Planning for Learning

The effectiveness of your learning plans depend on numerous factors including:

When designing an effective & congruent course or learning experience, the sequence is:

Plan for learning


  • Clearly articulating what the learners will be able to DO by the completion of the course or learning experiences
  • These should be SMART Goals:
    • SPECIFIC (see Bloom's Digitalized Taxonomy)
    • MEASURABLE (behavioral & observable)
    • ATTAINABLE & realistic for the capabilities of the learners & within the alloted time span 
    • RELEVANT to the learners, course experiences & ultimate application of the learning
    • TIME-BOUND (e.g. by the end of the course)

Creating Pertinent Goals/Objectives


  • Identifying strategies for determining to what degree the learners have attained each specific goal
  • Should have multiple formats/methods
  • Preferable if critieria for assessment is provided PRIOR to releavnt course experiences
    • Guides learner focus & efforts
  • Preferable if the assessment is integrated in/part of the learning experiences

Grading & Feedback

  • Grading & the integrity & validity of grading systems continue to be controversial (Jaschik, 2009; Rojstaczer & Healy, 2012)
    • Subsequently, it is important that instructors:
      • Consider the purpose of their grading (describe what has & has not been learned? guide learning? enhance futrure learning? etc.)
      • Commit diligence & time to ensuring the highest possible degree clarity, validity & reliability of their grading system, specifically to the course goals/threshold concepts
    • Grade status little impact on motivation to perform (Oettinger, 2002; Grant & Green, 2013)
  • Student Self Assessment (formative assessment)
    • Meaningful periodic student self-assessment experiences which specifically engage them in reflecting on their learning specific to the course goals/threshold concepts can enhance what & how they learn
  • Peer assessment & review (formative assessment)
    • Is approrpiate & productive for many learning experiences
    • Using the assignment/task rubric peers can do either a partner or blind review
      • This can reinforce the critical criteria for the assignment/task to assist the reviewer with their own assignment/task
  • Grading & Feedback - Harvard University
  • "Grading does not appear to provide effective feedback that constructively informs students' future efforts," (Schinske & Tanner, 2014, p. 161).
    • Therefore pertinent purposeful feedback is critical for enahncing learning!
  • Feedback should utilize the words & phrases, be specific to & congruent with the rubric or rating scale for the assignment/task
    • Frame your feedback as:
      • Strengths - & why they are strengths
      • Ways to Improve - proactive recommendations

Learning Experiences

  • Create experiences which will support the learners in progressing toward stated goals/objectives
  • Prioritize ACTIVE AUTHENTIC learning experiences
    • Increase meaningfulness, motivation & ultimately, appropriate application
  • Provide progressions, scaffolds, choices & multiiple learning formats to embrace a variety of learners
  • Consider including options for multiple ways to engage in & share what has been learned (Universal Design for Learning & Instruction)


Personal & Professional Reflection & Development