education for Sustainable Development effort. Originality/value: The authors' approach provides a unique attempt at implementing and assessing a competency-based approach to implementing the learning paradigm to foster sustainability systems thinking. (Contains 5 tables and 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan