Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses (Josey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series) / Edition 1

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Dee Fink poses a fundamental question for all teachers: "How can I create courses that will provide significant learning experiences for my students?" In the process of addressing this question, he urges teachers to shift from a content-centered approach to a learning-centered approach that asks "What kinds of learning will be significant for students, and how can I create a course that will result in that kind of learning?"
Fink provides several conceptual and procedural tools that will be invaluable for all teachers when designing instruction. He takes important existing ideas in the literature on college teaching (active learning, educative assessment), adds some new ideas (a taxonomy of significant learning, the concept of a teaching strategy), and shows how to systematically combine these in a way that results in powerful learning experiences for students. Acquiring a deeper understanding of the design process will empower teachers to creatively design courses for significant learning in a variety of situations.
Creating Significant Learning Experiences also offers valuable recommendations on what various organizations in higher education can do to more effectively support better teaching. Based on six key needs that faculty have when changing the way they teach, Fink identifies several specific actions for decisionmakers in colleges and universities, accrediting agencies, funding agencies, journals on teaching, and disciplinary associations.
This book presents an exciting vision of what higher education might be, accompanied by practical advice on how to make that vision a reality.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book…inspires faculty members to undertake a new direction in college teaching." (Exchanges, 6/28/2004)

"Overall, this is an exciting and important book. This is a five star book." (Teachers College Record, August 6, 2003)

"Fink's book is full of excellent suggestions." (Community College Week, September 1, 2003)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787960551
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/28/2003
  • Series: Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 7.16 (w) x 9.78 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

L. Dee Fink has worked as an instructional consultant with college teachers for over twenty-five years and founded the Instructional Development Program at the University of Oklahoma in 1979. In 2002 he was elected president of the largest faculty development organization in North America, the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education.

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Table of Contents


The Author.

1. Creating Significant Learning Experiences.

2. A Taxonomy of Significant Learning.

3. Designing Significant Learning Experiences I: Getting Started.

4. Designing Significant Learning Experiences II: Shaping the Learning Experience.

5. Changing the Way We Teach.

6. Better Organizational Support for Faculty.

7. The Human Significance of Good Teaching and Learning.

Appendix A: Planning Your Course: A Decision Guide.

Appendix B: Suggested Readings.



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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2003

    It Is Worth It

    Creating Significant Learning Experiences by L. Dee Fink is essential reading for all educators who are dedicated to becoming part of an exciting frontier in education that is destined to be established as the model of educational excellence. Fink demonstrated throughout this text that he has developed expertise about higher education, from which he formulated a methodology that is presented as a road-map for others to transform their teaching into significant learning experiences. Creating change is never easy and Fink thoroughly delineated this message as he provides the step-by-step processes required by educators and institutions to create significant learning experiences. In addition to detailed, explicit explanations of how to engage in the process of creating significant learning experiences in all higher educational settings, Fink provided his supportive rationale that reveals the necessity for transforming higher education from what most of us have experienced to a dynamic, active involvement that stimulates adults to become life-long learners. This book offers detailed explanations and examples that are pertinent to the process of creating significant learning experiences. Diagrams and charts further enhance the author¿s efforts to clearly convey his ideas and strategies that he has tested and proven to be effective and necessary when creating significant learning experiences. Thus, this book is not one to be quickly read as pleasurable prose. The optimal manner in which to gain all that is presented by Fink, is to respond to his invitation to embark on his journey toward the fulfillment of his dream, to ¿see people, all people, living their lives full of learning. ...¿ (p. 254). The reader is invited and encouraged to embrace a process of change that will impact the lives of all who are willing to make the necessary effort that will produce worthwhile results in our society. Creating Significant Learning Experiences is a book that requires reading over a prolonged period of time, in order to allow for the concepts and explanations to be digested slowly and deliberately. The information presented by Fink is well-worth the time and effort required to reading this book; however, if time is at a minimum, gaining an overview of the concepts provided is better than not reading this book at all. For all educators and administrators of higher education, don¿t hesitate to add this book to the top of your reading list.

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