L Dee Fink’s, Creating Significant Learning Experiences, goes on in chapter 2 to consider a way to explain what is needed in a signifcant learning experience.  I deliberately use the phrase “a way” as Fink’s work is based on consultancy and research while trying to make the taxonomy he describes true across multiple disciplines.  The approach is integrative trying to bring in views of students, faculty and accrediting bodies.

Fink suggests 6 areas needed for Significant Learning.  These areas are:

  • Foundational Knowledge
  • Application
  • Integration
  • Human Dimension
  • Caring
  • Learning How to Learn

I find this list incredibly helpful as most times accrediting bodies want to know what Foundational Knowledge will be taught in a unit but are not concerned with how this connects to learning other than through assessment.  I know in Hermeneutics I want the students to care that a sermon or exposition is Biblical.  I do not think this can be a learning outcome that is measurable but is important.  It is not the hidden curriculum as sometimes discussed but making the values explicit in a unit.  I really like this idea.

Now I would usually relate this sort of post back to some unit that I teach.  This series has started considering the role of discipleship in the church and also when I look at blog posts like Steve’s and the Biblical text I am starting to think of new ways, that really are old, we need to do discipleship.

So imagine a program for Christians about subject S, what is the foundational knowledge for S?  How do they apply S?  Where does S relate to other areas of the Christian life?  What ways do other people affect S?  What ways do they describe S to others?  What ways should a Christian be interested in S? and what are good ongoing resources to learn more about S?

I am particularly impacted by the idea of “What ways do they describe S to others?”  We recently received a local paper that has a churches double page.  Reading over the page I only think 1 of the 5 or 6 churches would appeal to a non-Christian.  A service described as “soaking in God’s presence” I don’t think will cut it with most non-Christians.

Next semester I will be teaching two units and starting now I want to think of how these can be significant learning experiences.