Co-Curricular Learning Process
When assessing student learning in the co-curriculum, you without a doubt need two things: a clear purpose and a good plan. The guided questions below will help you think through each of the eight steps in our co-curricular learning model to develop a purposeful plan to impact student learning...and to demonstrate that impact. This guide is not designed to be a checklist, but rather a resource to help you think through the key questions we should be asking as we create learning and development opportunities for our students.
STEP 1: CLARIFY PURPOSE OF LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Start by identifying why you intend you provide a particular learning experience for students.
- What purpose does the learning experience serve?
- How does it contribute to the mission or purpose of your department?
- What impact do you hope it will make on students?
- Which Student Affairs Learning Theme(s) and Learning Outcome(s) do you intend for the learning experience to impact?
STEP 2: WRITE MEASURABLE LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Once you have articulated the purpose for the learning experience, you should identify the specific, observable, or measurable Learning Objectives that should result from a student's participation in the learning experience.
- What specific, observable, or measurable knowledge, skills, or attitudes/values should students be able to demonstrate at the end of the learning experience that will indicate growth in the Learning Outcome(s) you identified in Step 1?
- What level of learning is appropriate based on the developmental needs of the students who will participate, and based on the length and intensity of the learning experience?
- Write your Learning Objectives using the formula below.
As a result of participating in (learning experience), students will (cognitive, affective, or psychomotor verb) (intended knowledge, skill, or attitude/value).
STEP 3: SELECT ASSESSMENT METHOD
Determine what assessment method will provide the best evidence that students have achieved your stated Learning Objectives.
- How many students will participate in the learning experience? How many do you need to collect information from to feel confident in the results?
- What type of information will you need to determine if students achieved the Learning Objectives?
- What method will best provide the type of information you want to collect?
STEP 4: DEVELOP OR SELECT AN INSTRUMENT
Once you know the type of data you need, and how you're going to collect it, you must develop the instrument (or select an existing one) you will use to collect your data.
- Is there an existing instrument that will give you the type of information you need to determine if the Learning Objectives were met? If yes, obtain it. If no, consult the Director of Student Affairs Learning and Assessment if you need assistance with developing an instrument.
- Review the instrument to ensure that the questions, response items, etc., directly relate to your stated Learning Objectives.
STEP 5: DESIGN & DELIVER LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Now that you know what you want students to learn and how you are going to measure the learning, you can design and/or deliver a learning experience to help students achieve the desired learning.
STEP 6: GATHER DATA
Collect information using the method/instrument you have identified. Depending on the methodology chosen, you may be collecting information throughout the learning experience (example: student reflections completed throughout a multiple-day program) or at the end of the learning experience (example: a survey students complete after a program has ended).
STEP 7: ANALYZE & INTERPRET RESULTS
Determine if the Learning Objectives were met, and if any unanticipated, yet valuable, learning resulted from the experience.
First, compile the data.
- If you gathered quantitative data, generate any descriptive statistics (mean, median, mode) and create any necessary charts/tables/graphs that will help you get a sense of the results. If you gathered qualitative data, review, code, and summarize the results.
- How many students participated in the learning experience, and from how many did you collect data?
Next, interpret and make sense of the results.
- What themes emerged in the results? What responses were most common? Least common? Of particular interest or concern?
- Did students achieve the stated Learning Objectives? How many students? To what degree?
- Did the learning experience do what you intended for it to do? If not, what explanations can you offer?
- Did any unanticipated learning take place? If so, what?
STEP 8: REPORT & USE RESULTS
The final step is to determine how, where, and with whom the results should be shared, and how the results will be used to enhance future learning experiences.
- From the data you gathered and analyzed, what is most relevant to your practice? How will you use these results?
- How can this or similar learning experiences be enhanced in the future?
- Are there new or additional learning needs that are indicated by the results?
- With whom should the results be shared?
- What information should be reported to Student Affairs Learning and Assessment?
- Finally, evaluate the assessment method/instrument used in this process. Was the method/instrument effective? Did it measure what it was supposed to measure? How might future assessment efforts be improved?